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The Animal Therapy Hub


Cheshire Equine Therapy is very proud to present it’s retail site, The Animal Therapy Hub Ltd.  This is somewhere you can go to get advise about numerous scientifically based therapeutic products from many brands from all over the globe such as Back on Track, Premier Equine, Zandona, Rock Tape, Hotter Dog, Equ streamz, Photizo and many more.  With more brands and products being added on a weekly basis to provide you with a one stop shop to be able to compare many different products that use different modalities such as magnetic, infrared, kinaesthetics & red light therapy.  Additionally, we want to help with anything performance and training related so you will also find products to help and guide in this respect too.  As it is always nice to be able to look at and feel the products before buying on line, if you live in Cheshire or surrounding areas we can come to see you for a no obligation demo.  We will fetch our range of demo products to you and we can measure up to ensure you are getting the correct sizing and correct products for what you are trying to achieve.  You will also be able to find our trade stand at local shows and events.  Sign up to our news letter on the website www.theanimaltherapyhub.com and you can also find us on facebook, twitter and Instagram to find out where we will be and when, latest research, newest products & special offers.  Happy shopping.


Happy Horsey New Year

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and are looking forwards to the New Year. For a lot of people 2016 has not been a good year in many respects.  A year with your horse has many ups and downs but hopefully you are all looking forward to an amazing 2017 with your horses.

On a personal front, my horse is “off” for the winter.  I say “off” in inverted commas as even though technically she is out of medium-hard work which she is normally in, I’m still doing bits with her, she isn’t completely turned away.  I’m doing ground work with her, lunging in Pilates bands, long reining, straightness training, riding bareback, lots of stretching and walks down the lane just to keep her ticking over.  As I’m not riding quite so much, except for a few clients horses, and what with the extra Christmas goodies I have noticed a few of my clothes starting to get a bit snug!  So thought I needed to do something about it and beat the new year’s resolutions, as they never work, and drag my backside from out in front of the Christmas TV to start to think about getting fit again, losing a few pounds and go for a run.  I was really not in the mood but I made my self.  I was determined, so with the dog, children and husband in tow we set off.  I really wanted to push myself I knew I could do it so even when I felt tired I kept pushing myself to carry on.  But was this the right thing to do?! No, I found, obviously!  By the time I made it back home my already bad hip was killing me, when I had started to fatigue and carried on my feet had gotten clumsy so twisted my ankle twice, I hadn’t left enough time after eating so felt sick, and the following day the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) in my legs were agony and I couldn’t move for 2 days.  Obviously, I know what I should have done, I should have said to myself, I’m just going to pace myself, walk for most of it and run a bit, then build it up day on day with lots of stretching in between, but when you get that determined feeling in your head your body just pushes through it. However, now I’m not feeling quite so head strong about it and it has put me off wanting to go again which defeats the object.

This is the exact same way with our horses. They may have had a bit of downtime over the Christmas/Winter period and you may be thinking about getting them back into work.  Please be very aware that they, like me, need to build that fitness up slowly.  Many people think, ‘My horse has only had a couple of weeks off they will be fine to get straight back in to working at the same intensity that they were before’.  But this is not the case.  Horses need to be brought back up to fitness slowly as there are so many different aspects to fitness; stamina, suppleness, strength, speed, there are so many different parts to the body that need all of these aspects of fitness to be built up slowly so they don’t break down with injury.  Injury WILL happen if you try to do too much too quick without building all aspects of fitness slowly in all aspects of the horses body, especially the tendons, ligaments, muscles as well as the cardiovascular system.

We also need to consider the psychological effect of pushing the horse too soon.  Them, again like me with my running, will not want to push themselves the next time if they think it is going to hurt, as soon as a horse starts to hurt they begin to develop compensatory mechanisms and incurring issues, pain and reduced range of movement and injuries in other areas.  This time of year is a great time for getting your horse a check-up with your physical therapist.  A check up and treatment with me will get them on the right track before the hard work begins again, to pick up and underlying issues and get a baseline of where you are starting the year from, and to be able to monitor progress and problems.

Many people like road work to slowly increase their horse fitness and workload, but as the amazing equine science consultant Dr David Marlin recently published on his facebook page there are many factors to consider with doing this. Some of the main points to consider are below.

  • Roadwork results in forces on the hoof around 20x higher than working on good grass or artificial surfaces. A great deal of this is absorbed by the hoof, fetlock and bones below the knee but may still lead to damage to joints. Firm wet sand is better than roads but still around 8x harder than good grass or good arena surface.
  • Roadwork DOES NOT “harden” or strengthen tendons
  • Roadwork DOES increase bone strength – you only need a few minutes of trot to achieve this
  • Roadwork DOES contribute to joint/cartilage deterioration
  • Roadwork – No limit to walking! Trotting should be LIMITED to no more than 5 minutes per day
  • Working on very SOFT SURFACES increases the risk of soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) injuries and working on UNEVEN surfaces carries an increased risk of injury. Both of these are another issue associated more with winter riding.
  • BAREFOOT horses are at a similar risk from roadwork as shod horse with respect to forces transmitted up the leg (the difference between shod and unshod is in how the force travels through the foot). With our current knowledge, there is no reason to conclude that barefoot horses are at a lower risk of concussive damage from roadwork.

