October 25 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, February 27, 2014
In an average day, 24-year-old Sam Lidgley could be working in a stable, a kennel or on a treatment table.
He could be helping a top athlete with sports injuries, or massaging the strain of day-to-day aches and pains – and he also treats humans.
The graduate osteopath has turned a life-long passion for horses into a career repairing equine injuries, canine sprains and human muscle-and-bone problems,
And Mr Lidgley insists treating animals is no different from fixing humans.
“All mammals are made of the same things,” he said. “All the same techniques are applied and they respond in exactly the same way.”
But Mr Lidgley also practises more conventional osteopathy, at his new treatment centre in Holt, High Silver Clinic.
His family’s connection with horses dates back generations, as Mr Lidgley’s great-great-grandfather, George Burton, was head coachman and groom on two north Norfolk estates, Felbrigg and Gunton.
Mr Lidgley rode horses from age eight to 12, but took a break when he attended the City of Norwich School.
And at age 12, he became the youngest black belt in Europe when he achieved the grade in Korean marshall art Han Mu Do.
After boarding at Wymondham College and a brief spell as a chef in a Norwich restaurant, he discovered his vocation at the age of 19, when he became the youngest student to be accepted on an access course at the University of Bedfordshire: British School of Osteopathy.
The Princess Royal awarded Mr Lidgley his graduate diploma at Westminster’s Central Hall.
After completing four years of study, 1,000 hours of practical training and a 10-month diploma in equine osteopathy, he returned to Norfolk with his fiancée, Frances Wright, 24, to put down roots in Cromer and open a clinic.
Mr Lidgley said: “In a way I am quite excited that I am reunited with my equine heritage.
“Horses generally enjoy the treatment, although I have had a few love bites.
“They can sometimes be skittish to begin with – particularly race horses who are a bit uptight – and that is where you aim to try and calm them down or start very gently with the head.”
Mr Lidgley was able to launch his clinic in 2013 with a loan from the School for Startups’ Launcher programme – a government-backed finance initiative for 18 to 24 year olds.
He hopes to spend half his working week caring for horses and dogs and the other treating patients in his clinic, or during home visits.
Mr Lidgley and Miss Wright, who met in former club the Mustard Lounge in Norwich seven years ago, will be married in Sheringham on June 21.
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