"Mystery Lameness,
Poor Performance
or a Naughty Horse"?
Thermal Imaging is
Your non-invasive
Pain Detector"
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Equine thermal imaging is a wonderful tool used in conjuction with equine therapy. It's like having another set of eyes.  A very good way to diagnose back and nerve pain.
Thermal imaging has the ability to read reflected heat from the body. It is a pictorial representation of the surface temperature of an object. It measures skin temperature and has the ability to read alterations in circulation of deeper tissues.
Heat is one of the signs of inflammation and called a "hot spot". "Cold spots" however may also be a sign of injury and reflects the presence of marked swelling, decreased circulation in the damaged tissue or the presence of scar tissue.

Naughty Horse or Pain?

"Not Sure"

Have you been bucked off recently and unsure why?

Your horse feels odd to ride, he/she may have a pulled muscle.

Is the saddle creating pressure points and inflammation?

Not sure where your horse's pain in coming from?

Give Thermal Imaging a GO!


Thermal imaging reveals biomechanical stress created from riding or lungeing techniques. Most importantly is the horses vertebrae column. Riding and lungeing will have an impact on the spine, especially if the horse's spine is subjected to inverted rotation forces which will then reflect in the horses limbs. If a rider sits off centre or rushes the horse forward onto the forehand, stress and inflammation will be seen in the legs, joints, tendons and spine. Stress in the lower joints can be pin pointed before they turn into boney changes. Changes in riding can made to aid in recovery for the horse. A full report will be emailed after images have been processed. These can be forwarded to your vet. Information on correct riding techniques and rehabilitation exercises will be included.
Pelvis Injury
This mare had a pelvis injury in the paddock. Not totally sure what happened. Visually the pelvis on the right sign in the flank region is indented and the pelvis assymmetrical. This was taken approximately 2 months after the injury. There is an extreme difference in temperature and pattern. Heat spots are shown. Also the right stifle region is effected. The view of the pelvis shows the glutues on right side and sacroiliac region is inflammed.
This mare received treatment and was bought back into work slowly. 8months later she had not recovered so she will be a brood mare. Thermal imaging was able to show areas of pain and inflammation.
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Sacroilac Injury
This young horse suffered a sacroilac strain. Before I visited the horse, the rider was experiencing major difficulty riding. The horse would kick out in walk and trot and was unable to canter. The rider was not sure if the horse was being naughty. On investigation the sacroiliac showed extreme inflammation and swelling was also present. The horse was treated by an osteopath, massage therapist and received bioptron light therapy from the owner. 3 months later the horse was ready to start work. Thermal imaging pin pointed the reason for the behaviour and enabled the rider to start a therapy programme.





Extreme inflammation in the sacro-iliac and sacrum - this horse cannot put weight on the left hind leg  after 2 months of injury as seen in the picture. Hehas reduced circulation in the left front leg and the right fore is taking the load from the left hind.



Inflammation in feet, pastern, and  fetlock, contributing to left hamstring stress. This horse was very lame in the walk.



A cover that is rubbing on withers - vertebrae impingement


Sacroiliac  and sacrum strain  -  inflammation in the lumbar region.

Three different horse's with various back and pelvis problems. After imaging the owner could understand why the horses where not performing well.

Feet Balance


The red patterns on the feet show that this horse has toes that are too long and in the hind feet the heel is too low.


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Horse on the left has heel pain and the foot on the right has bruising. Explains why both horse's where not performing to their best. Change in shoeing helped this horse by giving him more heel support. A year later this horse was diagnosed with Navicular.


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Shows a horse with circulation problems in the front legs as they are so much cooler than the hind feet. This horse had vertebrae that was out of alignment in the neck. This shot on the right was takin two weeks after treatment under the same imaging conditions.


Equine Thermography  Main Roles

  • Saddle fitting
  • Preventative
  • Diagnostic
  • Assess your horse
  • Investigate a problem 
  • Check your saddle for fit
  • Aids Treatment Process
  • Checks tendons and ligaments
  • Checks hoof balance
  • Monitors joints
  • Monitors circulation of limbs and body
  • Keep an eye on a recovering injury or bringing an old injury back into work

Thermal imaging works in conjunction with veterinary care and allows the veterinarian to spend his / her effort and the clients money, in the most efficient way. It helps to specifically locate injuries, particularly when a variety of symptoms are present and/ or unclear.

Often using thermal imaging, injuries can be identified as primary or secondary.  It will pick up temperature difference in the tissue before a change in tissue appears. A joint may show to be inflamed but on x-ray no changes are apparent yet! Necessary changes can be made to your horses work schedule, shoeing, veterinary care or treatment process to safe guard against boney changes appearing or forming. The thermal imaging assessment can be sent to your therapist, farrier or vet to aid them in helping your horse more effectively.

Thermal imaging is invaluable in the diagnosis of many neurological problems which would otherwise be incorrectly diagnosed or overlooked. It is the only practical means of differentiating between the common lameness associated with sympathetic neurological response. Basically circulation is significantly reduced to front, back or all legs. This is a painful condition for the horse and presents a variety of symptoms that can be difficult to pinpoint and can cause behavior or lameness issues.

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On treatment the horse had a lot of pain and muscle spasm above the tail where the red circle is and also the red spots on the sacrum. The green area is where the horse has muscle wastage. This horse shows problems going up and down hills, will protect to do either, does not maintain contact while ridden, throws head up and down. On further investigation 12 months had a jumping accident.

Thermal imaging is a separate service to equine therapy and must be booked in advance. It requires that the horse is prepared correctly prior to images being taken, horse must be out of the sun for a certain time and dry to take accurate images. A history form must also be filled in.

Thermal imaging session takes 30-40 minutes depending on how still the horse stands and whether the horse is already under treatment. An assessment chart will also be filled out of pain points and also range of movement assessment.

Cost of full body images is $180.00-$200 in Auckland.

Findings will be emailed outlining areas of interest. Changes in shoeing, work changes, supplement advice and therapy plan for your therapist will be included but suggestions for your vet to examine further if that is the case.

Rachel has traveled to USA to complete thermography training and purchase state of the art thermography camera.

Thermal Imaging Preparation Information-click here

Thermal Imaging History Form to be filled in prior to images - click here