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Horses, Health and Heroes

I think I’m onto something.
Trust me, this is worth a read. For all of you out there whose bodies are in pain or don’t work properly, or are injured, this is for you.

It starts with my horse. But it didn’t have to. This is as much a human thing as it is for animals. My story is my horse’s though. My horse. My Capoté. Those of you who know me, know how big a deal it is when my horse is hurting. Right now, he is a mess. And so therefore am I .

It started late last year when his urticaria returned – Capoté’s allergic reaction to feed. The state of the art allergy tests were done. The results were bad: allergic to wheat, oats, barley, soya, carrots and all grasses. That’s not great for a horse.

It followed with a physio session by the great Gemma Walker: soreness behind the saddle- yep, and tension in his poll. He gets that- his 3 monthly checks have always shown that. I’ve been told by previous physios that it is normal work related muscle tension. I now have Gemma as part of my team and apparently it is not. The superb saddler – Helen Wardle came and took his saddles away too – A yearly check is normal, but after what was later found, I’ve not been able to use them since.

This was followed by my amazing dentist, Dan Astle-Carter, to assess why soreness was in his back and poll. Dan comes 6-monthly regardless, but I moved his appointment forward. I brought the vets in too to sedate Capoté to make sure Dan could see everything clearly: fractured tooth- requiring surgery.

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Ian Dixon treating Capoté with scenar

The appointment was made at Minster Equine Vets and thanks to the amazing care of Anna Szkutnik, and Moses from Rainbow, who needed to drill through his jaw to remove the fragments of tooth, Capoté is recovering- apart from the antibiotic resistant bacterial infection he is now developing under his jaw… I’m on it though…

His bloods were done – these were not great either: anaemia; low white blood cell count; shocking mineral levels. What was going on with my horse? He looked amazing, he was full of life and character, but I know he was struggling with his stamina. It was time to dig further…

I called out vet Katie Brickman – the lameness specialist from Minster Equine Vets. My worst fears were realised: bilateral stifle lameness. In other words his knees were buggered. I event this horse. I ask him to jump not far off a metre of solid fences at high speed in cross country; I ask for precision and accuracy in show jumping; I ask for collection, obedience and presence in dressage. He gives his all. At this point I am physically sick.

It doesn’t end there. If a horse is diagnosed with painful conditions and food allergies, there is a very big chance this is accompanied by stomach ulcers. I had him scoped. Some of his ulcers were so bad, he scored 4/5 on the chart. I nearly died.

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Ian Dixon treating Thomas with electromagnetic pulse therapy for a foot injury after rugby

The story doesn’t end there either. Capote is booked in for surgery for his stifles. He is on the best ulcer treatment there is. I’ve found some feed that doesn’t contain any of his allergic triggers. However, these are plasters. These are not curing the root problem. But I’ve found a cure. This is big. This could truly make a difference.

I’d heard of Ian Dixon before- the laser guy, the one that uses scenar, electromagnetic pulse therapy and laser treatment. Nobody really knew how any of this stuff worked, but I’d heard of the results:

• A horse that was diagnosed lame, competing and coming in be top 10 at Burghley ‘Young Event Horse’ finals 10 days after treatment.

• A man who had been involved in a crash and for years hadn’t been able to move due to paralysis, had recovered after extensive treatment – after the NHS had given up.

• Injuries that were simply not responding to conventional treatment, were improving beyond recognition.

Admittedly I was initially cautious. It seemed too fantastical. However, what had I to lose? I gave him a call.

This is where things don’t make a huge amount of sense to me. Ian comes out weekly. He is kind, professional, passionate and skilled. His equipment is state of the art. Some of it makes noises, some is infrared, some just looks like a little black box with metal bits on it. It’s serious kit though. He’s told me what it does and how it works. I’m just in awe. And actually a bit saddened. Put simply, why is this shit not available to the masses? This is immense. This changes lives. This is truly mind-blowing (and for once I’m not exaggerating ).

Capote loves him. Horses know. I trust Capoté.

I’ve had his bloods redone. One month later – a massive difference already: no anaemia; white blood cell count normal; minerals mostly back to normal. There’still a few levels to sort but it’s very early days.

I’ve had him re-allergy tested. Now this has blown my mind. The vets can’t explain this. This test is the latest and most accurate allergy test available. Capote has no allergies.

Surgery on his stifles is booked in for just over a week. 1% don’t make it passed the anaesthetic. Some don’t recover after surgery. I’m cautiously optimistic – only cautious because I am human. I have a secret weapon. I have Ian.

Ian treated my son for a rugby injury on his foot that still wouldn’t heal after a month – and 2 A&E visits, and a Doctor’s appointment, and endless amounts of painkillers. It took only 2 treatments for Thomas to be totally sound.

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Ian Dixon treating Dad with electromagnetic pulse therapy for osteoporosis

My dad fell and broke his femur and wrist before Christmas and was then diagnosed with 40% bone loss (osteoporosis). Ian is treating him. We won’t know the results of this until Dad has another scan and the NHS isn’t quick. I think I already know what the results will be though.

Trust me. This is life changing. I’m not being over-dramatic either. Ian is now a permanent part of my horse’s team. My horse is everything to me. He deserves and will have, and does have, simply the best.

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Capoté‘s urticaria
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