A Day As An Equine Therapist
Whenever you think of a physiotherapist, I’m sure many of you think also of an equine therapist for whenever your own horse has aches and pains. I’m currently studying Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation at university. This is my final year and I have learnt so many interesting things about the Equine Therapy business. Read on to learn about my semester two daily lessons!
I must admit, Equine Therapy was not my first choice of course but doing it has allowed me to better myself as a horse owner and a possible business owner. Since I was a little girl I have wanted to be a vet, as I didn’t get the grades at A-Level to do so I had to make a Plan B as it was too late to apply for veterinary nursing. The course for Equine Therapy came up and I was very interested, not only was it at an agricultural university where I have met some amazing people, like my friend Shannon, but it was away from dingy old Ireland!
So nearly two years later, I am finishing up my second and final semester. I can’t wait to be finished to pursue my dream of being part of the veterinary world but for now here is a brief rundown of our semester two timetable.
Monday: First day of the week and what a long one it is! A 6am start for me to travel from home to Uni. First class of the day is Extrinsic Factors Effecting Performance. To sum it up, we are taught what external factors such as the rider, environmental, behavioural, training or even nutritional differences can affect or change a horse’s performance. I am doing an assignment in this class on the topic of bits versus bitless! This is from 9am until around 11am, sometimes we have a yard practical such as this week’s where we look at barefooted versus shoeing! A quick hot chocolate stop afterwards and we make our way to the second lesson of the day – Animal Therapeutic techniques from 1pm until 3.30pm. Quite an interesting class (when I’m not falling asleep beside the radiator) on the different techniques we, as therapists, can use to treat a horse. My favourite one so far has been Kinesiotaping which I hope to try on Ben soon!
Tuesday: WORST. DAY. EVER! Early morning starts again for the world’s most boring class – Research Methods from 9am till 11am. Imagine maths plus horses plus statistical analysis and you get this class. Currently, I am writing a dissertation proposal for this class on how stretching can affect stride length. I must admit however, I struggle to keep awake! Another hot chocolate break after (it really is the best) and we trot off to Business Skills, another awful class. However sometimes we do learn some interesting things such as running social media for business and we often have guest speakers.
Wednesday: Day off, yay!! A day to sit down and crack on with all my assignments, send help!
Thursday: Our main day for yard practicals, some of which are very interesting. This is only an hour and a half of class which I hate as I travel three hours to get there! We have practiced techniques such as stretching, myofascial release, Equissage, lameness treatments and even had a look at the university’s water treadmill! I would love more practical days as I learn a lot better doing hands on work that sitting in a cosy warm classroom! The massage techniques we have learnt are great, I have practiced them on Ben myself and he seemed to enjoy it. Myofascial release must be one of the most interesting, using slow and precise movements, a therapist can manipulate the fascia (a layer of connective tissue all over the body) to ease pain and discomfort on the horse. It’s incredibly fun and fascinating once you do it right! I had a horse who reacted so well to it, it was like popping candy under my fingers whenever I got it right!
Friday: A bit of a late start again, 1pm till 4pm today! Our class is on Equine Parasitology, which although we learn about some interesting diseases and illnesses, sometimes one of our lecturers, Tracey, gives us some pretty grim pictures to look at (EWW!)! We have yet another assignment for this class, a leaflet design to warn horse owners about a certain disease or illness.
All in all, our classes can be quite fun! It is interesting to look at it both from a horse owner and a therapist point of view to see how and why certain things affect horses differently. Not long now until my exams and if I pass, I’ll be able to work on horses with vet permission. I hope you enjoyed reading about my daily life as an Equine Therapy student, it’s demanding work but worth it in the end!