I am always being asked are you able to do this, and can you do that ? So just to clear up any misconceptions a few of the more common “can you . . .” questions
Can you tell me what is wrong with my horse?
I can tell you that your horse has issues/pain in certain places, I can show you that they are not moving correctly, and I can treat them using the techniques I am qualified to use, I can give you useful exercises to relieve their discomfort and aid their recovery, but I can not give you a diagnosis, this is something that ONLY a veterinarian can do. If you are seeing another therapist and they are diagnosing problems with your horse they are doing this against the law. I may make suggestions of z, y and z things that I think the problem could possibly be based on the symptoms I am seeing/palpating but can never diagnose, as I do not have x-ray eyes or magical blood tests! Sometimes I may give you a few hints such as, “He is carrying a little extra weight, has he ever had laminitis before?”, or “next time your vet comes you may just want to ask them about . . . or to have a look at . . .”, but I am not allowed to say your horse definitely has laminitis/ kissing spines etc., just recommend that you ask your vet, and I will do my best to ease their pain in the mean time.
I have completed some cpd courses and additional learning in saddle fitting so I know my way around a saddle and can normally spot areas where there are tack fitting problems. If required, I will recommend getting a fully qualified master saddler in to correct any problems, as they know a lot more than me. I work very closely with an excellent saddler so if you think your tack maybe an issue mention it to me at my next visit, I can have an initial check and refer you over to my saddler if required.
Can you recommend a feeding regime for my horse?
NO. Even though I do have a good rounded knowledge of nutrition it is not my area of expertise so I would always recommend contacting a equine nutrition specialist, which is what I do for my own horse! Most of the leading feed manufacturers have help lines for that purpose or you can email them. Sometimes I will recommend particular joint or mobility supplement or electrolytes but that is about as far as it goes.
Can you give me riding lessons?
Yes. As a freelance fully qualified and highly experienced coach I am able to give you riding lessons on your horse at your location. My particular areas of interest are show jumping, confidence issues (horse & rider), behavioural problems and being able to still improve horse and rider while rehabilitating injury. I am up to date with equine specific first aid and child protection. People seem to find my lessons fun, educational, useful, and relevant for them and their horses’ individual needs. They often say about how good it is that I am a physical therapist and an instructor as I can be helping them and their horse to improve on so many different levels – from a physiological point of view, behavioural, fitness, suppleness stamina, skills, relaxation, equitation, and as I have competed on some level in most disciplines I can use this experience to help my clients achieve their goals.
Can you help me find a horse to buy?
Yes. I know the pain for trawling through the classifieds, going and trying out horse after horse and it just not being right, then you think you have found “the one” and it fails the vetting! I can help by taking some of the task over for you. I like to see you ride so I know what sort of level horse you require and have an in depth discussion about your aspirations and goals for the horse you are wanting and within budget. I will then find appropriate horses and even go ride it first and if not suitable you don’t even have to leave your house. When you do go to try a horse I can be there to ensure you purchase with your head not your heart. I can do some initial basic checks and assessments so that when it comes to vetting time there hopefully shouldn’t be too many nasty surprises.
Can you help me to sell my horse?
Yes. I can help through the entire process. I can give your horse a thorough assessment and if tweaks need to be made before sale such as some schooling, physical therapy, behavioural work, or even just a tidy up (mane pulling, bathing etc.) I can do all that, take the pics arrange adverts etc. and can even carry out the viewings for you. For a set fee or % of sale price.
I don’t know how to lunge/long rein/do ground work, and my horse has never been lunged before, can you teach me how to do it?
Yes. Being able to work your horse effectively from the ground is highly beneficial and provides some much needed variety to your work, but you must do it correctly in order to gain any benefit from it, and I can teach you how to do this.
Do you do any lectures, clinics or demo’s?
Yes, keep an eye on facebook, twitter, and the website for dates and venues, or alternatively if you would like to organise one for your yard, work place, riding club, college etc. please contact me to arrange.
(Pic is a painted horse I did showing the deep muscles of the horses body in preparation for a lecture series)
Can you school/compete my horse for me?
Yes. I can, I may not be the most aesthetically pleasing rider but I get the job done! I love schooling and my own horse hates it she just wants to jump. I am quiet but confident when I ride. I enjoy schooling youngsters most, doing their basic training and show jumping, improving their skill level, confidence and fitness, at the same time ensuring their musculoskeletal system is developing correctly. If you need someone to complete your horse for you weather as a one off or on a regular basis I can do this, dressage up to medium level, BSJA up to Foxhunter level, BE up to Intermediate, local and county showing in hand and ridden classes. I can also help you prepare for competitions, planning your competition season, training, transport, grooms, entries, etc.
(Pic is me and my mare chilling between classes at riding club show)
If you have any more question not covered here or in the frequently asked questions section please fell free to call, email, facebook me.
I have been writing some useful articles for a very popular equestrian magazine that you might be interested in, Everything Horse UK. Every month there is a wide range of great articles, such a good read. I had a few published in the July, August and September 2014 issues on my top 10 tips for keeping your horse in tip top condition, stress and the competition horse, and recognising signs that your horse has a musculoskeletal problem. I have just started writing a series of articles for them the first of which has just been published in the November issue on musculoskeletal injuries, looking into the main types of musculoskeletal injuries that can occur in our horses; tendon injuries (November issue), muscle injuries (December issue), bone injuries (January issue), and ligament injuries (February issue). This will hopefully help owners understand how these types of injury occurs, how they heal, how they are treated and rehabilitated, and how they can be avoided. I think this is really important as pain due to musculoskeletal injury is the most common cause of performance loss in horses. Most cases will initially present as a behavioural problem or a performance/training issue, and early diagnosis and treatment will improve the long term outcome. This is a printed magazine and an online magazine, so if you have missed any of my previous articles and would like to catch up you can do on line at www.everythinghorseuk.co.uk. You can also sign up to subscribe to receive future issues of Everything Horse UK magazine in your inbox, so you never miss an issue, and even better is that it is all free, both the printed version and the online version. Happy reading!!