Dee is a former stable manager at an exclusive 5* Island Resort off the coast of Mozambique and was part of the small stables team at the London 2012 Olympics. Dee works with some of the best horse and rider combinations in the world, with three competing at Rio 2016, who all came home with gold medals. Dee has competed successfully to national level in showing, and trained abroad with an Olympic dressage rider. Dee was also proudly funded by “Mars Refuel” in 2012 on an eventer she was riding.
Dee’s passion of horses and sport stems from aged two and she continued this enthusiasm in her academic pathway. Dee gained a ND BHS 1 & 2 at Writtle College, to graduate as an Equestrian Sports Science student at the prestigious Hartpury College. The degree focused on both human and equine anatomy, physiology, therapy and nutrition. She then completed the highly regarded International Therapy Examination Council Diploma in Equine Sports Massage, delivered by World Renown Veterinary Chartered Physiotherapist Mary Bromiley (MBE, FCSP, SRP, RPT). Dee is a fully insured Equine Sports Massage Association (ESMA) member and very proudly has the honoured title of the ESMA Chairman.
Through volunteering in human soft tissue therapy to gain further experience, it became apparent that this was an area of great interest, working with various athletes from different sports, particularly elite rugby players and riders. Dee realised how overlooked soft tissue therapy was for the rider and its influence on the horses performance. Dee is a level four soft tissue therapist with the Sports Massage Association (SMA) and was personally examined by the head soft tissue therapist for London 2012 and the chairman of the SMA. Dee is highly qualified in human and equine kinesiology taping and muscle energy techniques, as well as using deep oscillation therapy.
Dee invested into a Pegasus class IIV laser in 2018, and now uses it within most of her work. Having been invited to take on some of a vets laser patients a class IVV was the only option and it has now transformed some of the cases Dee works with, and is now often used for general maintenance.
Dee is also now very proudly one of only 20 therapists in the UK to be qualified in rider and equine Fascial Manipulation via the world renown method of Stecco®. Dee had met Tuulia, an expert in the field at a conference and like all others it transformed the way she thought about what she was doing as a practiser and the way the human and equine body work. Through ESMA Dee flew Tuulia and assistant Mika over to the UK, for a rider and equine based course and later purely equine. Attended by vets, chiropractors, physiotherapists alike it was an incredible year that changed the way in which she works as a practitioner.
As a keen sports person herself, Dee works out regularly and understands the importance of a fit and healthy rider. Dee works on rider fitness, strength and performance with all her riders and provides tailored programmes for both the horse and rider. Dee previously produced a series for Horse and Hound – Rider Performance Programme of Exercises, which gained thousands of views for each (see ‘Resources’), it is something needed in the industry and something she is very passionate about.
Top riders are becoming ever more aware of the importance of their own fitness, flexibility and recovery, in order to stay mobile, strong and stable to stay aware of their body and its influence on the horse. Dee also works closely and has access to some of the very best:
- Coaches – A good coach should know what sort of learner you are and work with you and the rest of the team. DSP feel very lucky to work with some of the very best and it is key for Dee to understand and see both athletes together and understand what the coach is wanting to improve and why. It is also as important for the rider to analyse themselves and their horses via slow motion video analysis. This enables all parties to look at the smaller details that make up the bigger picture.
- Farriers – ‘No foot no horse’. Never is this more prevalent than today, with horses being asked to do things bigger, better and to their maximum. The whole horse is supported by the feet and therefore are of prime importance. Dee not only speaks regularly with the farriers but treats many of them also.
- Vets – Keeping horses performing at their best is everyone’s goal, so it is vital for Dee to work with and alongside the vets. All horses seen must have veterinary consent.
- Sports Nutritionists (Human and Equine) – Equestrian sport is ahead in many ways for the horse but severely behind in this field for the rider, and only when you are eating well can you give 100% to your sport. Therefore the team have great links to some of the best in the businesses for riders that would like nutritional support and planning along with equine nutritionists. Dee will talk with the nutritionists and rider so that everyone is on the same page.
- Sport Psychologists – Dee believes this should be part of any elite competitors not be used solely to solve problems but part of their training. Self awareness, confidence and preparation are all fundamentals to success for any rider at any level, and a sports psychologist can be vital at enhancing those skills. All the sports psychologists DSP work along side are BPS or HCPC accredited.
- Sports Doctors – Dee has formed fantastic relationships with some of the top sports doctors, who also have access to some of the best professionals in their fields. ‘Always look on the bright side…’
Dee communicates regularly with other members of the team (upon consent) in order for the rider to feel completely supported, as unfortunately riding talent alone is not enough to get you to the top.
“Thank you so much to Dee for her knowledge and treatment. Riding at European level it’s really important that I look after myself as well as my horses. It’s easy to focus on the horses needs and forget about how your own imbalance could be affecting the horse. Dee looks at everything and is so thorough, I can’t recommend her highly enough for both horse and rider!”