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Physiotherapy for Horses in the North West by GGVetPhysio

horse physiotherapy
Gill Griffiths B.Sc.(Hons) MRAC NAVP


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Call: 07949 838152

Email: gill@ggvetphysio.co.uk


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About Equine Physiotherapy

Animal physiotherapy involves the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal conditions.

GGVetPhysio use various treatments and rehabilitation techniques with the aim to restore an injured tissue back to full function and strength.

The initial history taken from the owner is vital to gain knowledge of where the problem may be, what structure may be at fault and whether the problem is worsening or improving.

If the horse has a known veterinary diagnosis the assessment is more tailored towards assessing the horse’s stage in recovery for that known problem and GGvetPhysio will liaise with the vet in order to provide the most suitable treatment plan.


Common conditions the equine physiotherapist treats include:

  • Neck pain e.g. associated with either an acute injury or fall, secondary to a known pathology i.e. degenerative facet joints or secondary to a forelimb lameness.
  • Back pain e.g. associated with an ill-fitting saddle, secondary to known pathology i.e kissing spines or secondary to a fore or hindlimb lameness.
  • Pelvic pain e.g associated with an injury or secondary to know pathology i.e. sacro-iliac disease.
  • Specific muscle, tendon or ligament injuries.
  • Regular therapy to maintain fitness.


Physiotherapy in horses can also be indicated for other common presenting complaints such as:

  • Bucking, rearing, napping behaviour.
  • Stiffness on one rein.
  • Head tilting.
  • ‘cold backed’ tendencies.
  • Disuniting in canter.
  • Working hollow.
  • Saddle fit problems.
  • Uneven shoe wear.
  • Back pain secondary to a lameness issue.
  • Muscle asymmetry or imbalance.

Horse Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy involves the use of treatments aimed at either:

  1. Reducing pain either caused by swelling or muscle spasm.
  2. Facilitating tissue healing and recovery.
  3. Restoring normal tissue length and joint range of motion.
  4. Promoting muscle strength and function.
  5. Improving fitness and stamina in working horses.


The physiotherapy assessment determines whether some or all of the above need addressing in a treatment.

The Assessment

History – This may involve discussion with the owner, trainer and/or vet.

Observation – In standing assessing conformation/posture/muscle development and symmetry.

Gait – Observing your horse move in a straight line, lunging, possibly ridden, circling and reversing and performing other sensitising tests if indicated.

Palpation – Feeling for muscle pain, spasm, tenderness and assessing joint ranges of motion.

The Treatment

Following the assessment your equine physio will devise a treatment plan specially tailored to your horse’s problems. Treatments include some or all of the following:

  • Manual therapy techniques i.e. joint manipulation, joint mobilisation, soft tissue stretching/massage.
  • Electrotherapy treatment i.e. H-wave, ultrasound, laser, muscle stimulation.
  • Muscle strengthening exercises i.e. hydrotherapy treadmill, kinesio taping, abdominal strengthening exercise techniques.


Veterinary permission must be given before an animal can be treated with physiotherapy. Gill will do this for you but Data Protection requires your consent for this.

Download a consent form             HERE