Wishing you all every success and happiness with your horses in 2017.  Call, text, messenger or email to book your horse in for their 2017 year start check-up.

Best wishes



BHS North West Camp 2016 at Aintree Racecourse


I was asked to attend the BHS North West Camp at the fabulous Aintree Racecourse.  I think it is fair to say that a good time was had by all.  Campers had some great lessons with some brilliant instructors in amazing surroundings with beautiful weather.  I was there giving help, advice and mini consultations to those who wanted it (not treatments as there was not enough time and no veterinary referral).  Some lovely horses and riders of varying levels, everyone was really friendly I would highly recommend to anyone wanting a good all round camp to attend with lots going on.  The BHS is a great charity and it is getting better and better all the time.  As I am a BHS registered instructor if you want to join the BHS you can now do it through me. As a member the biggest benefit is the free public liability and personal accident insurance and the free legal helpline, well worth the membership fee you couldn’t buy the insurance cheaper than the membership cost and it is really comprehensive. You never know when your horse is going to cause an accident, accidentally hurt someone or yourself so at least you know you are covered. Plus all the other benefits too, free/discounted tickets to big events, regional events, access to education, BHS magazine, & more. If you want anymore information let me know next time I’m at your yard.  Keep an eye on when the next camp will be.  If you are organising a camp of any description for adults, children, various disciplines, various levels and you would like me to attend for a talk, demo, painted horse, consultations etc. let me know well in advance so can get it booked in.

Pictures below courtesy of Brian Heyes Photography


brian heyes bhs nw camp 2016 3brian heyes bhs nw camp aintree 2016 5Brian heyes bhs nwcamp aintree 2016 1brian heyes nw camp 2016 aintree 2016 4brian heys bhs nw camp 2016 2WP_20160806_10_14_45_Pro



Please, please, please be warned about thermography!!

Veterinary thermography is becoming very popular and I am a big fan of it especially for horses with non-specific difficult to diagnose lameness, multiple limb lameness, to determine if a horse is in pain, or to monitor rehabilitation and treatment.  However, there are some thermographers, physio’s, physical therapists, vets, companies etc. out there using industrial instead of medical/veterinary grade cameras, or even worse a thermal camera that attaches to a smart phone. 

Having completed some thermography training myself I understand this is simply not acceptable for many reasons.  These cameras are not specifically designed for physiological testing, they are not calibrated for measuring metabolic heat (which has a very narrow temperature range), which means they are not accurate or sensitive enough to provide useful information.  The images are not taken by someone specifically trained to get the best images to see problematic areas. The images produced need to be interpreted by a veterinarian that has been specifically trained to report on these images as a ‘hot spot’ is not necessarily related to the area they are seen on the image, due to the heat following the metabolic and neural pathways. A vet or other person not specifically trained to interpret the image may start trying to self-diagnose and treat from the image which could cause serious harm to the horse and neglect of the area with the actual real problem, which obviously poses a serious welfare issue.

For my clients I only ever recommend Syncthermology for all veterinary digital infrared thermographic imaging.  They are the only company using medical grade cameras in the UK, the only company that performs a stress test as standard, their technicians taking the images are highly skilled to get the best images, they have their own veterinary surgeons specifically trained to interpret and fully report on the images.  These results and veterinary reports will include objective opinion, recommendation and information that will assist your own vet in making a diagnosis, in selecting further diagnostic tests if required, helping them to select treatment options and monitor recovery.

sync therm

Thermography is a great tool in the right hands!!  For more information see http://www.syncequine.com/ and please do not let someone with an industrial camera or smart phone app take thermal images of your horse, it may appear to be a good low cost option but chances are they have no idea what they are doing or what they are looking at!

For anyone in the North West region that wants to know more the Sync North West Team will be attending the Joanne Shaw Equestrian working hunter Clinic on Saturday 13th February.  They will be holding demos throughout the day and the team will be happy to chat to you about the services they provide, and I will be there too.  The address is Joanne Shaw Equestrian, Red House Farm, Barkers Hollow Road, Preston-On-The-Hill, WA4 4LL.

Camps 2015

We did our first camp with Kirsty Edwards from Fit2Ride on the weekend of 14th August 2015 at her yard in Nantwich. Great fun was had by all along with lots of learning.  This camp was focussing on core work for rider and horse. Participants began with group equipilates with Kirsty, then a painted horse demo with me where we did a bit of anatomy and physiology, hopefully not too much to bore participants to death, but enough to give a basic understanding for when we moved on to the next section based in the class room where I taught some of the foundations for keeping their horses back and musculoskeletal system in good condition, & theory behind the practical in the afternoon. In the practical participants learned how to check their horses back, how to check their saddle fit and carrying out some basic massage and stretches  for their horses to help keep them in top condition, and they practised these on their own horses.  Kirsty did individual mounted pilates sessions  then she did a mobility, breath and relaxation group session for the riders.  For tea that night we all went to a gorgeous local pub the Combermere Arms for some top nosh.
In the morning Kirsty began with individual postural assessments, then I gave individual lessons on using ridden pole work to engage the horses core, then I continued this theme in the next group session of teaching the participants how to use ground work and pole work from the ground to engage the horses core.  Have a look at some of the pictures below.  The next camp is planned for 9th – 11th October 2015 then this will be the last one for the year, they will restart again in April next year when the weather should be getting better again! If you are interested in booking on this last camp for this year let me know as we only take a small number of participants so you get a more one-2-one experience, which means places fill up quickly.  Looking forwards to seeing you there :-)

