Califonia Bountiful

A spa for horses?

Premier animals get premier care at this one-of-a-kind center.

Pat Grohl's family has been ranching since 1863 and, during that time, they've learned a thing or two about horses. His parents own a 6,500-acre working cattle ranch (cattle and horses) in Jamestown, between Sacramento and Fresno in California's Central Valley. Although Pat decided to stay in the family ranching business, he also wanted to specialize in treating injured horses—because experience had taught his family just how costly and ineffective an injured animal can be to its owner.

Experience had also taught the Grohls that getting good treatment for injured horses was often a hit-and-miss affair. So they began investigating how to get the best treatment for their four-legged friends. The result? A few miles from his family ranch, Pat created one of the most innovative healing and rehabilitation centers for horses in the U.S.A. That's right—it's a spa for horses that is one of a kind on the West Coast and is now attracting customers from Canada and throughout the United States.

Imagine a horse arriving at the Premier Equine Center in Jamestown. Within a short period of time, all four legs step into a specially created bathtub spa. The massaging jets are switched on and the ice-cold water, filled with Epsom and sea salts, circulates around the horse's legs. Trained veterinarians are standing by as the horse undergoes a 10-minute spa session, which can be used to treat inflammation or cuts in the lower part of the horse's leg, known as the hock. This cold salt hydrotherapy spa—found only at the Premier Equine Center—is used to treat a variety of ailments including tendonitis, shin splints and hoof injuries.

Treating injured horses is very important to Pat Grohl and Amie Allen, who run this unique center. Amie is a competitive horse rider and certified massage therapist, while Pat, who grew up on a ranch, was a competitive team roper and a college team-roping champion. On any given day, you can usually find them looking after about 25 "clients," giving five or six of them hands-on rehabilitation treatments and working closely with veterinarians to speed up the animals' recovery. The horses come from throughout California and as far away as Oklahoma and Washington.

Another piece of equipment at the horse rehabilitation center is an electromagnetic pulsing ring, called the P3 machine. It looks like a suitcase on wheels that is attached to a large electrical ring via a cord. Although it looks odd, this is actually a sophisticated piece of equipment designed to stimulate blood flow in an injured horse. Veterinarians pass it over the horse's back and legs and say it reduces pain and inflammation and stimulates the horse's muscles to speed up the healing process. It also relaxes the horse and makes it more comfortable.

All of the treatments are part of a bigger philosophy that Pat and his staff have—that horses deserve cutting-edge treatments when they become fatigued, sore or sick.

"We're not just a day spa where horses come to get pampered," Pat said. "We are treating horses with the best technology there is because they give us so much. They deserve the best."

Editor's note: The Premier Equine Center has recently expanded and moved from Jamestown to Oakdale.

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