About Helen Philo Veterinary Physiotherapy

Helen Philo BSc (Hons), PGDip, MNAVP, AHPR

Having been fortunate to grow up around horses, dogs and cats and begin riding from a young age, I naturally developed a love of animals and they have always been a central part of my life. Combining this with my enthusiasm and aptitude for science, being a veterinary physiotherapist really is my dream job! I graduated from the University of Sussex in 2013 with a BSc in Biology and have since gained a wealth of experience working in the equine industry, education sector and various office roles before deciding to follow my passion by embarking on an MSc in Veterinary Physiotherapy at Writtle University College in 2019.

I am fully qualified, registered and insured veterinary physiotherapist based in East Sussex and covering the South East of England. I hold a Postgraduate Diploma meaning I am qualified to Level 7, the highest level of qualification in veterinary physiotherapy, and I am currently working on a research project complete my Master’s degree. Professional registration with the National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists and Animal Health Professions’ Register means I uphold the highest standards and continue to enhance my skills through CPD.

Throughout my training, I developed my knowledge of orthopaedic and neurological conditions and gained experience in treating these through placements in physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and veterinary clinics and out in practice in yards and private homes. I have extensive, current knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics and pathophysiology, which I maintain by keeping up to date with the latest scientific research, as well as first hand experience in rehabilitating tendon, ligament and joint problems in my own horses and those I have worked with. I am highly skilled in assessment, manual techniques, application of electrotherapies, implementation of remedial exercise and rehabilitation plans and report writing.

I have more than 25 years’ equine experience which includes competing successfully in British Showjumping up to 1.20m and British Eventing at Novice and CCI2*-S level, working in professional competition yards with Grand Prix showjumpers, 5* eventers, stallions and youngstock, riding out point-to-pointers, retraining ex-racehorses and backing and producing young horses. Being an experienced rider myself means I can relate to any issues your horse may be having under saddle and work with you to address these from a physiotherapy perspective. I have also worked with a variety of dogs and cats in rehoming and boarding kennels and catteries, and I am experienced with other small animals.

My approach

I pride myself on a calm, patient approach, encouraging the animal to work with me so they enjoy and benefit from their physiotherapy sessions. I will listen to your concerns and work with you to achieve your goals whether that is to improve your competition results or make your older animal more comfortable. I strongly believe in working with other professionals in a multi-disciplinary team that includes vets, farriers, saddlers, dental technicians, trainers and other musculoskeletal practitioners such as chiropractors, osteopaths and massage therapists. I can play a key role within the team and recognise the importance of working with you, the owner, as the person who can make the most difference to your animal. My primary aim is to improve the wellbeing of every animal I treat.

My animals

Juno is an 8-year-old Dutch warmblood who I have owned from an unbacked 3-year-old and produced up the levels in showjumping and eventing. We have been placed at Hickstead, jumped clear at the Blue Chip Showjumping Championships, finished in the top 3 at the BE100 Area Championships last year and placed at BE Novice, but more importantly we have developed a strong bond and become a great partnership. I am currently rehabilitating Juno from injury – she is receiving frequent physiotherapy to assist her recovery and I am using my expertise to implement a rehabilitation plan in line with my vet’s advice.

Poppy is a 3-year-old British warmblood who I purchased earlier this year and have recently backed. She is enjoying occasional gentle hacks and spending the rest of her time in the field being allowed to just be a youngster and grow and develop in her own time. She has been doing some gentle stretches which are getting her used to her legs being handled for the farrier and has recently had some laser therapy for a small cut she sustained in the field. As her workload increases, she will have more structured physiotherapy to help with correct muscle development and keep her in top condition.

Sky is a 17-year-old Selle Francais who I share with my mum. She was imported from France as a 2-year-old and passed around several showjumping homes before coming to us 7 years ago. Feeling she needed a change, I introduced her to eventing which she loved and went Novice in one season then took me clear cross country around the international event at Firle Place the following year. As I am now focusing on the younger horses, she is enjoying a quieter life hacking out a few times a week with mum. She sometimes comes out the stable feeling a bit stiff so has regular physiotherapy to help with this.

Felix is my beloved cat who is almost 16 and rules the house! Shortly after my partner and I rehomed Felix 4 years ago, he was diagnosed with a rare form of tuberculosis which required an 8-month course of oral antibiotics, so I quickly had to learn to how get him to work with me to ensure he received his medication. He is now fully recovered and doing well for which I could not be more grateful. He is starting to suffer from osteoarthritis but with the help of some manual and electrotherapy he is still able to climb the garden fence!