Types of Therapy

Details about types of therapy

Read more about types of manual and behavioural therapists… (listed alphabetically)

Equine BehaviouristBehaviourist

Equines express when they are in pain or feel distressed by their characteristics and behaviour. An equine behavioural consultant will work with you and your horse to interpret and understand these symptoms so that the situation can be improved and your relationship with your horse brought back into balance.

The Society of Equine Behaviour Consultants (SEBC) is the professional body regulating the practice of registered Equine Behaviour Consultants in the UK.  The Society maintains a register of qualified and insured equine behaviour consultants. The Society also provides education, examination and CPD for Equine Behaviour Consultants. All of this information and more is available on their website www.societyofequinebehaviourconsultants.org.uk

Equine Behaviour Consultants work to a strict code of professional practice, prioritising safety and welfare and offering the highest standards of customer service.

When you are concerned about your horse’s behaviour, perhaps not sure if any ‘challenging’ behaviour, misbehaviour or behaviour problems are due to pain, fear, discomfort e.g. from saddle or bit and bridle or just plain ‘naughtiness’, it can be hard to know where to turn for help.

Benefits of Using a Registered Equine Behaviour Consultant

  • Qualified by Professional Examination
  • Insured including Professional Indemnity
  • Prioritise Safety and Welfare
  • Holistic sympathetic approach
  • Bespoke advice to meet the needs of individual clients and horses
  • Highest levels of Customer Service
  • Liaise with other qualified and insured professionals as a multidisciplinary team for the maximum benefit of client and horse(e.g. Veterinary Surgeons, Veterinary Physiotherapists, Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Saddle Fitters, Registered Farriers and BHS Registered Instructors).
  • Accountable to the society’s disciplinary board

Equine Bowen TherapyBowen Therapist

The Bowen Technique is a gentle, non-intrusive hands on therapy which stimulates the body’s inner ability to heal itself to be activated. This reorganisation of the musculature of the body can bring increased energy levels and pain relief.

As a soft tissue therapy, it ‘disturbs’ the fascia or connective tissue, there is no pulling or cracking of joints and no insertion of needles. The therapist uses fingers or thumbs in a rolling action over specific muscles, tendons and ligaments, incorporating resting periods to allow the body to absorb the information and respond accordingly.

The treatment is essentially holistic, treating the whole body and is generally a pleasant and relaxing experience. A treatment will take approximately 45 minutes. Practitioners are required to attend Continuous Professional Development  study days and workshops, in order to remain on the Equine Bowen Therapy professional referral list. For more information about Equine Bowen Therapy please visit the The European School of Equine Bowen Therapy website.

Horse Chiropractic TreatmentChiropractor  

Membership to the British Veterinary Chiropractic Association (BVCA) is only granted to qualified veterinarians (registered with Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) or chiropractors (registered with General Chiropractic Council) upon successful completion of approved veterinary chiropractic postgraduate training (schools can be found here) followed by successful completion of an independent certification examination by International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA). All our members are required to adhere to membership rules and regulations of the IVCA and complete a minimum 30 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every 3 years in order to keep up to-date with developments in Veterinary Chiropractic and consequently offer the best possible treatment to their patients. All members of the BVCA are expected to adhere to the Code of practise and Standard of Proficiency (found here) and to maintain appropriate insurance for the treatment of animals.  However, only those members registered with the General Chiropractic Council can refer to themselves as Chiropractors.

Veterinary Chiropractic care is a manual therapy, which can be used for many health and performance problems. It focuses on the biomechanical dysfunction of the spine and its effect on the entire nervous system throughout the body.

Veterinary Chiropractic treatment does not replace traditional veterinary medicine; however, it can provide additional means of diagnosis and treatment options for spinal problems as well as biomechanical related musculoskeletal disorders. Veterinary Chiropractic can often eliminate the source of acute or chronic pain syndromes.  All BVCA members adhere to the UK Veterinary Act 1966 and will only work on your horse with consent from your vet, to ensure your equine receives the best care possible.

