Equine Taping with Helen Barker

Equine Taping with Helen Barker

Helen is a fully qualified Equine Physiotherapist and sit on the committee for IAAT (The International Association of Animal Therapists).

Helen provides some insights into the world of equine taping…

As with any human athlete, horses also require help every now and again for support with their muscoskeletal system.

I use tape in several ways to maximise the horse’s athletic potential in different disciplines and decrease the recovery time during injury.

The main reasons I find for taping are;

  • Proprioception – asking the horse to use muscles that are perhaps atrophied or contracted
  • Haematoma – as a lymphatic drainage to reduce the swelling
  • Pain – to lift the fascia and allow blood flow to the pain site
  • Support – for tendon, ligament issues

Using tape alongside physiotherapy, I am able to best judge the suitability of each application for maximum rehabilitation of the horse.  E.g. A rotated pelvis  would require taping along the Semitendinosus for proprioception to encourage the opposite hind limb to step under and help rebalance, or where I have manipulated the pelvis back, keep the pelvis level.

Where a trauma has occurred, perhaps a kick in the field, I am able to alleviate stiffness through stretches but with the use of tape I am able to treat any Haematoma that has occurred by encouraging the drainage back to the lymph glands.

The tape lasts (dependant on weather, rugs, clipping etc) between 3-5 days and I always leave the client with spare tape pre cut and instructions on how to reapply. Kinesiology taping is a simple and affective form of treatment that most owners can use to treat their own horses.

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