A ray of light shines through an oversized sliding door in a large indoor training facility at Bent Tree Farm in Shawsville, where owner Karen Waldron leads Famous V, as the Dutch Harness horse prances with a frisky attitude, legs gracefully lifting high with a bend at the knee.
Trainer Micah Geary leads another handsome Dutch Harness horse, Dakota, through the waxed sand, a soft bedding that skirts the barn floors, into a stall for his scheduled therapy session with Linda Bailey.
Bailey holds a remote device with glowing red LED transmitters. The probes are connected to a black box with a variety of settings. Sounds and numbers provide the physical readings to heat as an indicator of inflammation. Bailey, at 5-foot-1, uses a step stool to reach a spot on Dakota’s back. The horse stands still.
The second horse being treated with what’s called photobiomodulation therapy on this particular day is the stallion, Famous V. He’s accompanied by Canadian trainer Kim Studholme.
“I can tell a difference in his personality and expression when he feels good,” Studholme said. As she caressed his face, Famous V leans into the practitioner, Bailey, as she applies the laser.
According to Waldron, the stallion was in pain. “We saw, via an ultrasound, inflammation behind his knees and he had injections, but non-invasive methods are a better route to go,” Waldron said. “The horses can’t tell you how they feel, but show you through their body language.”