The company “Equine Massage Maria Soroko – Equine Rehabilitation and Thermography School” was founded in 2008. The company is engaged in promotion of equine massage and the application of thermography in horses.
Throughout its fourteen – year history, the company has been associated with organizing and developing courses on equine massage in equestrian centers. Two-day courses introduce the basis of classic massage, covering theoretical and practical aspects of the horse skeletal and muscular system, physiological functioning of the muscles, saddle fitting issues and a sports massage session.
To date around 500 equine massage courses and workshops have been organized in a variety of equestrian centers and universities within Poland.
courses and workshops
original and review papers
The company also promotes the application of thermography in equine veterinary medicine and rehabilitation. The thermography is in practical use for detecting the impact of training and physiotherapy treatments (including massage) on the horse’s body. Thermography is also used in equine veterinary medicine. The company cooperates with veterinarians in horse diagnosis.
On the topic of equine thermography, 70 original and review papers have been published.
In January 2015 the company established cooperation with the Educational Training Center in developing and conducting professional equine physiotherapy courses.
The Professional Equine Physiotherapy course is designed for students wishing to build a career in the field of equine rehabilitation, but is also regularly attended by veterinarians, physical therapists, chiropractors, human massage therapists and equine massage body workers who would like to enhance their skills or continue their education within their profession.
After completing the course and required exams, students will be able to confidently apply a complete professional physiotherapy treatments and will obtain a certificate of completion of the course – a profession in accordance with the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 11.01.2012 in Poland.
In Poland, the profession of equine physiotherapist hasn’t been established and horse treatment can be performed by anyone, whereas in other European countries, America or Australia the profession is officially registered.
Certificate of completion of the course
The company also cooperates with the company Sassebi in promoting equine rehabilitation through organizing courses, conferences associated with equine physiology.
The company has co-operated with Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, the University of Technology and Life Sciences in Bydgoszcz, and the University of Life Sciences and University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn in conducting lectures and courses on equine rehabilitation and thermography for postgraduate and undergraduate veterinary and animal science students.
Currently the company Equine Massage – Maria Soroko promotes equine rehabilitation and thermography by:
• organizing workshops, courses, seminars and conferences;
• conducting research and publication of scientific and overview papers
• publishing books
• cooperating with equine rehabilitation centers, racing centers, equine clinics, riding centers and breeding centers, and sport riding centers.
Equine Massage invites equestrian centers and universities to cooperate in developing equine rehabilitation and thermography in science and practice by conducting common marketing activities, research studies, workshops, courses, seminars and conferences.
In 2014 the company established a research team, founded by: owner and director of the Equine Massage company Dr Maria Soroko, Dr Kevin Howell – Clinical Scientist in Microvascular Diagnostics and an Honorary Research Associate at the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK and Dr Krzysztof Dudek – researcher from the Institute of Machines Design and Operation, Technical University of Wroclaw, Poland.
The group has extensive experience of infrared thermography in the detection of:
• equine musculoskeletal injury,
• subclinical inflammation of racehorses,
• influence of training on the musculoskeletal system
• rehabilitation effects
The group has also expertise in the development of new thermographic techniques and quality assurance of thermal imaging for biomedical applications.
Our team can offer research expertise in:
• application of thermography in veterinary medicine, training and rehabilitation;
• procurement of thermographic equipment and advice on quality assurance;
• study design and statistical analysis of data.
Dr. Maria Soroko-Dubrovina
Dr. Maria Soroko – Dubrovina owner and director of the company “Equine Massage – Maria Soroko”, which offers equine rehabilitation and thermography services, professional courses and workshops associated with horse rehabilitation and the application of thermography in veterinary and sports medicine.
Maria gained her PhD in Agricultural Science with a specialisation in Animal Husbandry from the University of Environmental and Life Sciences of Wroclaw, Department of Horse Breeding and Equestrian Studies in 2013. The phd dissertation considered the effect of long-term training on racehorse body surface temperature, Her Masters degree in Equine Science was completed in 2010 at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Wales, United Kingdom.
Since 2008 the author has practiced thermography extensively in equine physiotherapy and in veterinary medicine, cooperating with veterinarians, horse breeders and trainers.
She is also Founder and chairperson of the Association of Animal Thermography, Wroclaw, Poland, which promotes the animal application of infrared thermography and its use both in clinical and experimental medicine.
Maria has many years of experience in equine physiotherapy, achieving qualifications as an Equine Body Worker in sport massage and remedial therapy. Maria is also a riding instructor at the British Horse Society. Her skills and experience were achieved both in Europe and Australia.
She conducts research on the application of thermography in sport and racing horses, authoring over 50 original publications and overview papers, also authoring a book monograph: M. Soroko Equine thermography in practice, published by Association of Sustainable Development, Wroclaw, Poland, 2014; M. Soroko, M. C.G. Davies Morel Equine Thermography in Practice, CABI; M. Soroko-Dubrovina, M. C.G. Davies Morel Equine Thermography in Practice 2nd Edition, CABI
Books and chapters
Soroko-Dubrovina M., Davies Morel M.C.G.: 2023. Equine Thermography in Practice 2nd edition, CABI, United Kingdom. ISBN 978-1800622890.
Soroko M.: 2017. Thermographic evaluation of racehorse performance. In: Innovative Research in Thermal Imaging for Biology and Medicine, Vardasca R., Mendes J.G. editors. IGI Global, pp. 264-286.
