In Depth: Behind The Scences At KESMARC Equine Physical Rehab
The KESMARC world-renowned equine physical rehabilitation center has pioneered many groundbreaking therapies for horses. Samantha Lederman recently paid the center a visit and sat down with owner and founder Kirsten Johnson.
It’s a stormy day in June, rain pouring down on the roof and thunder and lightning hitting uncomfortably close by, but business carries on as usual at KESMARC. There are literally many millions of dollars worth of horses calm waiting in the barn to use the various therapy treatments on offer. Kirsten Johnson had a vision for KESMARC here in Kentucky and has turned it into a thriving reality.
Some of the best horses in the world visit Kesmarc regularly - today there are a bunch of yearlings from a premier thoroughbred farm nearby who are swimming laps of the circular pool to put the finishing touches on their sales conditioning. There’s an Olympic show-jumper who comes three times a week to use the aqua-tred - power walking on a treadmill in shoulder deep water is the perfect prep for Rio - less wear and tear on his legs and easier on him mentally than going round and round the arena, it also gives him an extra edge in his fitness and endurance and works muscles in his body that he wouldn’t otherwise.
There are a couple of Derby horses in the barn, several million dollar show-jumpers and a champion hackney pony amongst many others using various therapies as recovery - as well as shipping in for treatments, KESMARC can accommodate up to 56 horses on full board where they can take advantage of all there is on offer. As well as the pool and aqua-tread, there’s also an in-ground cold salt water spa, a theraplate vibration platform, and the hyperbaric chamber.
Johnson pioneered the first aqua tread for horses, and was the second person to have a hyperbaric chamber for horses in the world.
Each horse has a vet attached to it while it’s receiving any sort of treatment at KESMARC and Johnson has sent out a number of interns over the years who have worked here. After 26 years she says she doesn't intend to slow down anytime soon.