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  • Writer's pictureTrish Hechter

The Thera- Tree®

All images are courtesy of Tad Coffin.

Many may be familiar with the Tad Coffin Performance Saddle; it has been available since the early 2000’s, I bought one of the early saddles. It was exquisite with a laminated wood tree, very high tech for the time. I sold my brand new Devoucoux saddle to be able to purchase this saddle!

Tad Coffin is not only the creator and maker of an exquisite saddle, he is an accomplished Olympic gold medal winner rider. He did not, and does not believe in resting on his laurels, either concerning his riding gifts nor his saddle making abilities. He pushes for excellence allowing the horses he is passionate about to enjoy the best lives possible.

Tad never stops learning and listening to the horses as they tell him what makes them comfortable.  Five lovely horses comprise his R & D department.  When the individual horses arrived in Tad’s barn they had the ability of being wonderful, though they were there because they presented major behavioral and/or soundness problems to their previous owners.  Due to Tad’s ability to listen, feel and observe the horses’ movements and telepathic conversations, he  makes adjustments in his saddle’s tree construction, shape, cutouts, and so much more.

As the years go by, Tad strives for improvements to the saddle he produces with a small number of “elves” in his workshop attached to his barn in Ruckersville, VA. All of these people are remarkable craftspeople.

He has enlisted the assistance from some notable veterinarians and scientists to continue understanding why and how the components of the tree he creates has health properties for not only the horse as it is ridden or standing waiting to be ridden, but to the rider in addition.

Currently the tree in the Coffin Performance SmartRide Rx

saddle is extremely high tech. It is made from a thermoformed acrylic alloy wrapped in carbon fiber tape. It has various shaped cutouts located in strategic locations to accomplish the most comfortable mobility, (24 axes of flexion!) for the horse. AND this technology produces some amazing added benefits! It produces far-infra red and electro-magnetic qualities that heal the horse (and rider) as the saddle is in use.

A Tad Coffin Saddle is not in everyone’s future. There are very few reasons a Thera-Tree® cannot be available for every horse.

The Thera-Tree® is a therapeutic device that is a miniature saddle tree wrapped in leather.  It sits on a fleece pad and is attached by a leather girth.  The horse may spend 20 minutes or many hours in this device without harm.  It can be placed on a horse that is wet or dry.  It can be placed over top of blankets.  The horse is able to lie down to sleep in it during the day and/or overnight.  It is not advised to turn the horse out with the Thera-Tree®.  I use it when I pony a horse at the walk. 

The Thera- Tree®

is available to lease. This allows it to be used for any amount of time an owner/trainer/vet feels it is beneficial then return it OR better yet continue using it. The lease allows Tad to exchange the devise when the technology improves. Also, if there is any damaged incurred it can be easily exchanged, no harm, no foul.

I often use it to warm the soft tissues of a horse before I perform Equine Hanna Somatics® or many of the other therapy techniques I use for horses who do not have access to Tad’s products. If the horse did not receive time with the Thera-Tree® prior to my working with him/her, I will place the Thera-Tree on after its session to keep the soft tissues relaxed a bit longer.

I use the Thera-Tree when trailering a horse who may become anxious to assist in a comfortable ride to our destination.

When horses wear the Thera-Tree® some of the responses they show are yawning, flopping ears, I affectionally call “Airplane ears”, eyelids lowering to “half-mast” with soft eyes, licking and chewing, perfuming the air, geldings drop their penis, breathing becomes deeper and slower, they are fidget less, their coats become softer and often a deeper color and extremely shiny. Not all horses respond the same way, some may exhibit a few of these response, all of them or none of them. Some responses happen instantly while others happen over minutes and continue once the device is removed for several hours.

I recommend the use of a Thera-Tree® for every horse who races or competes on all levels to maintain comfort and relaxation, especially when they have to be stalled anywhere other than home.

I firmly believe ALL horses, dogs, cats and humans ought to have the benefit of a Thera-Tree®.

One of the many beauties of the device is it does not have an on/off switch. This allows it to be used all of the time. I take it home in the evening and set it up with a two liter bottle of water in front of it. The bottle of water magnifies the distance of the electromagnetic field from 9 feet to about 15 feet. At bed time I move the bottle of water and the device to a cabinet near the foot of our bed allowing the benefits to be available to all in the bed, two humans and three dogs.

I know the dogs are receiving and enjoying benefit from the electromagnetic field, for the dogs all lay in a line in the middle of the bed, directly in line with the Thera-Tree®.

