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Information for Vets

“Any significant deviation from the norm that has influenced, is influencing or may influence the athletes health or capacity to perform at the level of ability demanded”.

Gabriel AJ 1992, The problem orientated approach to sports injury evaluations. Journal of Athletic Training 27: 40-42.

Step-by-Step Veterinary Physiotherapy practice has developed a problem orientated approach.

The initial stages of an examination, both subjective and objective results in a problem list. From this we offer individuals practical and focused solutions. See also a description of a first visit under Integrated Assessment (IA) and Our Approach to Exercise.

The problem list may include:

  • The identification of pain and potential pathology, along with

  • Reduced range of motion in joints, weight bearing, limb protraction and retraction.

  • Lack of flexibility, asymmetric muscle development, tone and impaired functionality.

  • Proprioception, neurological deficits and

  • Psychological health challenge.

Step by Step Vet Physio Sarah Smith with horse Herbie, taking notes on her iPad

Regular electronic

reports to veterinarians

The priority for resolution of symptoms is as follows:



  • Referral to veterinary surgeon for diagnosis and pain medication for all instances of suspected pathology.

  • Referral to paraprofessionals for suspected dental/foot imbalance or poor saddle fit.

  • Electro physical and manual therapy to compensatory areas.

  • Joint mobilisation.

Psychological challenge:

  • Change of management, including riding and safety.

Short Term

As above, plus:

Remedial exercises: 

  • Stable and groundwork demonstrated and set.

Handling skills:

  • For novice owners including long lining, lunging and leading.

Longer Term

  • Follow up sessions with planned progression in exercises,

  • Monitoring and recording of management adaptations to resolve psychological challenges,

  • Liaison with other professionals and,

  • Step wise return to previous activity.

Step by Step Vet Physio Sarah Smith demonstrating one of the therapy modalities
Step by Step Vet Physio Sarah Smith and Annemarie demonstrating some of the therapy modalities

Modalities Available:

  • Class 3b Laser

  • LW Ultrasound

  • TENS

  • Myofascial release and massage

  • Balance pads

  • PEMF Rug/Applicators

  • Laser Acupuncture

  • Heat and Cryotherapy

Facilities Available:

  • Equine Treatment Room

  • 30x30m Exercise Arena

We aim always  to treat client horses at their home or yard  where they are more relaxed. Private visits to our yard are possible by arrangement but we do not offer livery or live in rehabilitation services as our yard is non commercial and the home of the Step By Step horses and donkeys.

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