First UK Equine Kinesio Course!
By Kate Slater | 11 January 2013

Foal using fetlocks rather than
hooves when on the ground.

For the first time ever in the UK, due to increasing demand by equine professionals and horse trainers, a Kinesio Taping course purely for horses, is being held at Hartbury College in Gloucester on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th January. This is now completely booked out, but the level of interest means more courses will be planned.

Kinesio Taping - the brightly coloured therapeutic tape beloved by athletes, was brought to the world stage at the London 2012 Olympics, but for many years in the US, it's also been used very effectively to help reduce swelling, bruising and injuries on horses � particularly race horses and eventers.

North East based Chartered Physiotherapist Lee Clark will be leading the new Kinesio Equine course. Lee works with both humans and horses and was chosen to be one of the elite, eight strong Olympic team of Equine Physiotherapists working at London 2012.

Lee is also the official physiotherapist for the British Endurance Team (he treats both the horses and their riders) and is a strong advocate of the benefits of Kinesio Taping for horses. He specialises in back pain and tendon/ligament injuries and treats racehorses, eventers, show jumpers, dressage and family horses all over the country, as well as abroad.

The first day of Kinesio Equine training (KT1) is designed to introduce equine physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors to the concepts, theories and practice of effective Kinesio application. Following lab sessions and demonstrations, attendees will practise basic muscle and joint applications of Kinesio Tape on horses. Day two (KT2) will build on the previous day's course to introduce the five corrective techniques (functional, space, fascia, ligament/tendon and lymphatic) and discuss their application in a variety of different clinical conditions. Opportunities to practise taping methods on horses are also available. Only qualified equine physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths are eligible to attend.

Lee says: 'Typical scenarios where Kinesio will help a horse recover include muscular, tendon or ligament injury, muscle spasms, or muscle weakness after an operation or if a horse has had prolonged stable rest. Kinesio is also excellent for helping reducing scar tissue and helping reduce swelling or inflammation.

'I mainly usually use Kinesio in conjunction with other therapies such as manual therapy, electrotherapy and massage but there's no doubt at all that its application - as long as it's applied by a professional and qualified practitioner - speeds up recovery in horses. Because Kinesio is lightweight, non-restrictive and fully waterproof, it also means it is comfortable for horses and they aren't distressed whilst wearing it.'

Foal use of fetlocks and hooves
corrected with Kinesio Tape.

Four recent scenarios where Lee has used Kinesio Taping to help recovery in horses include:

  • An event horse after surgery for 'kissing spines'. This is a fairly common, painful equine condition often caused by an ill-fitting saddle where the bony 'spines' at the top of the horse's vertebrae start to rub together, causing pain and swelling, especially on moving. This horse is now almost back to normal after around five weeks of treatment.
  • Tendon injuries in racehorses. Racehorses often suffer from tendon injuries and Lee works at racing stables where he treats horses with Kinesio Taping to protect, support and strengthen their tendons from further injury while they recuperate.
  • Muscle weakness and wasting after fractured pelvis. In another example, a much loved family horse that fractured its pelvis was on box rest for six weeks and lost a significant amount of muscle in its quarters. Lee used Kinesio Tape in conjunction with electrical stimulation to help this and the horse has now fully recovered.
  • Elongated tendons in a foal. A common problem in new born foals where they rest their legs (fetlocks) on the ground rather than their hooves, leading to poor gait as they mature. Applying Kinesio Tape can help the contraction of the tendon as the foal grows. Lee successfully worked with a foal born in 2012 with this condition.

Kevin Anderson, Managing Director Kinesio UK, says: "Kinesio Taping has been used in the NHS for the effective treatment of Lymphodema - swelling of the arms, hands and legs for many years and we know it's particularly helpful in reducing pain and swelling in everyday sprains and muscle injuries. However it's fantastic that it's been proven to be so successful in the treatment of animal injuries too. The ability to move freely when you're wearing Kinesio Taping is a great advantage which is why sporting celebrities are so keen on it as you can still train whilst wearing it. For the same reason it's great for children too, who can never usually keep still, and that's one of the reasons that Boots have introduced it in pre-cut form for all the family."

For more information about forthcoming equine courses, please go to www.kinesiotaping.co.uk

For information about Lee Clark BSc MCSP SRP ACPAT KTAI please go to www.equinephysio.co.uk

Neigh pain, neigh gain.
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