Why NZ Grand Prix rider Jody Hartstone’s horses get daily Activo-Med treatments
Grand Prix dressage rider Jody Hartstone, based on New Zealand’s stunning North Island, has been using the Activo-Med Therapy System for nearly 10 years. A regular in the international dressage arena, Jody is also seen out in the hunting field, and knows how physically and mentally tough both of these endeavours can be for her horses, and that preparation and recovery is key to keeping her horses feeling their best at all times.
“The Activo-Med [Therapy System] has been a really big bonus for us in our training regime and at competitions,” Jody tells us. “We can set the rug up to do whatever we want for whatever issue we’re having, specific to each horses’ needs.”
Jody has spent many years as a mentee and then colleague of Dr Andrew McLean, and has immersed herself in the learnings of Equitation Science, which has changed her from a rider into an animal trainer with a great insight into the mental capacity of the horse and the training outcomes that arise from this.
Jody uses her Activo-Med Therapy System daily as part of her horses’ routines. “Everyday we use the S02 program as a warmup before we get on, and then after work each night they get the S03”. The S02 program has been designed as a pre-warmup for tense or nervous horses, and Jody rides many stallions so this program is particularly helpful in making sure that they are relaxed and focussed before hopping on.
Travelling long distances to get to competitions, including having come over to Australia regularly, Jody uses the system to help ward off travel sickness and help with recovery. Her top level competition horses get the S04 program, which is an hour long regenerative program, once a week. “It’s a special attention to detail bit that they get at the end of the week, or after a hard training session or a big transporting session if they’ve had to go a long way to a show.”
With many of her own horses to work as well as client horses in for schooling, and travelling around to give clinics, Jody loves how the Activo-Med Therapy System helps to reduce the time that she needs to spend warming each horse up. “If I’m in a hurry saddling up in the mornings, we can put the rug on one horse while working another one, have the horse all prepared so we don’t need to spend half an hour walking which we normally would before the start of a training session. We’d just do 5 minutes instead which saves quite a bit of time and the horses always seem to come into work really well after they’ve had the rug on – they’re nice and supple and soft through their back and really ready to work.”
Before settling on the Activo-Med Therapy System, Jody had tried quite a few other therapy systems but didn’t like the systems that you had to constantly monitor and move around the horse’s body to get any kind of effect. “It was important to me to have something that did the whole body of the horse at once, and something I didn’t have to stand there with as time is a big factor. I wanted a rug we could leave on the horse and let it do its thing. I liked PEMF much better than straight magnetic therapy, and a system that combines both PEMF with cyclonic massage was a no brainer.”