We are a small, friendly yard with one goal – healthy, happy and fit horses, able to do their job to the very best of their ability.
In October 2015 we visited one of Ireland’s premier racing yards to view their water treadmill, in December 2015 we bought one. The results blew us away and helped us win races with horses who would have struggled to get to the track, let alone win. One of our first standout achievements was helping a two-year-old with a badly broken pelvis return to the racetrack and win exactly six weeks after coming off his eight week period of box rest. “Uncle Charlie” has now won four races. Other horses have returned from serious injuries including tendon and ligament issues and have raced and won much sooner than could usually be expected. We have been continually impressed so, after three years and thousands of sessions later using the water treadmill for our racehorses, we felt it was a good time to open our doors to the public in a barn separate to the racing yard, and so in March 2018 “Sports Horse Fitness and Rehabilitation” was born.
Three-day event specialist Nicola Wilson – whose achievements include winning team gold at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games and team silver at the 2012 Olympics – has become a high-profile advocate of our facilities. Nicola has used the uphill all-weather gallop for many years, to help get her team of eventers fit.
“It’s just fantastic to have access to such brilliant facilities.” The treadmill is great for older horses like One Two Many because there’s no jarring and it’s definitely helping to keep him competing at the top level,” said Nicola.
“He is one of our horses benefiting from using the region’s only equine cold salt water treadmill which is proven to greatly improve core strength and fitness, with low impact on joints. I also use it for building core strength in younger horses”.
The Water Treadmill helps all types of horses by building core strength, increasing fitness and reducing inflammation, pain and soreness. Studies have shown that a water treadmill lengthens a horse’s stride, improves mobility and cardiovascular fitness while quickly reducing fat. The “Epsom” in the cold heavily salted water offers great benefits for foot problems offer a myriad of healing properties, helping to tighten joints and tendons. The magnesium in the salts is a vital mineral (often lacking in horses) is immediately absorbed through the horse’s skin and into its blood stream which also has a calming effect on the horse’s central nervous system while the vapours inhaled assists with sinus and other lung issues.
The use of a water treadmill to improve your horses core fitness and strength helps to also reduce the likelihood of injury, and where an injury is present the water treadmill can rehabilitate horses in half the time “old fashioned” methods will take, we have also found that reoccurrence of injury is much less likely.
Along with the water treadmill we also have a VitaFloor, Solarium and Horse Walker and exceptional All-Weather Gallops. Please check out our facilities page for more information.
We can help you get the best out of your horse, whether he be an eventer, dressage superstar or overweight happy hack. We have welcomed horses of all shapes, sizes, disciplines, abilities and ages, tailoring their treatments to their individual needs.
Take a look at what our clients have to say about our facilities and thank you for taking the time to browse our site. We hope to hear from you soon.
Our cold, salt water treadmill provides a low impact, high intensity workout, suitable for all types of horses, including those returning from injury. Water treadmills are endorsed by some of the world’s top equestrians and used by household names including dressage superstar ‘Valegro’. Horses enjoy faster recovery from certain injuries including muscle and joint issues, improvement in posture, balance and stride length and a reduction in pain, discomfort and inflammation.
Please click to see many more of the key benefits of water treadmill use.
VitaFloor ® vibrating floor systems are a safe and easy way to give a horse both a versatile physical training and a massage in one go. The VitaFloor’s vibrating floor increases and regenerates bone density (studies on humans have shown the increase to be up to 20%). It stimulates the blood flow throughout the horse’s entire body, is a non-invasive treatment helping with soft tissue injuries, joint and muscle soreness and significantly reduces recovery time from injury. Because it stimulates the blood circulation without the horse having to move, this makes it also a very effective therapy also for horses that are off work or on box rest. Other benefits include; fat mobilisation (yes – even for humans!), treatment of foot abscesses and bruises and has also been found it to be very effective on horses starting with colic.
Vitafloor® whole body vibration is natural and straightforward. The vertical vibrations generated imitate the gentle impact or concussion found in regular movement, just at a more consistent, greater frequency. These concussions, between thirty and fifty repetitions per second, are gentle enough to be soothing, but strong enough to reach up all the way through the body. These vibrations activate the various cardiovascular, pulmonary, and bio mechanical systems in the body which promote overall wellness; but can also help with targeted healing.
Situated in the same stable as and often used in conjunction with the Vitafloor, the Solarium facility can be used solely with infra read lights for penetrating and relaxing muscles or in conjunction with the Ultra Violet lights which mimic natural sun light – great for a horse’s wellbeing. Used together they produce a warming, relaxing environment which eases any soreness from the muscles of horses in hard work and are a great aid to helping horses maintain tip top condition
We have both an all-weather hill gallop and a fibre-sand round canter. The gallop is a woodchip surface making it suitable for year-round use. Climbing 140 feet and 5.5 furlongs in length, it is great for interval training and speed work or endurance – the perfect facility for getting any horse fit. Ideal for racehorses, point-to-pointers and eventers (top event rider Nicola Wilson has used this gallop for many years) but also extremely useful for hunters, dressage horses and even ponies. For those looking to have a slower, stress free training session, the fibre-sand round canter is for you. Invaluable for young horses, helping to settle hard pullers and for providing much needed experience on how to tackle bends and different cambers, the canter also adjoins the main gallop, perfect for warming up before speed work on the all-weather.
On arrival your horse will have his/her vaccinations checked and be prepared for their treadmill session – feet and legs hosed off, tail secured up if not already done. The first session is usually shorter although this does depend on how your horse takes to it and how fit they are.
Yes,insurance companies recognise us as a legitimatecentre and most insurance cover does allow for treatments such as water treadmill, as long as your horse is referred here for treatment by a vet or physio.
