Holistic Approach to Equine Health

Tony's Training Philosophy

Tony Parker’s holistic training approach stems from his hands-on experience with horses and a philosophy that the individual components of a horse (physical, biological, chemical, social and psychological) should be viewed as a 'whole' and trained accordingly.

Physical:  Structural soundness is the starting point; the key to the way a horse moves, breathes and carries itself. When taking the first steps down the path to becoming a racehorse, horses may suffer trauma to their bodies which can go unnoticed by the untrained eye.

When watching a horse walk out, an equine professional like Tony Parker, can recognise the danger signs of potential structural (skeletal and muscular) injuries. Tony's attention to detail and expertise in administering veterinary medicines, ensures that horses in Tony’s care compete at their highest level of fitness. At Tony's request, Bowen therapist Christian Langeder is on call for Tony's horses, to assess the physical health of the horses and provide treatment as required. Bowen therapy is a light, soft tissue manipulative technique. Practitioners say it promotes healing and pain relief by addressing the whole nervous system, releasing muscle spasm.

Biological:  A well-balanced diet is crucial to the health and fitness of a racehorse. Tony sources his feed from the best feed suppliers on the Bellarine Peninsula and feeds three times a day to promote a healthy metabolism. The temperature of each horse is taken regularly to ensure there has been no exposure to infection.

Chemical:  Blood samples are taken at intervals in the training program and sent for analysis to ensure that the horse is getting all the right trace elements and minerals. Tony wants his horses fit enough to perform at their highest level on race day and his feeding of supplements to his horses ensures they can minimise lactic acid build-up and enjoy the right quantity of amino acids to boost muscle integrity.

Social:  Set on close to 4 hectares (10 acres), Tony Parker’s purpose-built facilities at Wallington allow each horse freedom in its own private paddock. The paddock design offers high visibility from Tony’s office and horses are in paddocks close to their own gender – ensuring that mares are not exposed to the challenges presented by colts and geldings.

Psychological:  Tony Parker is aware that the space between a horse's ears must be in the ‘right place’ for a horse to be race competitive. The mental state of each horse is important at Tony Parker Racing. Toys such as balls, wobble boards and bells are provided when a horse is boxed, to ensure that the animal’s mind is always occupied.

Variety in work is a key to Tony’s success with his horses. Many trainers follow the same work routine for a horse - day in, day out. Monotony can cause a horse to sour and turn off racing altogether. Tony chooses to employ a variety of work, based on the individual needs of the horse, every day. Work one day might involve wading in the shallows at Thirteenth Beach; the next day it might be working on the sand; another day it might be jumping low jumps; and another it might be track work. One thing is for certain, with Tony Parker Racing your horse won’t get bored!