International Association of Animal Therapists
Case Study


Equine Case study by Helen Barker

Owner’s observations:

The owner has just acquired this horse and is fine to handle on the ground, however when ridden he brings his quarters underneath him and rushes forward a few strides.


The horse under his previous owner had been admitted to Newmarket Equine Hospital for investigation for the same behaviour and quadrilateral lameness.  The outcome of this was Bruise soles and arthritic changes to his distal intertarsal joint.  


I theorise that the horse may be suffering from KS, however on the X rays from Newmarket this is clear.  Although their report states, “the SI articulations are  symmetrical but unusual in appearance with diffuse and poorly defined uptake extending abaxially along the Ilium wings”.  However further investigation into this was not completed.  The gelding was nerve blocked and his hock injected in October 2014 and shoes fitted to all four feet.  It is stated in the report that it is unproven as to wether the issues under saddle are due to the lameness and if no improvement then further investigation will take place after 6 weeks of rest, following hydocortizone injections and shoes being fitted.  (These were never completed).


Assessment Notes:



The horse presented bright and alert with asymmetry of this muscles.  Paasive stretches of the forelimbs indicated that movement was with in acceptable ranges including laterally and the same applies to the neck and cervical vertebrae.


On palpation of the back, it was clearly evident that there was elevation on the NS at L1,2,3 Lumbars.  This was more due to inflammation than hytrophy of the muscle. This in turn led to more lateral flexion ROM to the OS through the same region of the verebral  column.

“Locking” of RHS hind by way of Lumbers and Quads with lateral tail pulls.




OS hind limb presenting unwillingness to cross cranially with disengagement of quarters.


Although the horse is showing discomfort when ridden, he is not presenting with these on the lunge or in hand.  He  is happy to work forward and work in a contact and does so consistently.


He is balanced and works with impulsion on both reins.



  • Passive stretches of vertebral column

  • Passive stretches of hindlimbs

  • PEMF to both sides of Thoracic lumbar region to disperse inflammation

  • Ultrasound to both Tarsal joints

  • Disengagement exercises

  • Owner left with PEMF and advised of treatment times and periods to treat inflammation



Horse to be seen again in one week or when the inflammation has decreased.  On the report from the NEH it was suggested that the horse may suffer from anxiety hence the issue sunder saddle.  However, there has been no anxiety issue during my visit and although the X rays showed no sign of KS, There is obviously still an issue to this area.


Refer back to vet for further investigation as suggested in the original report.


Follow up visit #1

Date: 25-04-2015

Since my last visit the owner has had a vet visit who prescribed sedalin prior to riding and believes that the horse may have KS with thr processes touching only under the weight of the rider.  Although the Sedalin has helped, the inflammation that had subsided whilst not in work had reappeared and so the Sedalin is clearly taking a little of the pain “stress” away there is still an  inssue.  The owner does not wish for x rays and would like to proceed with physio treatment for KS as a preventative/cure without further investigation to positively diagnose.


I have left the owner with the previous stretches to continue and has an Electrostim to help build up the Caudal Longisimus in order to build up the horse over his back and open up the processes.  The Electrostim is also to be used on the Gluteals to enable the horse to engage his quarters  and work from “behind” to also help him come over his back.


Treatment is to be completed twice daily for 5 minutes on each area to prevent muscle exhaustion, building up by 30 seconds a day until a maximum of 8 minutes has been reached and then continue treatment at 8 minutes for 2 weeks.


Next treatment to be completed following Electrostim treatment and stretches.


Follow up visit #2

Date: 16-05-2015

The horse presented with more muscle definition of the treated areas. ROM is now with in normal range both laterally trough the spinal column and through the OS Hindlimb.


The owner has noticed a large improvement in muscle activity when the Electrostim is applied in the last week.


The horse is now back working under saddle and has not shown any of the issues he originally presented with.


She hopes to compete the horse this Summer.




Thank you for the referral/authorisation. If you require any more details, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at or by phone on 07432 593245

Kind Regards

Miss Helen Barker

Dip A Phys

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