Welcome to my first blog post about ex-racehorse rehabilitation! I hope you find it informative and helpful.

As a animal physiotherapist working predominantly with ex-racehorses in a rehabilitation programme.  I see all of the types of injuries and niggles that these horses leave racing with.

Leaving the serious injuries that require intensive veterinary care and physiotherapy aside.  The “retired sound” racehorse can greatly benefit from some physiotherapy.

Training a racehorse for fast explosive work allows the muscles to become incredibly strong.  Yet sometimes they lack the flexibility to protect the muscle from becoming injured.  When we look to retrain a racehorse for an equestrian discipline, at some stage schooling is introduced.  This incorporates different movements and smaller circles than they have previously had to do.  The horse can find this difficult and it can put a lot of strain on the muscles that may not have the flexibility to achieve these movements.

Racehorses also use their muscles differently to achieve high straight-line speeds.  A racehorse doesn’t want to be sitting on its hocks and working uphill like a dressage horse, they need to be more aerodynamic with the front limbs stretching and pulling with a streamline neck and straight back to achieve this.

Treating Ex-racehorses

So in the first few weeks out of training, there are a lot of muscular changes that the racehorse needs to undergo.  He will need to learn to use muscles that he hasn’t used before.  They can have some very strong muscles that need to become more flexible for them to be effective in his new career.

Physiotherapy will help the horse transition into this new role.  By using techniques such as massage and stretching to improve muscle quality, helping to align the muscle fibres to maintain strength and increase suppleness. In turn this helps to prevent further injuries.

All the following therapies can be utilised depending on your horses exact needs:

  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • Pulsed electro-magnetic field therapy
  • Muscle stimulation
  • Acupressure
  • Kinesiology taping  

Daily carrot stretches and advice on exercise will be advised to the owner for them to implement between sessions as this combined effort of working as a team reaps the best results.

How we can help

We offer an intensive package of 6 treatments for horses out of training.  This  is ideal for the transition period from racing to equestrianism or to help with a period of increased workload for just £275.  There are also plenty of other packages and offers that can all be found on the website www.thecrescentvetphysio.co.uk/prices/

Feel free to contact me at info@thecrescentvetphysio.co.uk or 07813 704879 to discuss your horses individual needs.


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