On The Hoof: With Deborah Smith

On The Hoof: With Deborah Smith

2020 has turned out to be a very different year for all of us and I’ve been feeling so fortunate to live out in beautiful Weardale with lots of wide, open spaces to ride with Oli and Strider.

With ‘organised’ events and competitions only now starting to get going again, I’ve been using some of this quieter time to focus on the horses’ fitness and general wellbeing…


I’m a recent ‘convert’ to Bowen therapy for the horses – and Sarah-Ann Stoker, a mobile equine practitioner covering the North East – was highly recommended to work with Oli, who had a few sore muscles and definitely needed some R&R.

The Bowen technique is a simple remedial muscle manipulation therapy, treating not just the symptoms but the whole body; all very holistic and gentle.

It is subtle and very relaxing, so much so that Oli loves his sessions. Never one to miss out, Strider is now also having them. What a chilled-out pair they are and with competitions beckoning, it’s great to have the boys both in peak condition.

On The Hoof: With Deborah Smith















You can reach Sarah-Ann on: 07719 163089 or on Facebook at: @sastherapy.


Horse health is now a huge business, and several new centres have set up in the last few years to cater for a wide range of clients.

Thorpe Farm Equine Fitness and Rehab in North Yorkshire is building itself an excellent reputation and offers a wide range of equine therapies, working alongside owners, vets and trainers to help clients get the most from their horses and assist recovery from injury.

I popped in one day to meet Amy Fife, who set up Thorpe Farm in December 2018, with her husband Tom and his parents Marjorie and William.

Originally, this started as a racing yard, with gallops and a water treadmill added in 2019. The fitness and rehab business evolved as a natural progression, and Amy has been running this full-time since January 2020.

The salt chamber was installed this spring; it’s a fabulous setup and I can see why they’re busy with all types of horses visiting for the day or staying for a full rehab programme: from ponies to top-level competition horses.

The facilities at Thorpe Farm are superb – as you turn in, the gallops run alongside the drive: they are immaculate and well-maintained, with a top-of-the-range Andrews Bowen surface.

The water treadmill, solarium, theraplate and salt chamber are all housed in a huge open barn complex – so there’s plenty of light and a comfortable, relaxing environment for the horses.

Amy’s eventer, the very handsome Boo, who has come back to full fitness with the help of the facilities, showed off the water treadmill as he marched his way through one of his regular sessions.

Watching Boo on the water treadmill for twenty minutes was fascinating and I can see how this helps build fitness and condition.

I’m looking forward to a return visit with Oli and Strider.

On The Hoof: With Deborah Smith















To find out more and to book, visit: thorpefarmrehabandfitness.co.uk or contact Amy directly on: 07817 720449 or amyannelawrence@gmail.com


Thorpe Farm’s water treadmill comes from FMBs Therapy Systems. By coincidence, I’ve been trying out FMBs Activo-Med Combi Pro II Therapy rug and I’ve been very impressed with the results.

The FMBs Combi Pro II combines powerful Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy (PEMF) with deep massage. It can be used daily to support performance as part of your warm up and cool down routine.

It is excellent for horses in rehabilitation, or with specific stiffness, injuries or general maintenance. I’ve been using it with Oli and Strider as part of their everyday routine – before and after work – and they love it.

There is a longer sixty minute programme for rest days and they both have a good sleep during this. The FMBs team are incredibly knowledgeable and happy to advise to ensure you can fit and use the rug to get optimum results.

Mine is already in use every day; I wouldn’t be without it now.

On The Hoof: With Deborah Smith















For more information, visit: fmbs.co.uk or contact Laura Austin at: laura@fmbs.co.uk