Equine salt spa

The therapy has proven to relieve several respiratory-related problems in horses

A respiratory treatment (using only 100% natural salt) to increase the performance of sport horses has been developed in the UK, and has taken off in a big way in America and all over Europe. Vets who have scoped before and after the treatment cannot believe the difference. It’s now available in South Africa, thanks to the remarkable results achieved by our top international showjumper, Oliver Lazarus.

Oliver Lazarus’ experience

Oliver had a horse who would run out of steam when he jumped, even though he was very fit. The horse was diagnosed as not using his lungs properly. When Oliver was competing in America he was offered a 10-minute trial of the Equine Salt Spa. His horse subsequently won the next class he competed in. Inspired by this, Oliver gave his horse another four half-hour treatments during that week’s competition. The treatment opened up Oliver’s horse’s lungs and his horse’s performance was improved exponentially. As a result, Oliver and his horse went on to win the Grand Prix.

People have been using salt therapy for decades to treat skin and breathing conditions, as salt has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities. Based on this, a Hungarian doctor, with several salt clinics in the UK, developed the Equine Salt Spa to treat horses.

How does it work?

A horse receiving a treatment

Equine Salt Spa’s treatments reduce inflammation and congestion in the lungs. The salt acts like an expectorant, decreasing the viscosity of mucus and allowing it to be expelled. This opens up the airways, which improves breathing and oxygen utilisation. The salt also helps to remove allergens and harmful bacteria, combats infection and soothes the respiratory system. The improved overall health and efficiency of the horse’s breathing increases the horse’s stamina and performance and reduces recovery time.

Salt therapy relieves symptoms of:

  • inflammatory or allergic airway disease
  • recurrent airway obstruction
  • EIPH (exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage)
  • sinusitis
  • environmental allergies
  • various inflammatory skin conditions

How is it set up?

The 25kg mobile Equine Breeze Tronic Pro machine needs to be connected to an electrical point. A loosely-fitting woven mask is put on the horse, which just covers the muzzle. The mask is fully adjustable, so it will fit any equine – from the smallest to the largest. Attached to the mask is a long, concertinaed, plastic tube that connects to the Equine Breeze Tronic Pro machine. Very dry, pure, fine salt that has been baked in the oven is ground down by the machine to an extremely fine constituency. It is then spun and a dry aerosol is pumped through the tube into the horse’s mask for him to inhale.

Although the machine is incredibly quiet, some horses are a bit nervous at first. Penny suggests that the horse’s regular groom or handler stands with them to start with, but they usually become totally relaxed within 10 minutes. The horses who have several treatments are so unperturbed about the therapy that they don’t even need to have halters put on them. All horses seem to love the treatment.

Interested in a session?

The therapy takes 30 minutes, and Penny charges R800 per session, excluding mileage. Equine Salt Spa recommends two or three sessions a week for six to eight weeks to receive optimum results, but this depends on the problem or requirements of the horse.

It’s certainly not a one-treatment wonder. Most horses need regular maintenance therapy once a month, when their condition has been brought under control. This is particularly true for competition horses who need to be kept at their ultimate performance level. For a sport horse with no issues, if he has a treatment before competing, it will just give him an extra oomph, but it doesn’t make him hotter. If owners have a scope done after a few treatments they will be able to see how much their horse’s airways have opened up as a result.

Text: Janet Stevens

The full article appears in the February issue (119) of HQ > Shop now