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Healing Horses at the Equine Rehabilitation Center

Healing Horses at the Equine Rehabilitation Center

All athletes experience injury or illness at some point in their career, and when they do they naturally seek the best surgical and rehab treatment. It’s no different for horses. Whether it’s elite show and racehorses, or a favorite riding horse, when these athletes need rehab support, they come to the Morrisville State College Equine Rehabilitation Center (ERC) to see experts like Mike Bednarek.

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Mike Bednarek (right rear) and three of his students use advanced therapy tools like this aquatic treadmill to give horses low-impact exercise.

A licensed veterinary technician,  Bednarek is also manager of the Center where he teaches students in the equine science bachelor’s program. At the Center, he and his staff, and students treat horses using state of the art rehabilitation, conditioning and training, and sports medicine equipment. “There’s nothing like it in the Northeast,” says Bednarek.

The comprehensive set of technologies and facilities are unique to Central New York, and a key reason why Senator Charles Schumer helped designate the Equine Alley business area with the MSCERC as a key location.

Equine athletes suffering from injuries can benefit from swimming, spa treatments, laser therapy, therapeutic exercise, massage, and even acupuncture—just like elite human athletes. MSCERC offers all of these therapies, and trains students to work with staff and consulting veterinarians to administer them safely.

The length of rehab can range from short visits to long-term treatment, depending on the patient’s condition and owner’s preference. For Bednarek, the goal is always same, a happy and fully-healed horse.

“We had a four-year-old trained to compete in reining (a Western style of riding competition) with tendon injuries on a front and back leg,” recalls Bednarek. “He was here about four months and we used everything: the treadmill, pool, spa, cold therapy. The owner actually sent me a video of the horse returning to showing.”

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Most of the horses come from veterinarian and partner referrals, but the long-term vision for the center involves welcoming more outside clients. Bednarek hopes to accept patients recovering from surgery, for example.

“We take all breeds of horses with all types of injuries. It’s really exciting to help them get back to their regular lives.”

To meet the demands of the expanded volume, Bednarek hopes to secure funding to buy sophisticated therapeutic equipment, like a vibration plate (which speeds the healing of bones and improves bone density) and an electromagnetic pulse ring to help damaged muscle cells re-attain their optimal electrical charge and healing state.

Until then, Bednarek hopes to spread awareness of the services he offers injured horses to help them return to normal activity and resume healthy activity.

Learn more about MSCERC, equine rehabilitation degree programs, and watch videos of treatment techniques on the center’s website. If you’d like to know more about the equine business, consider attending the New York State Center for Equine Business Development Summit.

About The Author

Shuai Wang

Master of Science in New Media Management

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