We don’t have a set age limit – we will work with you to determine the length of time your horse spends on the treadmill, (and thus how hard a horse works), taking into account many things such as age, fitness and reason of use. We have used the treadmill for thoroughbred yearlings and two-year-olds and also welcomed many older, retired horses.
Cold, salt water. We have a water chiller unit to ensure that the water stays cold, even during summer months.
We will send you a disclaimer that we require you to fill in, containing some information about your horse and the reasons for using our facilities. Your horse must be fully vaccinated and accompanied by his/her passport. We may require a copy ahead of your arrival. Payment is made upon arrival.
To use the treadmill, horses must arrive with clean legs and preferably their tail already bandaged/plaited. NO studs in shoes or freshly shod horses where nail heads are sharp and protruding nails are permitted on the treadmill.
A full session takes 30-45 mins from start to finish (20 mins in the water treadmill is usually sufficient) depending on your horse, including use of the VitaFloor & Solarium afterwards.
We have never encountered a problem with a horse being scared of the water on the treadmill before, and we have had a lot of horses using the facility over the past 3 years. The water comes up slowly and steadily from beneath the band, there are no sudden splashes of water.
If your horse is nervous while loading, or at any stage in the process, we have Stripey on hand to help – he is a very relaxed, very sturdy ‘nanny’. Stripey acts as a lead horse and is incredibly reliable.
Yes, many horses require residential courses for cold water treadmill treatments to get the best out of it.
NICOLA WILSON EVENTING – 5 STAR – It’s just fantastic to have access to such brilliant facilities.” The treadmill is great for older horses like One Two Many because there’s no jarring and it’s definitely helping to keep him competing at the top level. He is one of our horses benefiting from using the region’s only equine cold salt water treadmill which is proven to greatly improve core strength and fitness, with low impact on joints. I also use it for building core strength in younger horses.
CHARLOTTE ANDERSON – 5 STARS – Merlin had his first session today on the water treadmill after I was lucky enough to win a free session. He absolutely loved it! Everyone was lovely and very helpful, explaining everything that was happening, what the treadmill does and how it all works. Fantastic facilities so close to home, we will definitely be back and adding it to his regime in his return to work!
LITTLE RED – 5 STARS – Pearl had her first session on the water treadmill today and absolutely loved it. Lovely warm welcome. Staff were fantastic and very friendly. Highly recommend!!
We’ll be back very soon!
CATHERINE RENTON – 5 STARS – I initially brought my dressage horse Fly to the water treadmill to build up the muscles in his hindquarters and over the lumber area of his back, also to improve his fitness in a non – intensive form, the water treadmill does just that and much more. It has most certainly increased his muscles behind and fitness immensely in only a couple of months.! As well as producing more length to his stride, he is now beginning to sit more behind too which is due to the water making him have to drive more with his hind legs, alleviating the weight from his front. Fly then finishes each time with a session on the vita floor, overall, I cannot thank Ann and her team enough for the use of the water treadmill, the huge difference it has made to Fly’s performance & well-being is undeniable! And shall continue to be a regular part of his weekly regime. We have begun our season, winning our first competition, which speaks for itself!
VIVIEN WHITFIELD – 5 STARS – Chocky Wocky Doodah (Charlie) is an 8 year old Irish Sport horse – well he was a big fat maxi coloured cob. He had a fractured splint bone in his off hind leg last year and was turned away over the winter. Following re-x-ray in April he was brought back into work and was grossly overweight at 712kgs. Due to the hard ground conditions he could not really do any fast work to increase his cardio vascular rate. I took him to The SHF&R centre for a session on the water treadmill with the plan of having weekly sessions to help with his fitness and weight loss without compromising his joints on the hard ground. I was greeted on arrival by the loveliest and kindest staff who must have sensed how anxious I was. He took to it well and I decided to leave him at the yard for another 6 days on a residential stay. Each day he went onto the horse walker, the water treadmill and the vitafloor/solarium and the walker again at the end of the day. He only just managed 12 minutes the first day and was blowing hard, but by the end of the week he was up to 20 minutes and seemed to really enjoy it. The morning I went to collect him the lads were getting him ready to go onto the treadmill and had waited so I could watch him. They are the friendliest and most caring handlers you could wish for and Charlie was very comfortable and happy around them. He looked amazing and I could really see a big difference. He had lost a lot of belly and fat pads and muscles were beginning to appear from under the blubber. The next day he was a different horse to ride, much more forward going. He has competed in a BD Dressage competition gaining a 1st and 2nd at Novice level, done a 2 Day training camp just last weekend, will be competing again at Northallerton this Wednesday and then I am dropping him back off at The centre again for “Boot Camp” for another week. This is by far the best thing I have done for Charlie, as restricting his food was never going to be enough to get him to a healthier weight and he was very miserable. He is in better shape already although he is still a work in progress. I am very excited at the prospect of collecting him from his second week of intensive training and will be booking him in for his third in August.
SUE SOLEY – 5 STARS – Clorogue Rebel has always been difficult to get fit due to his breeding, he has also had a recurring infection in his frog which reappeared every summer. Since using the water treadmill he is considerably fitter, more able to do his job to the best of his ability and, as a bonus, the foot problems have completely cleared up and are no longer holding him back. I have found that combining use of the water treadmill, gallops and vitafloor has made a tremendous difference to him, giving him a much more competitive edge.
HAYLEY MEEKING – 5 STARS – I sent my event horse to the treadmill for 3 weeks training, and wow what a difference. He injured himself at the end of last year and was recovering well but needed help strengthening and fitness without the concussion of road work. Ann has been so helpful, and her knowledge and experience has been invaluable in helping to get Nemo feeling and looking better than ever! I look forward to continuing to work with Ann throughout the event season. Thank you