camp3 camp10








painted bondo

pained demo

teaching stretches

camp lesson

**Horse & Rider Camp 14th – 16th August 2015**

Fancy an intense weekend camp workshop for horse and rider? In association with Kirsty Edwards from Fit2Ride – specialised personal training for horse riders we a re running a summer camp workshop for horse and rider.  Will include group Equipilates, painted horse demo, back/core and saddle check and learning how to do this for yourselves, individual mounted pilates sessions, learning stretches and massage techniques for your horse, mobility, breath and relaxation for the rider, individual postural assessment, private mounted pole work lessons, ground work with your horse, plus handouts to take home so you can continue the good work back at home.  14 – 16th August in Nantwich, Cheshire. £200 per person which also includes stables &/or grazing, BBQ, breakfast and lunch, accommodation is in your own lorry or you can sleep in the studio, camp in tents or accommodation in local Nantwich town is 5 mins away (not included in the price!).  Contact me or Fit2Ride for availability and booking, hope to see you there :-)

Why choose us to look after your horses’ back and musculoskeletal care?

  • CHPHighly qualified
  • Vast experience with horses of all ages, breeds, sports, injuries and problems; both physical and bahavioural
  • Multimodal whole body treatments – i.e. not just physio, not just massage, not just body work, not just McTimoney, and not just working on the spine area.  We use all of these therapies and many more integrated depending on what your individual horse needs to give a better holistic whole body treatment.  This enables us to get to the root cause of the issue rather than just treating the symptoms.  Therapies include McTimoney manipulation, equine body work, sports and remedial massage, stretching and mobilisation, myofascial release, Reiki, t-touch, kinaesthetic taping
  • Also, a qualified and experienced coach, trainer and rider gives further insight to help your overall performance
  • We get fantastic results and great customer feedback with horses feeling freer, more supple, more agile and fitter, with improved performance, fewer injuries, better recovery, and improved career longevity.
  • Reliable, knowledgable, friendly, professional service, fully insured, competitive prices, group discount available, no travel costs within 5 mile radius of Crewe/Nantwich
  • For your convenience early morning appointments, evening appointments, and weekend appointments available
  • Appointments available for overall check ups, general maintenance, as part of poor performance invesigations, or to aid specific areas of pain, strain and other issues
  • Call, text, email or pm to book or discuss your horse – Michelle Woolrich, 07515 552 694, mcheers@cheshireequinetherapy.co.uk, find us on Facebook & Twitter

Clinic’s, lecture’s, talk’s, demo’s – Spring/Summer 2015

Want to get your horses’ back & musculoskeletal system checked, but want to keep the costs as low as possible?

Want to get your horse to their peak physical health & increase their longevity,

but not sure where to start or if you are doing the right thing?

Do you want to learn:

  • How to assess your horse to pick up any areas of problems
  • How to assess your tack and saddle fit
  • What you can do to help?
  • Learn some massage, stretching, riding and training techniques
  • Learn how physical therapy can help?
  • Learn more about the do’s and don’ts from a musculoskeletal point of view

Why not organise a clinic, demo, talk or lecture at your livery yard, riding school, pony club, place of work?

For little cost, this could make a big difference to your horse.

  • As the organiser, your horse can be used as the demo horse, so gets some treatments and assessments done free on this day, but also gets their next session half price.
  • Anyone attending who makes a booking on the day will receive a 10% discount
  • We provide poster for you to advertise, and tickets if required.
  • You don’t need any special facilities (although a well lit indoor space would be useful in case of bad weather – indoor barn, school, or large stable etc.)
  • Cost: all I ask is that my travel fees are covered (this can be worked out when organising) and that everyone attending makes a minimum contribution of £2 which will be donated to an equine charity
  • Contact today to book in, first come first served, once all available dates for 2015 spring/summer are gone, bookings will be taken for 2016.

Contact Michelle for more information

Price Freeze For 2015

If you have one of our 2014 price list cards, keep hold of it as prices are being frozen for 2015. A full price list of all our services and special offers can be found on the prices page http://animaltherapyuk.com/price-list/ if there is anything not listed feel free to contact us for a quote

Painted skeleton on the lunge

Have a look at this video on my you tube channel.  This is my horse Floss I painted her up with the skeleton to get some pics of her and popped her on the lunge to take a quick vid.  The video isn’t the best quality (and neither are my artistic skills!!), but it does give you a quite a good insight into what is going on under the surface in a walk, trot and canter, and even a few bucks as she was getting very excited in the wind.