Veterinary Chiropractic Treatment Can Be Used For:

  •  Chronic musculoskeletal problems
  • Acute problems such as tension or stiffness
  • Prophylactic treatment to maintain fitness
  • Maintain soundness in older animals
  • Enhance performance ability of sport animals
  • As a complementary treatment for chronic lameness such as bone spavin, navicular syndrome or tendon problems

Equine TouchEquine Touch

Equine Touch has been in the UK since 1997.  The first Clinic was hosted in 2000. The ethos at the heart of this modality has always been to encourage horse owners to learn Equine Touch in order to help and support their own horses. Over the years the modality has also developed a robust self regulating practitioner route course culminating in an Equine Touch Foundation (ETF) Diploma and licence to practice.

A qualified Practitioner is a graduate who has completed the Practitioners’ education track with a certified Diploma, has passed all written examinations and practical assessments, has completed the number of hours required to assure the continued quality of Equine Touch delivered, is a member of the International Equine Touch Association (IETA) and must carry insurance to work and charge for such work.

McTimoney Practitioner  Mctim

It takes 3 years to complete a Masters Degree as an Animal Manipulation Therapist.The McTimoney Chiropractic College, based in Oxfordshire, is unique in the world, in that it is the ONLY externally validated post graduate level programme that trains students in Animal Manipulation.

McTimoney chiropractic will align and balance the animal’s musculoskeletal system, by adjusting those misaligned joints throughout the whole body whilst paying special attention to the spine and pelvis, health, soundness and performance may be restored and maintained.Many practitioners also act as saddle fitters as having a correctly fitted saddle is crucial to the well being of your horse.

Legally Mc Timoney Practioners may only work with the permission of the individual’s veterinary surgeon; the reality is that often the veterinary surgeon may suggest chiropractic as part of the remedy and in practical terms this may mean working in collaboration with the veterinary team. If this is the case, the cost of treatment may well be covered by your horse insurance policy. It is advisable to contact your insurance provider for clarification.

OsteopathEquine Osteopath

Osteopathy involves a series of movements designed to correct disturbances in muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. Osteopathy recognises the importance of the link between the structure of the body and the way it functions. Osteopaths focus on the body’s skeleton and joint function along with the underlying muscles, soft tissue and internal organs.

It takes 4 years to train as an Osteopath and if individuals then want to specialise in animal osteopathy a post graduate qualification is required.

An alternative to qualifying as a Human Osteopath and then specialising in Animal Osteopathy is to train with the European School of Animal Osteopathy. The course offers comprehensive training over five years including structural techniques, tissue, visceral, cranial and fluid. Students upon completion can then practice as “Manual Animal Therapists using Osteopathic techniques”.  As these therapists have not initially qualified as human Osteopaths they are not permitted by law to call themselves “Osteopaths”.   Those therapists who have trained in this way are categorised with Local Horse Help as Manual Therapists.

Horse PhysiotherapistPhysiotherapist

Animals, like people, respond well to physiotherapy. To qualify as an animal physiotherapist people can either train to become a human physiotherapist (a Chartered Physiotherapist) and then further their clinical training to become an animal/veterinary physiotherapist.  Individuals who are Chartered Physiotherapists who have trained to become Animal/Veterinary Physiotherapists should be a member of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy. Category A members are Chartered Physiotherapists who have, through supervised clinical training and/or postgraduate qualification, demonstrated competence in the administration of physiotherapy to animals via a recognised ACPAT upgrading route.They must complete at least 25 hours Continued Professional Development annually and have professional and public liability insurance.

Another route to train as an Animal/Veterinary Physiotherapist is to gain an appropriate degree in Equine Science for example and then complete a Masters or Post Graduate Diploma in Animal Physiotherapy. These individuals must too be registered with a governing body (NAVPIAAT or IRVAP), hold appropriate public liability and professional indemnity insurance and undertake the required continued professional development requirements of that governing body in order to remain registered.

Legally physiotherapists may only work with the permission of the individual’s veterinary surgeon; the reality is that often the veterinary surgeon may suggest physiotherapy as part of the remedy and in practical terms this may mean working in collaboration with the veterinary team. If this is the case, the cost of treatment may well be covered by your horse insurance policy. It is advisable to contact your insurance provider for clarification.

Equine MassageSports Massage

Equine sports massage is the application of  massage techniques applied to the horse for the purpose of increasing circulation, range of motion as well as improving stamina and overall performance. To qualify as an Equine Sports Massage Therapist (ESMT) individuals should have gained the Sports Massage Diploma.  Equi-Therapy, The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, ICAT (the International Centre for Animal Therapy) and ITEC (International Therapy Examination Council) are the professional, accredited bodies that facilitate this Diploma course.    You can find out more about what the Diploma entails, the entry requirements, course length (usually in the region of 5 days + home study) and cost by visiting the websites directly.

