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Henk was born in 1972 and raised in the surroundings of his father’s Equine Clinic in the Netherlands. Growing up in an era in which Equine Sport Medicine was developing has laid the foundation of Henk’s approach towards the Equine Athlete. Henk’s father, Evert was a leading Olympic veterinarian always on the lookout for the newest and best in Equine care. The combination of an inherited drive for progression and “thinking outside the box” together with transferred knowledge of his father, laid the foundation for an impressive arsenal or diagnosis and treatment options.
After graduating with honours from the University in Utrecht, The Netherlands, Henk became a partner in an equine clinic in the South of Holland. This location allowed him to build experience in the area of Aachen, North Belgium and Holland. Partly as a life style decision as much as a business opportunity, Henk and his family moved to Ireland where he started a clinic and has built an impressive amount of national and international clients. Henk is now a world leading equine sports veterinarian and over the last 2 decades he has gained years of experience manging horses in all disciplines and levels.
What is Veterinary Performance Medicine?
Henk believes that the inherently generous nature of the horse demands that owners do their part to physically support and maintain their equine athletes so that they are able to enjoy and perform to their highest possible ability. With the amount of assistance that we grant human athletes, it is almost unthinkable that we are reluctant to do the same for our horses, especially when there is so much available not only to rehabilitate them, but to act preventatively to avoid injury in the first place, keeping them happier for longer. In a game where champions can lose by a nose, and disappear from the leader’s board with a time fault, can you afford to not give your horse the best of the best to do his job?
The combination of working at the high end of both the elite Dutch sport horse industry and the leading thoroughbred industry in Ireland for the last 20 years has given Henk a huge wealth of experience in all aspects of equine sport medicine, forging a passion that he continues to explore and share.
In 2016 Henk started Equine Athlete International as a platform for the total management for equine athletes worldwide. He also started Equinetendon.com to be able to offer worldwide tendon and soft tissue management services. This company currently has offices in Ireland, the UK, The Netherlands, South Africa, Canada and will expand in the coming years worldwide.
Henk is the dedicated and specialised performance veterinarian of many well known trainers, owners and sporthorse teams around the world. His balance approach and extensive experience in regenerative medicine gives his clients a constructive and proactive range of services. Having access to the newest and most advanced medicine and technology such as the ground-breaking UTC tendon diagnostic system, and extensive experience in managing equine athletes from Europe to Australia, Henk is a very good choice for fine-tuning the veterinary portfolio of your specialist equine athlete.
Every consult starts with an intake regarding (medical) history of the horse and then Henk will asses the horse. This includes:
- Physical examination in rest
- Examination and palpation of the whole body, paying special attention to muscle tone, muscle balance, swelling, tendons, ligament and possible pain
- Test for range of motion and mobility of areas like the neck, back, sacroiliac, pelvic tilt, etc.
- Assessment for limitations in range ofmotion of limbs, balance in the body, posture, head carrying, use of lower back and general athletic impression
- Possible additional ultrasound of possible affected areas, Ultrasound Tissue Characterisation scans, blood samples and x-rays.
Results & Advice
The overall aim both types of assessment is to establish if there is anything that could limit performance, establish possible weaknesses, diagnose injuries and/or problems and eventually judge the horses current athletic ability. Modern competition schedules leave very little room for “fixing”, so our intention is to try to be ahead of injuries and avoid missed training / competitions days by being proactive and ahead of problems. In that light Henk often advises treatments, shoeing adjustments, change of diets, change of training, etc to interfere with processes that will only at a later stage might present as a clinical issue.