Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Alternative Therapies Evening

The 2nd of November saw us host our first Alternative Therapies Evening in association with the British Horse Society and Town and Country Vets.

I was very lucky to have my own horse used in the physiotherapy demonstration with Anne Skivington (a Veterinary Physiotherapist) and found the whole session exceptionally educational! Anne discussed the process she goes through when assessing horses as well as a demonstration of some of the equipment she uses including the H-wave machine and therapeutic ultrasound.

John Abbott and Sandy Briar of Town and Country Vets gave us a detailed insight into the horse’s anatomy through dissection of the distal limb, spine and sacroiliac joint. It was amazing to be able to get up close and get a better understanding of horses on the inside, although somewhat stomach turning! For me, being able to actually see thoracic vertebrae and their proximity to each other certainly aided my understanding of kissing spines.

Sammy Rose, also of Town and Country Vets, gave a very interesting demonstration on the use of acupuncture.  Out trusty College Horses, Portia and Scooby, certainly seemed to find the session relaxing and Sammy provided a real insight into the benefits of acupuncture for all types of horses.

The final session of the evening was a demonstration in the therapy centre by Jessica York (Hydrotherapist) and me!  Our demo horse, Bailey showed spectators what a fantastic exercise tool the aqua-treadmill is and we were so pleased with his super star coolness given the number of spectators.  Both Jessica and I fielded questions on the benefits of the treadmill and were able to show the crowd the impact that the treadmill can have on a horse’s way of going by running through the different settings while Bailey politely obliged.

Overall the evening was a great success with lots of interesting questions and discussion.  The feedback we received from everyone that attended was very positive and it turns out everybody really enjoyed themselves and learned a lot from the different sessions.

All of the funds from the ticket sales went to the British Horse Society in support of their welfare and educational work and we are very supportive of the newly resurrected Northamptonshire BHS Committee.

Thank you so much to everybody that came out on a chilly November evening and of course thank you to Town and Country Vets and Anne Skivington for their fascinating demonstrations.  We intend to host another educational evening in the Spring and being that bit warmer we hope to also be able to demonstrate some swimming sessions as well.  Watch this space!

 Written By: Molly Baxter – Moulton College Equestrian Rehabilitation Groom

Monday, 16 October 2017

Swimming at Moulton College Equine Therapy Centre

Our state of the art BHA approved swimming lane is 30 meters long, 3.5 meters wide and approximately 2.7m deep.  The pool is constantly being filtered along with regular ‘hoovering’ and balancing of chemicals to keep it clean and safe for visiting horses.

Given that the pool is straight it enables horses to work all of their muscles evenly and is an excellent way of maintaining fitness and stamina.

The buoyancy of the water, supports the horse so that the incidence of locomotor injury is reduced.  Competition horses such as eventers and race horses benefit from swimming as it puts very similar stresses on the cardio vascular system as gallop work, without putting stress on the limbs.

The pool here at Moulton also has a jet system which can intensify the work out by creating a current that the horse has to swim against.

When horses train with us, we closely monitor their recovery rate by measuring their heart rate before exercise commences and then checking it regularly throughout the session, allowing the horse to fully recover before they return home. This also helps us to observe each horse’s progression and adjust their training programmes accordingly.

Although swimming is a fantastic medium for improving cardio vascular fitness, in order to swim effectively, the majority of horses will hollow through their back to keep their head out of the water.  For this reason we do not recommend swimming as a suitable exercise for horses suffering with any back issues or as the sole method for retaining fitness.

If you have any questions as to whether swimming might be suitable for you horse, please feel free to contact us.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Cold Water Hydrotherapy Spa

A spa break sounds like a heavenly weekend to most riders but horses can benefit from similar treatment too! 

Cold Water Spa therapy is very effective in healing soft tissue damage in the lower leg, accelerating the healing process and helping to realign tissue fibres.  It is an effective and key tool in both managing and preventing injury.

