Equestrian, Horse Health, News

ICE ICE BABY: Healing Benefits of Equine Hydrotherapy Spa’s 

October 13, 2019, Author: Contributor

Many people think that equine hydrotherapy is only necessary for top level competition horses, but progressively more stable yards and amateur riders are starting to incorporate this beneficial therapy into their horse’s training program because of the vast number of benefits it provides.  

Horse owners have, for years, hosed down the legs of horses with sprains and swelling as the cold water reduces heat at the site. Similarly, racehorse trainers who have access to the beach have found that swimming in salt water speeds up recovery time. The benefits are so great that new technology has resulted in the development of Equine Hydrotherapy Spa’s, which combine the benefits of salt water and cold temperatures to aid in recovery and rehabilitation of horses.

When a horse injures soft tissue, it causes inflammatory enzymes to move to the injury site creating heat and swelling in order to immobilise the injury and prevent excessive movement which could cause greater damage. Whilst the body generates this reaction in order to protect the injury, swelling can inhibit healing as it prevents blood and oxygen getting to the injured area. Depending on how poor circulation is, anti-inflammatory medicines and antibiotics (administered to aid in healing) may also not reach the injury site, hampering its effectiveness. The safest way to reduce excessive swelling is to use the horse’s own circulatory system to move the excess fluids that have collected in the tissues. 

Enter the Equine Hydrotherapy Spa!  

The osmotic effect of the salt water helps to reduce swelling, whilst the cold water reduces heat in the inflamed tissue. The cool temperature and movement of the water also aids in pain management making it a very effective treatment for injuries as well as for long term treatment of degenerative joint diseases  


How does it work? 

The Equine Hydrotherapy spa works using four basic factors: 

  1. Temperature 

The temperature of the water in the Equine Hydrotherpay spa is consistently between 2 and 4 degrees. Applying cold triggers protective bodily reactions. Apart from numbing the area to a degree, the cold water reduces swelling by making the blood vessels constrict, flushing out excess fluid. On exiting the spa the blood vessels then dilate, causing a surge of fresh bloodrich in nutrients and oxygen, to the affected area, accelerating the healing process and increasing circulation. 

  1. Salt Concentration 

The water contains sodium chloride (table salt) and magnesium salts (Epsom salts) – in similar quantities as you would find in sea water. The higher the salt concentration, the more fluid will be drawn away from the injury site. It has been found to help injuries heal faster. 

  1. Depth of Water 

The depth is generally determined by the position of the injury. The greater the depth of the water, the more pressure applied on the tissues which aids in the movement of accumulated fluids from the injury.  

  1. Aeration 

Aeration of the water increases the level of dissolved oxygen in the water which aids in healing, similar to a hyperbaric chamber for humans. It also creates a massaging action which aids in circulation and the movement of fluid away from the injury site. 


What can it be used for? 

  • Tendonitis – Injury to Superficial digital flexor, Check ligament, Deep digital flexor 
  • Desmitis – Suspensory strain or tear 
  • Arthritis – Injury to Fetlock and pastern, Knee and hock, coffin joint 
  • Hoof Injuries – Over reach, Abscesses, Stone Bruise, Corns, Laminitis or Founder, Thrush, Nail Prick 
  • Shin Splints – Sore shins, Bucked shins 
  • Jar Up – Bruising 
  • Bursitis / Synovitis – Swollen joints, Wind galls or wind puffs 
  • Open wound and skin infections – Dermatitis, Greasy heel / Mud Fever / Rain Scald 
  • General Stiffness 
  • Rehabilitation and Maintenance 


Manor d’Or stables in Kyalami is one of the few yards in Gauteng with an equine hydrotherapy spa. If you’d like more information or would like to book a session, please contact Linda 


Equine Hydrotherapy Spa 

Manor d’Or  


164 Pommel Road, Bridle Park, Sun Valley, Gauteng