A PROMINENT racehorse trainer is launching a £500,000 extension of her business operation to provide “unique” equine rehabilitation services.

Ann Duffield, who has been training in Wensleydale for nearly 20 years, has established “Sport Horse Training and Rehabilitation” as a separate business after investing in specialised equipment and facilities.

Ann, President of the National Trainers Federation, will continue to train horses at picturesque Sun Hill Farm at Constable Burton but sees the rehabilitation business as a natural diversification.

The facilities include the region’s only equine cold salt water treadmill, which boosts core strength and fitness. It is also perfect for injured horses because it has low impact on joints and muscles.

The equine “health spa” at Sun Hill also includes:
•  A vibrating “Vitafloor, which increases and regenerates bone density as well as stimulating blood flow
• A solarium, using infra-red lights to penetrate and relax muscles
• An all-weather hill gallop
• A fibre-sand round canter
• And a six-horse walker

Ann runs Sun Hill with husband George, a former top jockey, who rode 3,000 winners and was awarded the MBE.

“We've invested in unique facilities which are ideal for the rehabilitation and preparation of horses from across the sporting range," said Ann.

“We reached a conclusion that we don’t want to be a big training yard – we want to train a relatively small number of horses so we have more time to focus on our owners and their horses.

“Having reached that decision, we now want to open up the facilities to a wider clientele as a rehabilitation centre. Working with vets and physiotherapists, it’s an exciting new angle on an existing business.”

One of four large barns at Sun Hill is completely separate from the main yard so the rehabilitation services can operate independently.

The new business is already attracting eventers, point to pointers, and dressage horses, along with horses whose vets have recommended the water treadmill as part of rehabilitation programme after surgery.

Ann has concentrated on Flat horses for several years but started out as a National Hunt trainer so she understands the challenge of training jumpers and the injuries they sustain. She sees the water treadmill as being perfect for getting jumpers well conditioned before joining their trainers or rehabilitating them when injured.

The rehabilitation facilities are part of a £1.5m investment at Sun Hill in recent years, with the Duffields also successfully entering the tourism market by building a cluster of luxury lodges with spectacular views over Wensleydale. Six lodges are already established and a further two are now being built, with the aim of them being ready for Easter.
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