Performance horses are regularly expected to manage continuous concussive forces on lower joints and soft tissues which arise through training and competing. Using spa treatment as part of a regular regime is advantageous, reducing the stresses and strains that could have the potential to develop into more serious injuries. Through using cold therapy immediately after hard exercise, many of the stressors within the tissues are removed before further inflammation can develop.

How does it work?

The water is chilled at around -4°C, meaning that by the time the water reaches the horse’s legs it is around 2-4 °C (35 °F). The cool temperature minimises heat and inflammation while also providing analgesic pain relief, as well as inhibiting enzyme degeneration of tendons post injury.
The influence of cold on vasoconstriction is well recognised and this helps with the removal of oedematous fluid as well as eliminating tissue toxins associated with injury. 

Salt Concentration
With salt being present in the water its healing power is increased. Not only does salt have a natural healing effect on wounds, the sodium chloride solution also acts as a hypertonic poultice. The high level hypertonic solution is beneficial in cleaning open wounds, reducing oedema and also influences the way in which leg tissue temperature falls during treatment. In addition, water density increases with salt concentration, which in turn increases pressure to aid fluid and waste dispersal.

The depth of the water is proportional to the physical pressure exerted onto the leg which aids fluid and waste dispersal. It can be varied according to position and severity of the injury. The deeper the immersion, the greater the pressure, especially at colder temperatures as water density increases. Furthermore with greater depth, comes a greater volume of water to surround the leg causing cooling to commence earlier during the downward passage of blood flow.

Water aeration creates turbulence which can work in two ways. The first is providing a massage effect on the limbs, helping with the removal of fluids. The second is by increasing the dissolved oxygen content off the spa solution. The improved oxygen level is believed to improve wound healing and aerated cold water causes a significant decrease in heart rate during spa treatment.

Biological Control
With water hygiene levels continually being maintained through a combination of fine filtration, chlorination, cold water and salt; the Spa allows thousands of successive treatments. These same factors not only prevent further micro-biological infections but actually help treat any pre-existing conditions.

The Benefits
·         Reduces swelling/ inflammation
·         Analgesic effect
·         Encourages better granulation
·         Improves circulation
·         Improves horn growth
·         Injury Prevention
Prevention is always better than cure and here cold salt water hydrotherapy comes into its own.

Our team regularly treat many horses and ponies - including a number of top international horses as part of their management routine.  If you have any further questions or would like your horse to visit the therapy centre please contact us!

Related Scientific Literature

Hunt, E. R. (2001) Response of twenty-seven horses with lower leg injuries to cold spa bath hydrotherapy. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 21(4), pp.188-193.

King, M. R. (2016) Principles and Application of Hydrotherapy for Equine Athletes. Veterinary Clinics: Equine Practice, 32(1), pp. 115-126.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Starting at Moulton Equestrian Centre - Molly Baxter

I started working at Moulton Equestrian Centre in May this year as a rehabilitation groom and so far I have already learnt so much!

I came to Moulton straight from university where I achieved a BSc Hons degree in Equine Performance Science. Whilst studying, I worked at a rehabilitation centre, with use of an aqua treadmill and solarium; it was here that my interest for therapy started to grow. My most memorable moment was having an event horse come in for fitness after an injury. The horse was told by vets that it would never be able to compete again however, after coming to us he was back out competing and fighting fit within 6 months! This was when I decided that therapy and rehabilitation was the area I felt most passionate about!

Once I got the job here at Moulton Equestrian Centre, I was eager to start and therefore finished off my degree whilst working! It was nerve racking to start with, getting into an already established routine and way of doing things but I soon settled in and started meeting regular clients as well as introducing new ones to the centre! The bit I found most tricky was learning about all of the maintenance which is required to keep the therapy centre in working order. Things such as water testing and chemically balancing the water, hoovering the pool and back washing filter tanks took a little longer to get to grips with!

I am looking forward to my time here at Moulton and hope to welcome more inpatients and new clients.  Caring for inpatients is something I really enjoy as I get to see them progress, whether their stay is long or short term. I also tend to build quite a bond with the horses due to being their very own personal groom!