May 18, 2022

Oxfordshire Horse Physiotherapy

Injury Rehab and sports maintenance

Horses are athletes no matter what kind of or level of work they do. They benefit from regular Physiotherapy to reduce risk of injury and help comfort and work. Physiotherapy is also paramount for rehabilitation after an injury, particularly limb or back injury or operation.

Chartered physiotherapists specialise in injury rehabilitation.

So if your horse has had an operation to limb or spine OR had a damaged tendon, ligament or muscle then have specialist physiotherapy from IMGP5756the outset to aid healing and to help your horse return to sport. All athletes need detailed return to sport programs that looks at them as an individual. It is no longer good enough to have generalised return to work instructions such as 4 weeks of walking in hand, a couple of weeks walking under saddle, etc. This is not good enough for athletes, having a Physiotherapist provide treatment and guidance throughout return to work reduces stress and strain on all parts of  the horses body, keeps them supple and prepares them for work to come.

Day to day indicators your horse will benefit from a Physiotherapy assessment and treatment

  • buckingEquine physio back
  • throwing head up
  • not going forward
  • going disunited at canter
  • sore back
  • always landing on same leg after a jump
  • difficulty getting one canter lead
  • grumpy about having saddle or bridle put on

OR does your horse deserve a body MOT so he/she can continue to do the work you ask easily?
And if your horse is on box rest then physiotherapy will help recovery.

Call now for an appointment and or read more detail below and on other pages.

Equine Physio neck bendAssessing the neck

All ridden and driven horses are athletes to some degree. Demands are made on their musculoskeletal system when they work for us. So like all athletes they deserve care and attention for their muscles and joints – a physio MOT.

As an ACPAT Veterinary Physiotherapist, we will assess your horse and provide relevant physiotherapy treatment and exercises to optimise your horse’s ability to do the work you want. This will make your horse more comfortable, improve performance and reduce risk of injury.

After an injury rehabilitation by an ACPAT Vet Physio is important to help return them to athletic function without further stress and strain. A rehabilitation plan from physio provides the best possible care from early box rest days right through to being ridden and competed. 

What does Physiotherapy treat?

Physiotherapy treats muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and fascia and since these all interlink, they need to be in good order in a working horse.

If the work demand is too high then obvious damage occurs and your horse may become lame. But even the daily demands can cause micro-damage that repetitively over time cause pain and increases the risk of injury. Tendon and ligament injuries are more often an accumulation of micro-damage over time with perhaps a ‘final straw’ component to strain them to a point of lameness and swelling. Physio rehab starts from very early on after an injury. Call me to find out more about this.

Often the horse’s back is identified by owners as being sore, and although this is a main part of the horse’s body to IMGP7170require physiotherapy treatment, it may be compensating for other muscles and joints that need treatment. It may also be an early warning sign that joints, tendons or ligaments are taking strain. Regular Physio keeps your horse able to do the work you want from him/her and helps prevent injury. Equine Pilates is a perfect way to help this too.

Horses instinctively try to hide pain so as not to be an obvious target to a lion!! Some horses however may communicate their pain through a change in behaviour or performance. Listen to your horse, he is trying to tell you something through this behaviour.

A full assessment and initial treatment usually takes 1 to1.5 hours. A detailed assessment is paramount to selecting the right treatment techniques that are most effective for each problem.


The assessment of your horse may include:

  • detailed history from the owner, rider and vet,
  • observing your horse moving in straight lines and circles,
  • possibly being lunged or ridden,
  • observation of muscle symmetry and core stability,
  • palpation for muscle tension and tenderness,
  • range of movement of joints in spine and limbs,
Equine Physio front leg stretchstretching for the scapula muscles mobilising a stiff neck Oxford Equine Physio - Equine PilatesEquine Pilates – the hog back circle

We can also assess your musculoskeletal system as a rider to identify areas to be treated to optimise your performance which translates through to your horse’s performance.


Clinical knowledge and judgement of any identified issues allows the Physio to select suitable treatments from the physio tool box of

  • soft tissue mobilisation,IMGP7171
  • massage and myofacial work,
  • acupressure,
  • laser & magnetic therapy,
  • stretches and stabilising work,
  • exercises,

A rehabilitation and performance maintenance plan is devised uniquely for your horse that may include exercises for you to do with your horse in the stable, in-hand, on the lunge and ridden.

We work closely with your vet, saddler, farrier and instructor if required to ensure your horse is treated holistically. Apart from my hands on treatment, it may be appropriate for your horse to have a home exercise program with you to improve core stability, proprioception and strength.

Next steps

Phone   0776745518 to discuss your horses needs.

If your horse requires a sports performance maintenance physiotherapy session then we do not need vet consent – If however your horse is being treated by a vet for any lameness, performance or movement issue then we do need vet consent – it is a legal requirement.  Please ask your vet to fill in the the online vet referral via the ‘Info for Vets’ tab or download the following form and email it to us

Classic Physiotherapy Vet Referral Form OR
vet referral form PDF format for printing