Animal therapists from the Galen Therapy Centre in Sussex have been invited to attend The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust's annual show on Saturday 30th Novemeber.

Julia Robertson and Clare Holmes (pictured above) will be travelling with Heather Armstrong, head of The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust to the show. They will use a hand-on physical therapy technique called myotherapy on the animals. It is one of the most effective holistic treatments for easing muscle pain and tension.

Many of the people they will meet are poor farmers who rely on their working horses and donkeys for farming and transport. They will spend a week treating animals brought to the charity’s centre and also spend time with the mobile veterinary clinics. 

The horse and donkey show is the Trust’s biggest event of the year in The Gambia with education at the top of the agenda. As well as Julia and Clare, vets from British universities, other charities and many Gambian dignitaries will be there. 

The myotherapists will demonstrate the problems animals face as a result of incorrect handling or overuse and how their methods can avoid injuries. 

Some farmers travel miles to take part so the show is the ideal platform to advise them about equine care.  The Galen Therapy Centre looks particularly at chronic postural and loading issues, so their knowledge and expertise will be a huge benefit, as many of the animals carry heavy loads and wear ill-fitting harnesses. Malnutrition is common which undermines the animals’ ability to recover from injury.

Julia explains:

“Muscle strains and injuries if left untreated can cause secondary problems as the animals compensate to lessen their pain. I am really looking forward to helping the farmers understand their animals’ injuries due to their workload and the methods we use to ease that tension. We hope we can make a real difference to their horses and donkeys and therefore to the farmers and their families.”

After seeing Julia cure one of her dogs, Heather Armstrong knows the immediate benefits that myotherapy can give.

She says:“I am very keen to encourage the use of complementary techniques in The Gambia. It is a very poor country so medicines even when available are often too expensive and not always necessary. We educate people to treat their animals themselves with what is available to them and this has proved to be very successful.”