Helping Horses: Cold Salt Water Spa Employed At Santa Anita Park

With equine medicine more readily embracing holistic treatments and procedures, Tyler Cerin, 31, son of veteran conditioner Vladimir Cerin, is treating dozens of horses per week at Santa Anita with a Jacuzzi-like machine called an Equine Spa, which employs ice-cold salt water.

“It’s made in England and we use it as preventative maintenance and also to treat soft tissue that may have become stressed or inflamed,” said Cerin, who has treated horses nationwide as a highly sought-after Equine Massage Therapist. “With each horse, we school them first in order to get them comfortable, because they’re going to be standing in a confined space when treated.

“So, we walk each one through and then we stand them, similar to what you would do with a horse who was just getting familiarized with the starting gate. With some horses, if we see they’re getting stressed, we stop the process and bring them back in a day or two to make sure they’re comfortable with it.”

Once each horse is secured in the spa, the process of loading the salt water is initiated.

“It takes five minutes to get the water up over their knees and above their hocks,” said Cerin. “The water temperature is very consistent, at about 35 to 36 degrees, so we don’t want the level to get any higher, because if their belly was submerged, it’s pretty cold for them just to be standing there.

“Once the water has reached the proper level, we turn on the jets and it’s very similar to a human sitting in a Jacuzzi. It’s very soothing for the horses and once the water is circulating, this process lasts no longer than 10 minutes. So, with another five minutes required to drain the water, each horse is in and out within 20 minutes, maximum.”

When asked by XBTV’s Zoe Cadman if he’d ever been in the Equi-Spa himself, Cerin replied, “Yes, anything I do with the horses, I try it myself first…For me, it’s a blessing working as a team with each trainer and their staff as we try to help each of these horses reach their maximum potential.”

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