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Patient Spotlight: Spirit, the Eventing Thoroughbred, uses the Assisi Loop to Stay Healthy on the Circuit

Mar 14, 2019

unnamed (1).jpgSometimes it takes a village to raise an animal, and luckily for a retired racing thoroughbred in Utah named Spirit, not only does his village love him deeply—but it uses the Assisi Loop® to keep him in the best shape possible for a successful eventing career.

Spirit’s owner, Lynette Gascoigne, has known the horse his entire 14-year life. Lynette’s father was a race horse trainer, and he trained both Spirit (Jockey Club name Snifters Spirit) and his mother, Snifter. But Snifter sadly died when her colt was only four months old. Lynette “made a silent promise to Snifter that when Spirit was done racing, she would take care of him forever.” That is exactly what happened when Spirit retired from racing in 2009 at the age of five.

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Now his rider, Taylor Timmerman, acts as his primary “mom;” Lynette moved from Salt Lake City to Houston, Texas, in 2017, but corresponds constantly with Taylor, who rides Spirit daily and has started him on a his eventing career. For the uninitiated, eventing is a combination of cross-country, dressage and jumping; like the triathlon of the horse world. It follows that competitors must be on the top of their game, and the Loop helps keep Spirit where he needs to be.

Under Taylor, during Spirit’s first year competing (2016), he won the Wasatch Range Equestrian Association Rookie Horse of the Year award, and also qualified for the National Eventing Championships (NEC) at the beginner novice level (which they did not attend as it was held in North Carolina). In 2017, he won the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program Reserve Championship Award for the novice level.  

unnamed (2).jpgSpirit “has found his true calling in the sport (although sometimes he’s pretty convinced he’s still a race horse),” Taylor writes. “He's currently competing at training level in eventing and first-level dressage.”

Off-track thoroughbreds (OTTBs) like Spirit are known for having a variety of racing-induced injuries, but luckily, Spirit came out of his racing career without any of the more damaging chronic problems that afflict many others. He does, however, have some scar tissue in his shoulder, and can get “stuck” in his lumbar region, writes Taylor.

unnamed (3).jpgBut “the Loop has helped tremendously in both these areas,” she continues. “I usually use the Loop before and after my rides, and will leave a scrim sheet with the Loop attached to run on a cycle if I'm at the barn for a longer period of time. Since using the Loop, I have noticed a big difference in how he warms up, which has a huge effect on the success of the rest of our ride. Because he is coming into the ring more comfortable, he is more relaxed in his work, and rides are much more productive.”

Although they live about an hour apart, Dr. Summer Peterson is well acquainted with Taylor and Spirit. Taylor and Dr. Peterson often travel to competitions together, and both are on the organizing committee for a local eventing park named Skyline. Spirit is also a huge fan of Dr. Peterson's acupuncture treatments. Dr. Peterson also has experience treating her own horses and dogs with the Loop. She is a contract veterinarian for the Bureau of Land Management, working at a holding facility with 2,000 horses and 1,000 burros, but also competes with three of her five horses and has used the Loop on them to speed the healing of acute contusions, often in conjunction with other modalities.

“I did the two-star level eventing at FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale),” Dr. Peterson tells Assisi, “and I had a horse who stepped on himself in the trailer. He had boots on, so there wasn’t a cut, but there was definitely a contusion there on his pastern. He was the tiniest bit off on it.” FEI events require horses do a variety of actions, including jogging, and with such an injury Dr. Peterson knew he needed a little extra help to pull it off. “With icing and putting the Loop on him as much as I possibly could, he trotted out sound and I was able to compete.”

unnamed.pngDr. Peterson (pictured left on Jake the Fish) also mentions a horse who popped a splint, and she thought of the original FDA cleared usage of PEMF technology, which is fractures and bone healing. She immediately put a Loop on the injury. “He was never lame on it—he wasn’t before I started, either—but he was quite sore to palpate. The palpation tenderness went away in just a few days.” She continues, “I feel like in some acute injuries, the edema was taken down more quickly than I would have normally expected.”

Beyond just horses, Dr. Peterson has used the Loop on the dogs in her life. “My parents’ dog, a working dog-pit mutt, is quite lame; she has some elbow arthritis, and she was limping quite badly,” she says. “I ran it on her—and this was a single treatment—and she got up and walked off, not limping. Which was really weird!”

The final sentiment in the dog story speaks to Dr. Peterson’s healthy skepticism in approaching Loop technology. Like many vets, she is deeply rooted in science; after reading the peer-reviewed studies about the Loop, she knew that the mechanism of action of the Loop would certainly not harm her patients, and she does believe it has often been helpful to her animals. Plus, she says, never claiming that the Loop is a magical cure makes some folks more likely to try the device. “It keeps skeptical-minded people away, because they’re not going to believe anything that’s too good to be true.”

unnamed (4).jpgThe portable nature of the Loop is also a plus for Dr. Peterson, who often travels with her horses to events. “It gives you peace of mind to have something that you can bring to a show that you know is show-safe,” she says. “You know it’s something you can do if they get a bang, or if you feel like they’re a little sore. It gives you a tool. I have more tools, being a veterinarian, but being a client, it’s like, ‘Gosh, I have something I can actually DO.’”

Taylor, Spirit’s rider, agrees. “The Loop is also a lifesaver at shows helping to keep Spirit comfy after strenuous days and remain relaxed in new environments,” she writes. “I also frequently use the Loop on any bumps, swellings, or heat that Spirit may have from playing too hard in turnout or just being a horse (like any horse, he is gifted in the art of finding ways to injure himself). I love how versatile the Loop is in treating these random occurrences and prevents the need for more abrasive NSAIDs such as “Bute, which can have detrimental effects on horses' gut health.”

When we asked Dr. Peterson if she had any final thoughts about the Loop, she chose to compliment us instead! “Customer service was awesome,” she said happily. “I think that’s something that’s worth talking about. Every time I’ve called it’s been super helpful, and I thought that was really nice.”

According to Lynette, "For 2019, Spirit is slated to compete in California, Arizona, Wyoming and Utah....and, of course, continued use of the phenomenal Loop, in order to keep him in top shape to excel during this ambitious schedule!"



Category: Horses

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