John Christensen has teamed with Churchill Downs to install an equine hydrotherapy spa product and service at the Churchill Downs Trackside Training Center on Poplar Level Road in Louisville.
The machine, which is expected to be up and running by July 3, will be available for use by any horses on the grounds of the facility for a fee. However, treatments will be offered at no charge from July 3-21.
A resident of LaGrange, Ky., Christensen owns Honor Roll Racing, a company that purchases horses and hosts partnership opportunities.
After presenting a detailed business plan and reviewing a survey given to local trainers, Christensen signed an agreement with Churchill to set up the ECB Equine Spa, which he said is the first of its kind in Kentucky.
The fiberglass unit is already in use at Delta Downs in Louisiana, where it was installed last January. Created by an Australian scientist, the product was first utilized in England and Ireland.
According to Christensen’s proposal, the self-contained cold water equine hydrotherapy spa combines the massaging, drawing, and penetrating healing effects of circulated cold water, therapeutic salts, and increased oxygen.
The drug-free therapy induces a rush of blood and circulation that otherwise would not be present, and Christensen believes it could be effective in treating and expediting the healing of many common racehorse injuries.
“I’m glad to have the opportunity to provide Churchill with this kind of service,” said Christensen. “I think it’s something that’s greatly needed.”
Christensen said the hydrotherapy spa treatment could speed the healing process for a variety of lower leg issues, such as soft tissue injuries, cuts and abrasions, and even laminitis symptoms.
Furthermore, preventative use consisting of treatments pre- and post-race and up to once per week during intense training has also been shown to reduce the incidence of common injuries, he added.
“We’re always looking for ways to increase the health and welfare of our horse population, and we’re hopeful that this is going to be a very positive addition to our backside,” said Jim Gates, general manager of Churchill Downs. “It’s a pretty interesting idea, and something we’re happy to working with John on.”