Massage idea shows horse sense

PHYSIOTHERAPY is fast becoming a part of every horse’s pre-race ritual.

With a background in human movement and a competitive involvement with showjumping since childhood, Chadd Donovan decided to become a horse physiotherapist.

A trip to the UK to compete as a show jumper led to his career choice.

“I met an equine physiotherapist at the stable I was at. I left the stable and went to work with her full-time,” Mr Donovan said.

On returning to Perth Mr Donovan completed equine massage certificates with US-based firm Equinology.

He said certification was growing in the horse massage field but there were still many uncertified practitioners. The equine massage field seems to be a fast growing one.

“It’s very busy for me. I can’t remember the last time I had a quiet day,” he said.

“My work is very similar to that which a massage therapist would do for a football player before a match. I do a performance enhancing massage.”

Mr Donovan said his industry was starting to become more accepted.

“We do battle with credibility but the industry is becoming more professional,” he said.

“I provide treatment records for each horse, outlining what muscles I’ve worked on and why. It’s similar to a vet’s report.

“It helps show the trainer what I’ve done and he can show the report to the horse owner to show what he or she’s being billed for.”

His Byford-based practice Equine Massage and Manipulation has clients as far south as Pinjarra and as far north as Wanneroo.

“I charge $30 a treatment and, if it’s country work, money for travelling,” Mr Donovan said.

“My biggest work is with pacers, followed by gallopers. My clientele is a lot to do with the area I live in. Byford has a big pacing nucleus. If I lived near Ascot my work would be more gallopers.”

Mr Donovan had few business obstacles to overcome. Little capital was needed to start the business and most of the work is done at clients’ properties.

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