Hartpury College

Case studies

2 year old KWPN mare referred by Andy Richardson of Wessex Equine Ltd for controlled exercise following treatment of stifle lameness.

The mare had been diagnosed as having some minor cranial cruciate ligament damage in the left stifle and was treated whilst at Hartpury by Andy using PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection. She then underwent a controlled exercise programme on the high speed treadmill over the course of 6 weeks. Her development was supported by a muscle taping technique whilst working on the treadmill and the use of electrotherapy (neurostimulation). The owner is now able to look forward to the mare starting her ridden career. It is not expected that she will have any long lasting lameness.

10 year old ISH mare, used for riding club activities.

The owner was experiencing problems with the canter and a general lack of power behind. The mare was diagnosed at Three Counties Equine Hospital in March 2013 with over-riding dorsal spinous processes and sacro-iliac pain. The over-riding dorsal spinous processes were treated surgically using interspinous ligament desmotomy and the hindlimb
pain and dysfunction treated using a combination of sacroiliac joint injection and electrotherapy (neurostimulation). The horse was competing again successfully just 3 months after the initial diagnosis.


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The images show
(top) Neurostimulator: Treatment of hindlimb musculature using neurostimulation.
US guided SI injection - The photo shows the surgery site and the horse being scanned in preparation for sacroiliac joint injection.

9 year old KWPN gelding, show jumping at Grand Prix level.


The horse was diagnosed with over-riding dorsal spinous processes by Nikki Brown of Ashbrook Equine Hospital following a drop in performance at Grand Prix level. He was referred to Chris Rea at Three Counties Equine Hospital and underwent a interspinous ligament desmotomy at the their clinic. He was rehabilitated using a combination of high-speed treadmill exercise, ground schooling and progressed back to ridden work 8 weeks post-surgery. He started jumping again following discharge at 12 weeks after his operation and will contest the Sunshine Tour in Spain in the early part of 2014 as his return to competition.

The picture shows the beginnings of the horse’s return to jumping after leaving the centre.

7 year old ISH mare, Eventing at 1* level.

The mare underwent a fully lameness work up at Three Counties Equine Hospital and was diagnosed with a brachial-plexus injury, affecting the left shoulder and forelimb and resulting in persistent lameness in this leg. She had lost the ability to swing and load the left foreleg normally and instead used her shoulder and pectoral muscles in an abnormal way to ‘hike’ the limb forward during movement. She was treated using therapeutic ultrasound and a combination of treadmill exercise, ground-schooling and pole work to teach her to use the leg properly again.

Her exercise included the use muscle taping techniques and weighting the limb to re-establish the swing phase of her movement. The mare returned to full ridden exercise within 8 weeks. The pictures below show two different views of the muscle wastage affecting the left triceps.

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