Monday, January 24, 2011

Equine Physiotherapist Pioneer Mary Bromiley Receives British Queen's Recognition for Service to Equine Sports

This story is © 2011 Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This is not a press release. No use without permission.

Congratulations to human and equine physiotherapist Mary Bromiley, who was recently listed by the British Monarchy as a recipient of the Queen's Honors for 2011. Mary will be awarded the prestigious title of MBE: Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth for her services to equine sports.

Mary Bromiley is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (a licensed human physical therapist in Great Britain), who applied her skills to horses. She and American athletic-trainer-turned-horse-therapist Jack Meagher were early pioneers who began using their knowledge of human sports training principles and muscle rehabilitation therapy on sport and race horses--in particular, on international event horses in the Olympics, with excellent results.

Mary worked for the New Zealand Olympic Teams at several Olympic Games and has been a frequent guest lecturer at equine sports medicine conferences. She is credited with the formation of The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT), a sub-group of CSP.

Now 79 years young, Mary Bromiley may be found in rural Somerset, England, where she and her two daughters run Downs House, a rehabilitation center for horses and education center for equine therapy, at Combeleigh Farm, Exmoor. She also offers courses there.

Mary was quoted on her local equestrian web site Riders for the Bristol area: "It’s really an award that covers the work of an enormous amount of people. I could not have done it without my daughters, the veterinary profession and trainers such as Martin Pipe and Nicky Henderson who have allowed me to make suggestions and do things with their horses. It’s been a big effort all round."

If you know Mary Bromiley or have heard her lecture, you know she is never short of a good story. In one interview with the British website Southwest Business after receiving notification of her royal honors, Mary recalled this case about a filly that had slipped on the road and come down on her knees.

"I was told by a doctor friend about the benefits of the fabled bloodsucking leech and how its anti-coagulant saliva is routinely used to reinstate blood flow in wound areas. I drew (my) breath and rang a leech farm in South Wales. They duly arrived with 'handle with care' on the box but none of us wanted to put our hands in!"

Mary added: "The end result was that it made an amazing difference to the wound!"

British National Hunt trainer David Pipe dedicated a page on his web site to congratulating the woman who has helped so many of his horses, as well as his father's, the legendary Martin Pipe:

"I would like to start off by offering my heartfelt congratulations to Mary Bromiley for being awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honors List for services to equine sport. Mary pioneered the transference of human physiotherapy methods to horses many years ago and set up the country's only specialist horse and human rehabilitation center at Down's House, as well as founding the 'Flying Physios' who tend to injured jockeys at the race.

"Mary has tended to the horses at Pond House for many years and I have been privileged to see the amazing work that she has done first hand. Not only does she care for the equine inmates, but such is her kind and caring nature, she has also helped numerous employees. I am sure that everyone in racing will join me in congratulating Mary on this award, it is a thoroughly deserved recognition of her talents.

David included a quote from his father, Martin Pipe, who recalled years of working with Mary: "It was Mary who helped me to rebuild Carvill's Hill after all the bone scans and vets said that he would never be able to race again. He would certainly be one of her earlier success stories--we defied them by winning the Rehearsal Chase, Welsh National and Irish Hennessy. None of it would have been possible without Mary's regular contribution and expertise.

"It wasn't just the horses that she was so good with either, she helped to fix numerous members of staff and I was also a patient of hers as she helped considerably with the rebuilding of my new knee. She certainly put me through my paces, both before and after my operation! I couldn't be more pleased for Mary, it is great that she has been recognized for all that she has contributed to both equine and human health."

Mary is author of Massage Techniques for Horse and Rider, Natural Methods for Equine Health, Equine Injury and Therapy and co-author of Blackwell's Dictionary of Nursing. She has also made several videotapes to share her knowledge. Mary is sited as the inspiration behind the Equine Sports Massage Association in Great Britain and has been commercially associated with Respond Systems, as an advocate of their Bio-Pulse Magnetic Field Therapy Systems and laser systems for wound healing. She is also credited with the inspiration or collaboration in development of numerous other products and procedures for helping horses.

I thought you might find this video interesting; Mary uses a Respond laser to help treat a horse with the goal of increasing circulation to the foot in order to stimulate healing for tendon damage. Disclaimer: This is not an ad, it is a good video that shows Mary at work.

If you have a chance to learn from Mary, I highly recommend the experience, even if you have to travel to England to do it. She's been a great inspiration and resource for me and countless others and I think that her honor by the Queen is very much deserved.

Mary Bromiley's books are usually available from Hoofcare and Lameness. Some are out of print but can usually be sourced. They are excellent for reference. I hope she writes her memoirs some day!

Others from the horse world honored by the Queen were former racehorse trainer Tony Balding and accomplished horse photographer Bob Langrish.

Photo mirrored from Respond Systems web site. David and Martin Pipe quotes used with permission.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to
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