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Step by Step Vet Physio Sarah Smith's horse Herbie free jumping over a jump

Our Approach to Exercise

From principle to practice:

Every horse receives a custom plan of exercises and activities to meet goals agreed with you and your vet. The exercises are demonstrated in person and accessible at all times in video form on your phone.


The plan includes detail such as the number of repetitions for each exercise and the number of days per week to attempt them. They can be developed over time to become more challenging and easily flexed to take account of set backs, holidays etc.


It is not just ridden or competition horses who benefit from ongoing physio treatments. An exercise plan is also appropriate for young horses not yet under saddle and older retired horses needing to stay supple to eat and rest.


The plans use what is available in your circumstances to create variety and interest in your horses routine. Many programmes include exercises to build a stronger relationship and connection with your horse, develop a calm attitude to novel objects and learn new skills together.

Step by Step Vet Physio's horse Bertie bing lunged over trotting poles

Case Study

Mr Will Golightly* and Merrylegs* a 17hh 19 YO TBX who was purchased 3 months ago.


He moved to a quiet livery yard as he had become unsettled with his previous rider who hunted but didn’t school him. He has in the past been a successful RC all rounder.


Merrylegs passed a 2 stage vetting, he has mild arthritis but is sound. He had 1 month off at the end of the season before being sold and 1 month off in his new home.


I met Merrylegs as he came into work in month 2. He has lost muscle and condition during his time off and although only hacked in walk was demonstrating some soreness in his lower back and we discussed having his saddle checked. Will was unsure when he last saw a dentist. He is shod every 5/6 weeks.


In the last 2 months all checks have been done and I have visited twice providing laser, massage therapy with joint range of motion and stretching. He has been working on baited stretches.


Merrylegs now appears comfortable and Will wanted a new plan to progress their dynamic work over the next 8 weeks prior to my next visit.


*This is a real client, the names have been changed.

A screenshot of the Equicantis page

“It is a common misconception that the practice of physical therapy emphasises or consists exclusively of the application of passive modalities such as therapeutic ultrasound, heat, massage and joint mobilisation…although these tools are valuable in reducing pain and supporting healing the primary task facing the therapist is addressing the underlying physiologic contributors to pain and movement dysfunction.”


“The basic premise of physical therapy; that movement is necessary for the health and healing of the body and that we should maintain or regain movement whenever and as soon as possible…”

From Principles and Practice of Therapeutic Exercise for Horses R Paulekas and K Haussler Journal of Equine Veterinary Science Dec 2009

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