Sponsor Spotlight – Equissage
In this issue we catch up with our fantastic sponsor Equissage and chat to National Sales Manager of Equissage UK Charlotte Walker about the brand.
How did Equissage first develop?
Equissage is a part of a group of companies called Niagara Health Care. Within this there is Adjustamatic beds, Niagara therapy and Vibrant medial. The therapy was initially founded through watching coal miners in the 1950’s, who leant on the coal sorting machine to relieve their back pain.
The coal sorting machine used three way vibration in order to sort the coal properly. Someone noticed the miners leaning on it to help their back and thought it was something to look into. Initially it started up in America with most research looking into pain management and paediatric treatments nowadays Niagara is split in two - UK and Australia covering the world out of two factories with numerous Equissage representatives in nearly every country.
When it comes to Equissage It was really as simple as - What happens if we put it on a horse? I think a fair few occasions this came up before it was taken seriously… after all being one of the leading healthcare products in the UK who would think to put it on a horse.
The two key occasions that I believe pushed it over the edge and got the idea on the table was firstly when a racehorse trainer visited his physiotherapist after a back issue around 1990. The physiotherapist used the hand held unit on him and he felt such a difference he said this really should be used on horses and wrote to the company.
The second occasion, which I honestly believed to be a myth until I was fortunate enough to meet the lady in question, was when the mother of leading show jumper at the time was given a Niagara hand unit by the hospital to use to help her rehabilitation from a hip operation.
Competing at the Horse of the Year Show, the rider’s horse had a knock in the stable, and due to jump in a big class the next day she thought she had nothing to lose so used the hand unit on the swelling and all over the horse.
The swelling went down and the horse jumped better than ever and they finished in the top placings! When she got home she wrote to the company and told them they really should look into an equine version.
Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? But you can imagine my surprise when I heard that story pretty much word for word whilst helping out at a local hunt ride in 2016 after she said “you work for equissage don’t you? I had a play in starting all that off.”
Tell us about the range?
In March this year we introduced the Digital which is super exciting and the most versatile Equissage yet. For years we have limited sessions to 20 minutes but research carried out by Russell Guire at Centaur Biomechanics in 2017 showed a significant increase in range of locomotion though the horse after one 20 minute Equissage session.
So then we started thinking - what if we extend this? What could be achieved in 40 minutes…60 minutes. What if we had additional intensity between settings rather than the standard 1-10 (this is Niagara Health Care all over, the endless What If questions we ask in order to improve product and benefits with so much excitement that goes with it).
The digital comes in four colours - a bit like our Australian cousins who have a range of colours) and a wand to control how you use therapy to the decimal point. This allows more flexibility, pushing performance enhancement and therapy benefits to the max. Most riders also purchase the hand held unit to use alongside the back pad which is great at targeting problem areas or using on legs.
Many people believe the pad only does the back area, but our therapy doesn’t need to directly touch an area to work. If I placed a hand unit on one side of the horse you’d feel it on the other - this is why we aren’t a rug - plus, a rug wouldn’t work too well in the Australian heat so it needed to be versatile in all climates.
Interestingly enough over the last 18 months we have seen a dramatic increase in riders purchasing our rider pads - human therapy pads. Many riders only focus on the horse - we are all guilty of that - however riders’ movement can heavily impede on the horses way of going. If we are warming the horse up, why don’t we warm the rider up too?
Which event riders use Equissage and why?
Gosh, many! To name a couple of our ambassadors Michael Jung in Germany, Vittoria Panizzon riding for Italy based in the UK. Jonty Evans was given human products to use by our Managing Director after he read about Jonty’s incident online and he has had fantastic results from using our therapy to help his recovery.
There are a number of reasons an event rider would use Equissage. Most of the time it is refining those areas of weakness. Equissage is such a versatile and simple to use product which can provide many benefits from improved performance to aiding respiratory issues and rehab from injury. Equissage therapy can help such a wide range of issues or situations that the best thing to do if you have a horse with an issue performance or ailment related is to get in touch for a chat - we don’t bite!
What are you most looking forward to for the brand this year?
Osberton of course!
On a serious note, we are so happy to be out seeing everyone! All of our agents work so hard attending events, following horses who they have met and therapy has helped though times of trouble so it is fantastic to now be able to attend events properly again, and seeing the benefits riders are reaping from using Equissage therapy. Although we all love our jobs, there is no better feeling than seeing one of our customers that has been though such difficulties with a horse compete successfully and come home safe and sound.