Brought up with ponies at home, Tuesdays off school to Hunt with the Fitzwilliam and showing, gymkhanas and cross countries ruling my childhood. I left home to become the head girl at the Berks and Bucks Drag hunt where I took my teaching exams and really earned my place in the equestrian world the hard labour way. I moved on to a dressage yard in Sussex and started my plans to have my own yard. This became my reality in 1998.
Whilst teaching students and horses of all levels, my interest has always been in the re-education of animals with behavioural problems and drops in performance. During my childhood, many moons ago, I was lucky enough to be a neighbour to Henry Blake in all my school holidays to Wales. I consider him to be the first equine behaviourist in the United Kingdom. His books, Talking with Horses and Horse Sense were stashed under my pillow and read over and again. He observed and communicated with his horses which I soaked up.
As a rider and trainer, I have been involved with many horses’ careers: from backing and breaking to re-schooling and show ring production, sending a few on their way to Horse of the Year show and Hickstead. Having personally suffered a potentially life changing accident ten years ago from a rotational fall, Physiotherapy became hugely important to me as I was hardly given any!! I mainly managed my own rehabilitation and returned from “zimmer frame” to riding after 12 months, and eventually back to full mobility.
I have watched the movement of hundreds of horses of all types in all disciplines for many years together with their mannerisms and reactions to pain fear, excitement and contentment. Subtle lameness and mobility avoidance crops up often in the equine arena and our horses are masters at masking pain and physical deterioration long before it presents as a now “compensatory” movement.
Having earned a good reputation amongst Vets and owners, physiotherapy was for me, a natural progression to take in my career now my son has flown the nest. I am team Physiotherapist for Rosa Onslow, International Event Rider and Paula Whitson, leading lady showjumper.
A fully qualified and insured Animal Physiotherapist, my governing body, the International Association of Animal therapists (IAAT) have a high standard of training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) which ensures I attend up to date training seminars and research in order to keep my qualification relevant and modern. I work under the guidelines of the Veterinary Surgeons Act of 1966, so my job is not to diagnose but to continue the treatment of repair and rehabilitation of an already diagnosed condition. NB My therapy isn’t only for injured animals. (Ref “Not for the broken”).
My research investigated the use of baited stretches for the improvement of spinal stabilising muscles and abdominals with a view to reducing pain in the equine back. I examined the possibility that box rested horses or those with dipped backs could benefit from a simple 10 minute in hand exercise programme. The results were positive and I have prepared an easy to administer programme. I’ve had several articles and case studies published in Animal Therapy magazines and produced a couple of scientific posters for reference in Veterinary Practices and Rehabilitation Centres.
I have a long established and trusted relationship with local Veterinary practices.
Me and Jochen Schleese highly renowned Equine saddle Ergonomist and author of Suffering in Silence.