How To Be Clear On Rules of Your Equine Health Business

Do You Know The Rules Around Your Equine Health Care Business?

There are many training courses you can complete to learn your equine therapy. But some courses aren't even professional courses. What I mean is that they're not clear whether they're for horse owners to learn for their own horse. Or if with the qualification you can go and work with other horses.

How Recently Did You Complete Your Equine Health Course?

If you've completed a professional equine training course recently. Then this should've covered the current legal requirements. But if you completed your course a while ago. Rules and best practice may've changed. And where do you go to update your knowledge? As with so many news items. The devil is in the detail. It's easy to get swept along with headlines and opinions.

Recently the Royal Veterinary College announced a new ruling. That musculo-skeletal therapists can work with a healthy horse without veterinary surgeon permission. So this could mean a massage for maintaining good health. Ideal for horses pre or post work, or competition. But a veterinary surgeon must already have the horse registered. If there's any sign of illness or disease then the therapist must refer the horse back to the vet.

Unfortunately i'm aware of some horse owners thinking they now don't need veterinary consent. As a musculo-skeletal therapist you need to be very clear on the rules to not only protect the horse. But yourself. The Register for Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP) state:

"To reiterate, the only difference to current practice is in point d). An animal declared healthy by the owner, in cases where care is given to maintain good health and optimise competition performance, can be seen without specific Veterinary referral with the caveats stated. This covers the areas of Maintenance care and Competition care only. This clarification will ease the current legal grey area and hope it will improve communication between MSK Practitioners and the Veterinary Profession. Any suspected pathology must be reported back to the animals registered vet immediately." (source:

This is specific.

There'll be many situations where you need veterinary consent.
And if you're not classified as a musculo-skeletal therapist. And deliver another equine health care you will almost certainly need consent anyway. (Although there are some exceptions).

This is where being a member of an organisation like RAMP or one of the other professional bodies helps. You should get clear advice on the correct position.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed. And ask others what they're doing. Often many businesses are different, even if on the surface they look the same. So don't compare. Decide for yourself what you need to do. If ever in doubt if a horse does have an illness or injury then liaising with the vet is wise.

So where do you get your information from? Try and make it sure it helps and doesn't confuse you!

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About The Author
Suzanne Harris is an equestrian and canine entrepreneurial coach and consultant to veterinarians who want to help prevent animals being affected by domestic abuse.

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