Bella Cavalli Farms

A Full Service Equestrian Facility - Santa Ynez Valley - Santa Barbara County, California

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Bella Cavalli Farms - Layup, Rehabilitation and Reconditioning Center

Bella Cavalli Farms, in the Santa Ynez Valley and just over the pass from Santa Barbara, has distinguished itself over the past several years as an equine training center and subsequently also became known as a premier location for its rest and recuperation facility. It has now evolved further into an Advanced Equine Layup center that maintains all of its former R & R features but also now sub-specializes in equine rehabilitation and reconditioning services.

Through the years it was observed by the staff at Bella Cavalli that a sizeable number of the horses sent to the ranch for simply a rest and a break in routine also had minor medical and injury problems with their extremities. Because of this and with excellent veterinary consultation close at hand, the ranch then acquired and now has available a number of equine physical therapy modalities for the treatment of these problems. Jeff Lockwood, owner of Bella Cavalli, however emphasizes the fact that…”no horse is ever given any type of treatment here unless pre-approved and authorized by either the horse’s owner or trainer.”

Paramount among the new therapy techniques is an AquaPacer Underwater Treadmill. The above-ground design, clear walk through doors and large side viewing panels allows observation of the horse’s natural movement while exercising on this treadmill. The water provides resistance for exercise and the fill and drain controls allow the creation of customized conditioning sessions by varying the depth and resistance of the water…and also permits various levels of weight bearing when this is a factor. In addition to its rehabilitation applications, the AquaPacer is the primary piece of equipment available for the reconditioning of the cardiovascular and muscular system of horses that have been away from their individual activities due to medical or other reasons for a period of time.

Cold treatments, cutting edge in equine therapy today, are provided by extremity and back wraps from Game Ready and Bio-Cryo that are inflatable and apply pressure as well as the cold temperature to problem areas. Where particular types of swelling in an extremity are an accompanying problem, a sequential type of compression wrap can be combined with the cold therapy to help drainage of the fluid from its distal location.

Also available at Bella Cavalli is a Thermotex Equine Therapy System that delivers controlled infrared heat to a horse through various blankets and leggings. This deep penetrating and relaxing method of heat transfer helps relieve muscle soreness, arthritis and various aches and pains and may be used as a pre-competition method to increase performance levels.

Ultrasound is now widely used for monitoring various soft tissue problems such as tendon and ligament injuries of the lower leg. For this reason, Bella Cavalli has now obtained an ultrasound unit that will examine these areas and has the capabililty to then transmit the images via internet to the horse’s veterinarians and trainers so they may stay informed of the animal’s progress in the treatment program and make therapy recommendations or changes when necessary.

And though not a machine or a modality, Bella Cavalli has recently completed its half mile training and conditioning track. It is a significant tool and is used extensively by the thoroughbreds that require conditioning but also affords an enjoyable change for the other breeds that require but often tire of workouts in their usual venues.

With the present additions, Bella Cavalli offers lay-ups, rehabilitation and reconditioning and complete R & R for a needed rest. Jeff Lockwood says: “With our size, we are able to offer a highly individualized and personal program for every horse on this ranch. Those receiving rehabilitation or reconditioning that are to be ridden have their progress assessed by qualified rider/trainers who monitor their actual response to therapy. And to wrap it all up,” he adds, “the real backbone of our program here at Bella Cavalli is our unsurpassed level of communication with the owners and trainers who obviously want to know what’s going on with their horses.”

Bella Cavalli Farms can be reached at (805) 688-7108.

Originally appeared in California Thoroughbred Magazine – September 2008

Bella Cavalli Farms' AquaPacer Underwater Treadmill allows observation of the horse’s natural movement while exercising.