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Historically being prey animals, horses are excellent at hiding pain, which means they may express discomfort in other ways, such as exhibiting 'naughty' behaviour or simply hiding the pain and becoming quiet and depressed. Regular physiotherapy assessments can identify imbalances, reduced movement and muscular tension so that a treatment plan can be created, and the problem treated. Physiotherapy will also help to maintain freedom of movement, joint mobility and wellbeing in all equines, and can help those with confirmation issues stay sound and happy.


Who is equine physiotherapy for?

At Three Shires Veterinary Physiotherapy we treat all horses and ponies, no matter what breed, shape, size and age they are. Our equine patients range from competition horses to youngstock, beloved veterans and happy hackers, with our treatment programmes supporting optimum performance and successful healing from injury, as well as boosting wellbeing and comfort at all stages of life. Some of the common issues which are addressed with physiotherapy treatment include: 

  • Disruption to performance, including difficulty with schooling or jumping exercises.

  • Reduced hind limb engagement.

  • Altered behaviour such as napping, bucking or rearing.

  • Difficulty during farrier visits or uneven shoe wear.

  • Muscle imbalances and injury.

  • Joint problems such as arthritis and OCD.

  • Back pain.

  • Soft tissue injuries - including tendon and ligament injuries.

  • Wound healing and tissue repair.

  • Neurological issues such as kissing spines and shivers.

What treatments and tools are used in equine physio sessions? 


Massage and manual therapies will be used in every physiotherapy session that Olivia carries out. It is a therapeutic technique which is invaluable for relieving muscle tension, improving circulation and relaxing the animal so they can fully benefit from the session.


Targeted static and dynamic stretching are used to loosen tight muscles, helping to restore correct function to muscle groups and joints. Stretching improves flexibility, boosts circulation and can reduce the risk of future trauma or inflammation. 


Owners will normally be set a home exercise programme to carry out in between physio sessions and sometimes on an ongoing basis. The exercises will support the recovering of the horse and can help speed up the process.


Quick, painless and non-invasive, laser can achieve excellent results, particularly in pain-relief, wound healing and soft-tissue repair, both acute or chronic. Laser therapy has been extensively researched and has very few contraindications. At Three Shires Vet Physio, we use the Omega Class 3B Laser. These lasers are successfully used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions including:

  • Supporting the wound healing process.

  • Decreasing scar tissue and preventing its formation.

  • Pain relief.

  • Treating nerve damage.

  • Reducing inflammation.

  • Managing joint stiffness.

  • Treating muscle spasms.


TENS is the use of an electrical current produced by a device to stimulate the nerves for therapeutic purposes. This provides pain relief by stimulating sensory neurons and blocking the pain signals from reaching the brain. This electrotherapy is particularly useful for helping lumbar back pain in horses.



Want to know more about our services, the areas we cover or maybe you just have a question? Get in touch now on the button below.

What to expect before, during and after an equine physio session

  • The process begins with a telephone call to chat about your horse or pony and discuss the goals of the physiotherapy treatment - are they injured, recovering from surgery, stiff or in great shape and being competed or ridden!


  • Olivia will then seek a referral from your vet if it’s needed.


  • During the session itself, Olivia will begin by watching your horse move in a straight line in both walk and trot. She may also ask for them to be lunged or ridden before looking at them standing square to assess muscle symmetry and conformation. Olivia will then palpate them to determine where treatment will be targeted.


  • Olivia will then create a bespoke treatment plan consisting mainly of manual therapies and electrotherapies will be used where deemed necessary. She will also go through some exercises which will be set as homework.


  • Most horses will need at least one day off after their physio treatment.

* Please make sure your horse is clean and dry before their physiotherapy appointment *


Groundwork for horses

Physio is something you do, not something you have

Groundwork is an essential tool every horse owner should utilise. Not only does it strengthen the bond between owner and horse, but it also has many physical benefits too.
It allows an owner to assess the horse’s movement from the ground and therefore help them identify asymmetries and weaknesses which have previously gone unnoticed. Groundwork is especially useful for horses that are being rehabilitated following an injury, as it is low impact and does not involve the weight of tack and rider.

The benefits of groundwork for horses:

  • Builds muscle safely and improves muscle strength.

  • Improves flexibility.

  • Increases joint range of motion.

  • Increases stride length.

  • Improves proprioception.

  • Improves posture.

  • Gain muscle symmetry.

  • Improves ridden work.

  • Low impact so good for horses at any stage of life.

  • You can get a significant amount done in a short space of time.

  • Trains your horse’s brain.

Groundwork sessions and masterclasses are included in some Three Shires packages, just get in touch to learn more. 


Book your horse in for a physiotherapy session now

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