Soroko M., Davies – Morel M.C.G., Howell K.: 2016. The application of infrared thermography in equestrian sport. In: Application of Infrared Thermography in Sports Science, Quesada J. I. P., editor. Springer Verlag, pp. 265-296.
Soroko M., Davies Morel M.C.G.: 2016. Equine Thermography in Practice, CABI, United Kingdom. ISBN 13: 978 1 78064 787 6.
Soroko M.: 2014. Equine thermography in practice. Wroclaw, Association of Sustainable Development. In Polish, 105 pp., ISBN 978 83 939460 0 6.
„Equine Thermography in practice” is a compendium of the practical application of thermography in equine veterinary medicine and rehabilitation. Currently, thermography is one of the most modern and recognised diagnostic methods in the world. As it is a non-invasive method, its use is safe and consequently the popularity of equine thermography is increasing.
The intensive training of horses is associated with physical demands on the musculoskeletal system, contributing to frequent injuries. This leads to changes in blood circulation and thereby in body surface temperature.
The application of thermography can detect these changes in surface temperature and monitor injuries, diseases and overloads of the musculoskeletal system.
This book is the only available publication describing the practical application of thermography in horses. Numerous cases are presented, combining thermographic examination with the practical application of manual assessment of the horse used in equine physiotherapy.
Evidence-based and yet very practical, Equine Thermography in Practice discusses how to use the tool in the diagnosis of equine musculoskeletal injuries. It covers what the user can expect to see in normal versus injured horses, and gives guidelines for best practice. The book builds from basics covering the principles of thermography, then reviews its applications in equine veterinary medicine and the role of the technique regarding equestrian athletes and rehabilitation.
Fully updated throughout, this new edition:
– Updates knowledge on thermographic imaging technology, including available cameras on the market and the importance of specifying an appropriate imager for equine studies;
– Covers advances made in thermography applications for rehabilitation, such as assessing the effectiveness of physical devices like lasers, magnetic therapy, shock wave therapy and cryotherapy;
– Includes a wealth of new thermographic images to illustrate improvements in the technology.
Extensively illustrated and thoroughly referenced, this book is indispensable for both novice and experienced practitioners using the technique, including equine veterinarians, and equine physiotherapists and body work practitioners.
Review of the 1st Edition:
“An outstanding review of the literature relative to equine thermography… anyone interested in equine thermography needs to read this book”
(Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2017)
Thermography is as a non – invasive diagnostic imaging method detecting body surface temperature distribution. Thermography has found a broad range of applications in equine sport and veterinary medicine for:
1. enhancing clinical assessment of the horse;
2. identification of pathological conditions associated mainly with 3. inflammation processes of the distal parts of the limbs and back;
4. detection of subclinical signs of inflammation before the onset of clinical signs of pathology, providing great value in veterinary medicine
5. following-up to detect improvement and progression of healing processes;
6. assessing musculoskeletal stress caused by training;
7. monitoring changes of horse surface temperature during training (dynamic thermography);
8. determining welfare compliance in sport horses;
checking the saddle fit.
Procedures of preparation of the horse for thermographic examination:
Both internal and external factors have a significant effect on body surface temperature. Therefore thermographic measurement should be performed in a controlled environment and with a prepared horse.
The thermographic examination should be performed indoors, in areas sheltered from the sunlight, in the absence of air drafts (Palmer 1981; Turner 2001).
Blankets should be removed at least 30 minutes before thermographic examination, and any bandages should be removed at least two hours before imaging (Palmer 1981).
The temperature of the examination area should be cooler than body surface temperature, with the recommended ambient temperature maintained between 21°C to 26°C.
Imaging should be performed prior to exercise.
The recommended acclimatisation time for the horse prior to imaging is 20 minutes (Purohit 2009). However a longer period of equilibration will be required if a horse is transported from an extreme cold or hot environment.
The horse should not receive any physical therapy within 24 hours prior to the thermographic examination, and should not have acupuncture in the region of the examination during the previous week.
High humidity should be avoided.
Any systemic or topical medications should not be applied prior to imaging, and any residues should be washed off the previous day (Turner 1991).
The horse must have a clean, dry hair coat and skin and should be groomed at least one hour before the examination. Dry dirt can be brushed away approximately 10 minutes before scanning.
Anti – inflammatory medications, vasoactive drugs, regional and local blocks, sedation and tranquilisation should be avoided because of their effect on superficial perfusion (Purohit 2009).
The feet should be clean, picked out and brushed to remove external contamination.
Artifacts can be produced by any material on the body surface such as dirt, thick coat, scars and bands (Stromberg 1974; Palmer 1981).
Hair coat should be short, of uniform length, and lay flat against the skin to permit thermal conduction (Turner et al. 1983).
Full body imaging
For general assessment of the horse, veterinary diagnosis, pre-purchase examination with written report identifying 'areas of interest’. Images will include:
• Lateral aspect of the whole body from both sides;
• All four distal parts of limbs from dorsal, palmar/plantar, lateral and medial aspects;
• The lateral upper part of the thoracic and pelvic areas, and also the lateral aspect of the neck, head and trunk from both sides;
• Back (thoracic and lumbar vertebrae) from dorsal aspect;
• Pelvis area (sacral vertebrae) from dorsal aspect.
The same examination can be repeated after work.
Checking the saddle fit
Images taken will include pre and post views of the back and an image of the saddle pommels post work with written report.
’Area of Interest’
Images taken will include parts of the body, for example to assess injury healing or rehabilitation effects.