The Equine Sports Massage Association (www.equinemassageassociation.co.uk) is the leading national organisation for Equine Sports Massage therapists. Membership of ESMA requires the therapist to have completed a rigorous training and examination process and hold either an I.T.E.C diploma or Lantra accredited certificate in Equine Sports Massage. All ESMA therapists are also fully trained in human anatomy and massage. ESMA demands a professional code of conduct and continuous training from its members through 20 hours of CPD per year.

It is also possible to obtain a certificate in Equine Sports Massage and Rehabilitation with Equissage Europe.  The 5 day intensive course is open to students who do not need to have a previous equine, physiotherapy or health qualification although horse experience is desirable.  The course is not independently accredited although it is run by Helen Woolley who is a fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist.

An Equine Bodyworker is a practitioner that has studied The Equinology® Approach as developed by Debranne Pattillo, MEEBW, founder of Equinology Inc. and co-founder of the International Equine Body Worker Association. This unique hands-on system addresses the whole body, using specific manual palpation methods to assess soft tissue and symmetry of muscle and structure. Different bodywork techniques including sports massage, soft tissue mobilisation, stretching, range of motion and positioning exercises, as well as “focal” point work (stress and trigger points) —these are combined to provide optimal support for horses working in every discipline. Reflecting Debranne’s passion for academic precision with regard to equine musculoskeletal anatomy, the Equinology® Approach stands out because it is comprehensively anatomically referenced. For more in-depth information please click here.

In addition to qualified bodyworkers and massage therapists there are Masterton Method Certified Practioners (MMCP).  This is an integrated, multi-modality method of equine massage and bodywork in which individuals learn to recognize and use the responses of the horse to their touch to find and release accumulated tension in key junctions of the body that most affect performance.  The course is accredited National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Organization (NCBTMB), the International Institute for Complementary Therapists and the Equine Therapies Association of Australia.  There are approximately 30 certified practitoners in the UK.

Equine ThermographyThermography

Equine Infrared Thermal Imaging or Thermography is a non-invasive, non-contact, tool that uses the very latest infrared imaging equipment and computer software to detect minute differences in the horse’s thermal and neural condition. Thermography is a qualitative assessment of temperatures. The infrared camera measures heat emissions from the body, visible as a thermal image. It can quickly and efficiently identify areas that may require further investigation. Your vet can then make a decision on any treatment needed and thermography can then be used to monitor the recovery.

Equine Thermography can highlight the following areas:

• sore or painful back
• check for a poor or well fitting saddle
• facial pain related to tooth or jaw problems
• joint and musculo-skeletal problems
• soft tissue problems
• asymmetrical use of the body
• muscle tears, bruises and strains
• underlying, hidden issues.

Lower Legs
• formation of splints
• sore shins and knees
• suspensory ligament active stress or active damage
• tendon stress – deep digital flexor tendon and superficial flexor tendon
• joint stress
• arthritic joints
• inflammation and heat
• cold areas with lack of blood or nerve supply

The Horse’s Hooves
• poor circulation in the foot
• balance of the foot and the effects of in-balance on the rest of the limb
• hot foot due to infection or bruising
• locating the area of an abscess or bruise

Recovery from Injury
• observing how injury is responding to treatment
• observing how an injury is responding to being brought back to full work
Prevention and Underlying Issues
• optimise soundness monitoring
• earliest detection of negative changes
• locating the whereabouts of underlying issues
• reviewing responses to work and training
• noticing one-sidedness and favouring sides
• address issues which may lead to otherwise chronic long term, unseen damage.

Other Areas of Interest
• de-nerved limbs
• areas of current inflammation which may not yet show external signs of breakdown
• foot discrepancies
• muscle lesions
• old injuries
• back issues
• assessment of lower limb activity
• circulation issues
• asymmetrical and posture related muscle use
• imbalances in the foot and limbs of young horses
• ideal for assessing youngsters; reveals activity in young limbs; bony changes, sore shins, painful knees, etc
• tooth problems
• finding causes for unusual behaviours
• stallion fertility