Welfare of the Horse Is Paramount to Equine Health Centre Ltd
Equine Health Centre Ltd (EHC), based near Langport in Somerset, sees the horse and what it requires to remain fit and injury free at the core of all its products. The health, well-being and welfare of the horse to ensure optimum performance is the company’s mantra. Equestrian sport, from racing and eventing to dressage or polo all push the horse to work to the highest levels of its’ ability and this undoubtedly can affect how it recovers and maintains fitness – this is where EHC see its’ role.
The first product developed by EHC back in 2005 was the Seawalker, born out of a racing trainer seeing the benefits of working horses in the sea, but being nowhere near a beach. It was designed by Justin Chittenden, Managing Director of EHC, and the approach was to build it around the horses’ health and well-being rather than purely as an engineering project.
Developing on from the Seawalker, products like Equivia, a riding surface that blends wax with fibres and sand, Vitafloor a vibrating floor system and Belebro walkers followed at EHC. Putting the horse first was always the initial point of reference for all these products and making them as easy and comfortable for the horse to use. “Our Seawalkers have probably had more than a million horse sessions over the past twelve years,” said Justin. “Obviously each horse will have had many treatments but that’s certainly a lot of horses and to my knowledge I haven’t, to this day heard of any issues for the horses using it. They seem to like the feel of the water and enjoy it like a spa experience. The benefits of salt water have been well documented and this has been borne out for horses using the Seawalker around the world,” he added.
The Vitafloor, akin to a PowerPlate for humans, stimulates blood flow to injured areas and helps maintain strength and bone density; a successful non-invasive solution for training, rehabilitation and injury prevention. “The impact of competition and training on a horse’s legs is an issue and having a proven benefit like this is a real advantage for our horses,” Justin commented.
Top Eventer, Izzy Taylor uses the Vitafloor at her yard in Oxfordshire, “The Vitafloor is an intrinsic part of our training and fitness programme. All the horses on the yard use it every week throughout the year, so this includes the hunters, eventers and my children’s ponies. I feel the floor improves muscle stability and tone. It is a vital piece of equipment for Team Taylor and I would not be without it.”
Horses train and compete on surfaces much more than ever before and Equivia is a mix that can be produced to meet the needs of all the very varied equine sports; from racing gallops to polo pitches the density can be adjusted to make it just right. Whilst the Belebro horse walker was specifically designed to give the horse a more natural exercise experience – in their natural habitat a horse will walk for about 16 hours a day and using the walkers in the correct way can benefit not only their fitness but also their well-being.
There is much to look forward to at EHC with the first equine altitude training chamber currently in development and we will be in for some interesting products in the years to come.