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Equine Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Services


How can Horse ‘n Hound PT (HnHPT) help my horse heal better and faster?

HnHPT is dedicated to providing you and your horse the most up to date treatment, based on your horse's needs. Below is a list of services HnHPT can provide for you and your horse to enhance healing and promote a faster recovery from illness and injury.

It is skill and knowledge base, combined with experience, complimented by the use of modalities,that make physical therapy a profession of excellence when caring for your horse’s rehabilitation. The combined use of a variety of manual techniques, modalities and prescribed exercises, along with owner education, enhances the healing process to return the horse to functional work, faster than “stall rest” alone. Knowledge of equine physiology and anatomy, along with skilled manual techniques of treatment are the most valuable resources physical therapy (PT) can offer. Modalities are often adjunct to compliment the treatment, such as the use of ultrasound to heat deeper tissues prior to stretching. PT treatments seldom focus on the use of just one modality with out the skill of manual therapy and specific exercises to follow.


Evaluation of the horse: The first visit of HnHPT to your barn will always start with an evaluation
of your horse. This starts with Jennifer listening to you provide details of the horse’s past history of any injuries or mishaps, along with a current history of the most recent injury, veterinarian interactions, medications and progress. Then Jennifer will start with an overall inspection of how the horse is put together, looking at conformation, area of injury, scraps, bruising or swelling, along with palpating the horse for sensitive areas of warmth, tension or pain responses. Then the examination will progress on to inspection of the musculoskeletal system the head, neck, spine, pelvis and each leg, determining range of motion, flexibility, strength, and function. The last part of the assessment process involves watching the horse move through the gaits in straight lines, in circles and often under saddle if needed. This thorough method of evaluation provides useful information to determine what areas are involved and provides a baseline from which to judge progress. A treatment protocol is then developed from the deficits determined by the evaluation findings.

Treatment Protocol Development: After the evaluation is completed Jennifer will provide a treatment protocol specific to your horses problem. This may include a variety of modalities ( listed below) manual treatments, and specific exercises. As much as possible Jennifer will instruct the owner with as many as possible things the owner can do themselves to assist in healing of the problem, such as use of cold or heat, and stretching exercises.

Rider Evaluation and Treatment: Often the rider can impose their musculoskeletal dysfunctions on their horse. To totally treat the horse, ERS evaluates the owner/rider for any asymmetries that may contribute to the horse’s problems of locomotion and mobility and then prescribe/provide treatment as necessary.

Specific Exercise Protocols: Exercise increases joint range of motion (ROM), strengthens muscle and tendons, stretches tight structures, develops top line musculature. Proprioceptive neuro-muscular exercises provide increase in coordination, joint response, speed and agility.

Wound Debridement: cleans out wound bed of dead tissue, foreign particles and bacteria, promotes new tissue growth.

Bandaging and Compression: the proper bandage keeps a wound void of dirt and disruption from healing and allows topical medications to stay in place. Compression prevents and or minimizes swelling in distal limb, can be used in conjunction with compressive cold applications to further minimize swelling of acute injuries, and prevent the “Proud Flesh” development common in the lower leg.

Massage: increases blood flow to surrounding muscles, decreases muscle spasm, promotes relaxation, and reduces soft tissue constrictions.

Soft tissue Mobilization: Similar to massage in that techniques utilize manual pressure to tissues, but more specific to structures other than muscle, such as fascial coverings, tendons, ligaments, joint capsules; used to bring increased blood flow to these healing structures, facilitate proper laying down of collagen (scar tissue) into an organized fashion increasing tissue strength and breaking up of adhesions.

Joint Mobilization: this is the practice of skilled manual (hands-on) passive mobilization of the joint surface articulations with in their physiological limits. This helps to regain movement between joint surfaces that may have been lost due to injury or immobilization and adhesion development during the recovery phase of healing. Passive imposed movement promotes the movement
of synovial fluid lubrication through out the joint surfaces enhancing nutrition of articular cartilage surfaces. Joint mobilization also stimulates nerve fibers within the joint capsule to lower pain thresholds.

The following You-Tube video on Nature’s Giants is very helpful in learning about the anatomy, physiology and functional movement of the horse. It scientifically researches equine development over time as humans have used horses to provide entertainment, transportation and improve our lives. WARNING: This movie includes medical dissection and might not be suitable for younger viewers.

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