At IASF we always teach our students to make referrals to a Veterinarian or Veterinary Physiotherapist. The reason for this is that the Physiotherapist (being a protected term) has to undertake a minimum of 3-4 years of formal education and will be qualified to at least degree level. This means that when the horse presents with a lameness or severe back pain your Vet and Vet Physio will be able to make a suitable diagnosis and treatment plan - no one else can do this.
Does that mean body workers and massage therapists are no good? Absolutely not! Equine Body Workers and Massage Therapist are also essential people to have in your circle of influence. While they may not be Physiotherapists they can offer valuable skills which your horse may benefit from and some may even take a more specialised approach such as facia release or alternative and complimentary therapies.
Almost every high level rider will use a combination of Physiotherapy AND Body Work to maintain the comfort of their horse as it offers the best of both worlds and a good professional team will be able to communicate and work together for the good of the horse.
So when you are deciding on who to employ to work on your horse don't think it has to be one or another; Physio or Body Worker. There is a perfect solution which is to build a strong and diverse team of talented equine professionals.