The move across the pond...
Since the 13th April 2016, I have been a full-time resident Equine Physiotherapist to three time champion trainer Michael Dickinson on his Thoroughbred training farm in North East, Maryland. The transition has been tough, and the working hours demanding, but things are gearing up now as the horses start racing. In the next 2 weeks, I will see 2 of the horses I work on, running at Belmont, NY. Friends, I’m hoping for a good result for Val D’Isere and Giovanna Blues and while Giovanna spends ¾’s of her treatment times trying to kick and bite me at the same time, I’m a huge fan of this little filly and I have high hopes for her! I’m lucky that I work with some really great grooms who know horses, and together, we find the most effective ways to manage the aches and pains that come with being a top athlete.
It’s been an interesting journey so far! I have met many of the world’s leading Equestrians; from Philip Dutton (US Eventer) to Edgar Prado (Barbaro’s jockey during his 2006 Preakness start). We have also met and learned from some leading Equine scientists in the USA; we managed a trip to New Bolton Veterinary Centre the week before the unveiling of the Revolutionary CT scanner. We were given a fabulous tour by Dr Orsini, whose research I was familiar with. We have had Dr Lambert of Kentucky Equine Analysis Systems come to the farm to conduct some heart scans to determine whether or not we have some potential stakes horses. It’s been a whirlwind so far and we’ve been immersed in rich horse country right in the middle of the-now-no-longer quest for the “Triple Crown”.
For me the most remarkable thing is when you find someone who is so astute, who has that intuition that cannot be taught, who knows horses better than you could hope to learn in a classroom, and when you do, to just transform into a human sponge. We have a resident “guru” Miguel, who is such a man… Unfortunately he travels a lot with the footings business, but whenever he is around, I know I’m bound to soak up something powerful. In a world where heart scans, conformational algorithms and various other objective measures of “capacity” can rule, I find myself at war. I love science! I love what science can bring to the game! But what is science if you lose the magic. What is science if your heart doesn’t beat faster, if your blood doesn’t run quicker, what is science if your life isn’t fuller. A horse with a big heart doesn’t necessarily possess the “heart” to run like a champion. “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them”. Every day I wake up and I challenge myself to be the best I can be for every horse I treat. I don’t care to know who the owner is, I care to know what the owner is like. Even then, I care to know what I can do for their horse. My job is for them, to give them comfort both physically and emotionally. To be immersed in their very being. To notice a slight unusual tendency, a depressed aura, a slight change in heat. My job is as much intuitive as it is scientific. I choose to physically and mentally train every one of my 5 senses to be heightened: to taste their fear, listen to their pleas, feel them relax, see them soften, smell their power. I like a challenge, and a challenge I have got.
Keep following me for more on my adventure abroad! It's difficult finding to time for frequent updates, but keep watching