Shining a Light: Infrared therapy

From backyard horses to USEF Horse of the Year Neville Bardos, deborah leMay of Non-Invasive Equine Therapy is helping horses feel better with the use of infrared light technology.

From deborah:


What more can I say? So much is in that word for me–the downtown full of horses, Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, polo ponies and eventers, angel oaks and wisteria. Traffic lights with a button up high so horses can cross Whiskey road… and find their way to a special land among the trees in Hitchcock wood, where horsedrawn carriages are promised a well maintained passage. It is a land of old money and sleepy time, public and private events steeped in tradition. And always, always the baying of the hounds leading the way for horse and rider to follow.

I  begged, borrowed and painted an “Aiken or Bust” sign on my trailer. It worked. I made it to Aiken, South Carolina for the winter, hauling my horse and kept company by my dog. Dreams do come true.

Hi! My name is debora leMay (yes, a small d), owner of Non-Invasive Equine Therapy, a small business operation with the simple mission statement–find sore horses and help them heal.

I have an instrument at my disposal, a newfangled technology, that can give the horse a voice. Every animal–horses, dogs, even people–has this natural electric wall protecting the body. When that wall is broken, either by injury in that site or by an acupoint being triggered, the rake-shaped tool I use can find it. This rake emits a micro electric current (you can’t even feel it!) and when it finds the breaks in the wall I spoke of, a beeping sound is made. Then the artist in me gets to take a water crayon (you pick the color–but I like the blue best) and I make dots all over the horse where I hear that beep. When I have finished, you can see interesting patterns. Sometimes the shape of a saddle (ouch) or a cinch line on the girth, acupoint lines that curve all over, a shoulder defined or a stifle, knee, soft tissue… anything. Everything. But it doesn’t stop there.

Thirty years ago at a thoroughbred racetrack in New Jersey, I discovered, to my greatest joy, something called “infra red light.” This light has the ability to tell the body to do wonderful things: produce endorphins to lower pain, increase white cell production to help an injury heal, speed up and improve everything the body is miraculously capable of achieving. I found out way back then that with infra red light you could heal in one month what would normally take three. And encourage the body to do it better than it would on its own. Wow. I fell in love. I took one of those instruments (which I mortgaged my life to buy) and went to work. Horses got better. It was fun. People were happy.

Fast forward to now. I use infra red to heal all those sore spots we find. All those colored dots. Every one of them. The technology is vastly superior to what it was 30 years ago. People get happy. Horses get better. At only $75 for a two-hour workup, it’s affordable for the bartender at a local Aiken restaurant to scan and heal her two backyard horses she never has time to ride. Or for a trainer of harness horses at the historic McGhee’s Mile track to gain a competitive edge by making sure her horses are the best they can be. Even the eventing miracle horse and USEF Horse of the Year, Neville Bardoes, who survived a horrendous barn fire thanks to the heroic efforts of his trainer Boyd Martin and friends, gains an advantage on his road to the Olympics.

An infra red light therapy session with Neville Bardos.

I can tell you about all the horses I’ve worked on in Maine, the stoic old horse who refused to be treated on his legs at first, until he learned that it was a good thing for his arthritis. The chestnut mare who went from being competitive in her sport to being a bucking, rearing danger… until the rake pin pinpointed her stifle and with treatment she returned to her old self. So many stories, so many horses.

It’s like Aurthur C. Clark, a man of vision said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

This work is magic.

I’ll be saying goodbye to Aiken until next season in a few short days, returning to my small farm in Maine. Yet the road beckons, the horses call, and I will do the work I am meant to do.
It’s still fun.

debora will be attending major three-day events on the east coast and making farm calls throughout the year. To learn more her services, visit

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