Horse-Specific Information

Typical Uses

Much of our personal experience with the TheraPlate is specific to horses. We purchased one for our boarding stable, Traumhof, several years ago (fall of 2011). At first we were quite nervous about whether the horses would stand on it, as we had previous bad experiences with a similar product made by a different company. (We tried to use it on two of our horses while they were training at a different barn, and even after three months they would never stand quietly on it.) However, it quickly became clear that the motion of the TheraPlate feels very different, as both of those horses, as well as virtually every other one we've tried on it since, very quickly got used to it. In fact, after the first session or two almost every one eagerly steps up and stands happily. Many find it so relaxing they drowse off while on it!

Most of our experience with the TheraPlate revolves around therapy. Our original focus was on helping the healing of leg injuries (tendon tears, muscle pulls, etc), and it has proven valuable over and over in that area. We also started noticing, and then taking more advantage of, it's benefits for hoof problems. Originally this was due to improvements we saw in hoof health in horses that were using it for rehab from leg problems. For example, Danny was on it for a tendon problem, but it ended up having an arguably bigger impact on his overall health due to its effect on his hooves. He had problems with exuberant granulation for many, many years. The farriers were managing it, but his feet were often sore. After about a month of TheraPlate treatment, healthy tissue grew on his feet to such a degree that the entire plate of granulation fell off the bottom, leaving just healthy hoof. The farrier was amazed!

We have since had several other cases where the TheraPlate accelerated hoof growth significantly. We have also heard similar stories from farms who have purchased the TheraPlate on our recommendation. One case involved a stallion who was in a major barn fire. He had bad burns over much of his body, and the treatment for them had the unfortunate side effect of damaging his feet. When we first saw him, about 18 months after the fire, his hooves were still bandaged and he could barely walk. The owner wanted to try a TheraPlate as a last-ditch effort, as nothing else seemed to be helping. Within two weeks of starting him on it, he was already doing much better - the bandages were off and he could walk comfortably. After a month he could be lunged at the trot, and last we heard he was back to full work!

Another unexpected, but very welcome, benefit of the TheraPlate that we discovered concerns colic. Here in the Pacific Northwest we see (and hear about) a lot of colic issues. Most of these are minor and easily resolved, but unfortunately some do require surgical intervention and a few end up being fatal. We suspect the frequent and sometimes severe swings in temperature and barometric pressure play a role, although no one knows for sure. In any case, we monitor the horses in our care very closely for colic to minimize the chances of needing a more significant intervention. Historically, our typical response to a horse showing signs of colic (not finishing their feed, not drinking as much water as normal, not pooping as much as usual, showing signs of intestinal distress or pain, reduced gut sounds, etc) was to give them a large dose of DynaPro (a pre-biotic -- to help the gut processes) and hand-walk them. Depending on the severity of the symptoms we would usually call a vet immediately, as well, who would typically administer fluids and oil. Usually this is sufficient and the horse starts to manure within the next 12-24 hours and is back to regular routines within a couple of days.

Since acquiring the TheraPlate, we have modified our protocol to include it. At the first signs of colic we administer the DynaPro and immediately put them on the TheraPlate. In cases of gas colic this is often enough - the combination of direct vibration, the calming effect on the horse, and relaxation of gut muscles due to both of those seems to help the horse pass the gas and manure. Even in cases of mild impaction the horse will often manure during that first session.

If that doesn't completely resolve the issue, we will usually call the vet and continue to alternate hand-walking with TheraPlate sessions. In every case we see some improvement by the time the vet arrives, and in most cases significant improvement (one half-jokingly told us not to bother to call him after 10 pm anymore if we were going to put them on it). The vet usually tubes the horse to get fluids, oil, and sometimes medicine into them, and tells us not to expect much manure before morning. We often run them through the TheraPlate colic protocol one more time, and in more cases than not, see multiple piles before morning, surprising the vet (the first couple of times - now they're getting used to it...).

While most of our personal experience is on the therapeutic use of the TheraPlate, many other people we know use theirs primarily for training. Several high-profile dressage trainers use theirs to warm and loosen the horse's muscles before riding them - several by tacking up the horse while it is standing on the TheraPlate. In addition to saving time, as part of the usual warm-up happens simultaneously with tacking the horse up, they have found that the horse is more relaxed and loose for the ride. One high-level dressage rider, Jessica Jo Tate, observed an immediate improvement in her horses' scores since starting to use the TheraPlate - presumably due to the fact that relaxation and suppleness are important components of dressage scoring.

We also hope that using the TheraPlate before riding decreases the chances of injury during the work-out. Several veterinarian researchers at Colorado State University are testing this hypothesis, as a matter of fact. They installed a full-stall version of the TheraPlate in the spring of 2014, and will be running studies on performance improvement and injury prevention, as well as its effect on rehabilitation after injuries. It will be very interesting to see what their studies show to augment the many anecdotal testimonials from happy horse owners.