Nantwich osteopath keeping Cheshire's horses healthy (with audio)

A Nantwich osteopath is helping to keep the county's horses healthy, as <br/>Sarah Isaacs reports

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They’re among the leanest and fittest athletes you’ll ever see but keeping them in peak condition is no easy job. They can’t tell you when they have an ache and they can’t describe their symptoms, but an osteopath in Nantwich is helping keep horses on track.

Race horses, show jumpers and polo ponies are all among the clients at Adam Tilstone’s clinic and he said: ‘Horses competing in top disciplines are peak athletes and they should be treated as such.

‘They have their vet checks, their teeth checks and farrier checks, and osteopathy is something that also alleviates the pressures of competing. Young race-horses, for example, are running week in and week out at the track. They are predisposed to muscle problems.

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‘Osteopathy in the horse business has really grown. It adds a new dimension to the equine world.’

Adam started in osteopathy 20 years ago almost by mistake. ‘Osteopathy came up as a career suggestion on a test I did at college. I had no idea what it was but once I looked into it, I loved the idea of it.’ He qualified in London before setting up his practice in Alsager treating human patients.

He has since re-located to Nantwich and branched out into equine care. ‘I noticed so many horse owners were putting more care and attention into the upkeep of their horses than themselves. So it became a good idea to treat the horse and then treat the rider.’

Adam now sees patients who compete in eventing, racing, show jumping and dressage, as well as carriage horses and polo ponies. The problems that develop with the horses depend on the discipline, and he treats anything from knocks and bumps on an eventer, to neck problems on a dressage horse.

Adam makes a comprehensive list of symptoms the horse is showing, discusses problems and the horse’s history with the rider, then completes a detailed assessment of the horse.

‘Once I’ve established a diagnosis, I show them where the problem is and they can see it for themselves. Often it’s a very simple cause, such as an ill-fitting saddle or a problem with their feet. Even a rider’s sore back problem can affect their horse, as it changes the way they ride.’

Adam works with an equine body worker to create a set of exercises to treat the horse either with a singular intensive treatment or a course. Adam now treats around 250 horses a month but has also been called on to treat cows and lambs.

A healthy horsePrevention is always better than cure and Adam gave this advice to horse owners keen to avoid injuries.

'Make sure tack is checked regularly and fitted well. A daily muscle routine is helpful too and really simple. Use a rubber curry comb to massage the length of the horse's spine. Another easy technique is to stand at the horse's shoulder with a carrot to encourage it to move its head from side to side, stretching the neck muscles.'

He also offers an assessment of the horse without treatment, which can be useful for people looking at a horse to buy.

For more information contact Adam at WeaverHouse Clinic on 01270 629933.

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