Besides the dogs lying in a line in direct alignment of the Thera-Tree®, they are much more relaxed and sleep peacefully through the night. When they go into a deep sleep, I am treated to a symphony of low snores that last most of the night. The deep sleep allows the dogs’ bodies to perform some natural healing be it emotional, mental or physical.

One reason dogs are “Man’s Best Friend” is because they assist in creating a safe place for their human to reside, be to alieviate/reduce stress or to keep away unwanted intrusions. This adds up on a body. Deep relaxation allows the body to fully release the energies from their bodies that do not belong to them and remain healthy.

When I am very tired and body sore , I lay it on my body as I sleep. I wake up feeling calm, happy, rested and pain free.

Horses, like dogs, are companion animals. Part of their job on Earth is to provide comfort and safety to their human. When negative energies build up in a body, any body, it becomes physical. This can become illness or injury.

One may say, “Oh my horse does not need this, he is perfectly healthy.” He may be, or he may have something brewing. Many behavioral complaints have nothing to do with being a bad animal. They have more to do with emotional/physical upset. Those animals, including humans, experience mysterious discomfort(s) that come and go will benefit from a device such as a Thera-Tree®.

Once the body is relaxed and properly balanced, either the mystery complaint disappears OR the root cause shows itself allowing for correct healing to occur via veterinary care, turnout, dietary change further rest, or a host of other options.

The lease fee is not only for the a device to assist one’s horse(s), it is also for yourself, children, spouses and house pets when not being used to benefit the equines.  Remember there is no off switch, the Thera-Tree® is constiently on, use it.

The following information is directly from

The Science Behind Thera-Tree® and SmartRideRx™

How It Works

We believe the Thera-Tree® emits a beneficial electromagnetic field in the far infrared (FIR) spectrum. This is due to the combination of its materials, manufacturing processes and geometry. Very small amounts of voltage are created by means of piezoelectric effect. The charge generated in the Thera-Tree® has been measured consistently in the 40-60 mv range with a Tektronix oscilloscope. This voltage is partially stored and re-radiated as a beneficial electromagnetic field, measuring about 9 cubic feet in size, extending above, below, front and back, and to the sides. The Thera-Tree® needs no wires, batteries, recharging, or magnets.

Why it Works

Far Infrared energy (FIR) is known to reduce inflammation, lessen pain and promote healing. Infrared light is part of the beneficial light spectrum the sun provides particularly at sunrise and twilight. It is also used worldwide for medical treatment applications. The health benefits cited in studies match up with those observed in horses who have been experiencing our SmartRide Rx and Thera-Tree® technology for the past 5 years: significant improvements in hydration, skin quality, muscle tone and recovery, joint flexibility, relaxation, digestive functioning, cardiovascular performance and lymphatic system circulation.

Infrared light creates zones of charge differential in water which drive critical cellular functions in the body. This energy is constantly being used and needs to be resupplied. When insufficient amounts of infrared are absorbed, intracellular water becomes less biologically available and dehydration occurs. The role of the Thera-Tree® is to provide an infrared energy source essential to recharging the “water battery” within the body. This additional energy is beneficial for overall metabolic wellness and aids healing.

See links below for human studies on FIR at Nasa and NCBI

Vatansever, F. & Hamblin, M. (2012). Far Infared Radiation (FIR): Its biological affects and medical implications. Photonics Laser Med., doi:10.1515/plm-2012-0034. Retrieved from

Now we know how and why the Thera-Tree works, why does a lucky horse get to wear it.

Once again from


For Therapy

  1. Alleviates back pain along the topline

  2. Reduces tightness and stiffness in muscles and joints

  3. Promotes wellness by optimizing cellular function

  4. Increases hydration

  5. Reduces digestive disorders

  6. Reduces inflammation

  7. Treats kissing spine – Thera-Tree® Therapy for Kissing Spine

For Performance

  1. Pre-ride use allows horses to begin their work limber, pain-free, relaxed, and focused

  2. Improves cardiovascular performance

  3. Helps to normalize sweat levels

  4. Reduces or eliminates “cold back”

For Recovery

  1. Post-ride use promotes cardiovascular & respiratory recovery

  2. Relieves muscle soreness & fatigue after exertion

For Relaxation

  1. Reduces anxiety and stress during farrier or veterinarian visits making a safer experience for horse and human

  2. Reduces stress, anxiety & tension during & after shipping, training, competing

  3. Promotes relaxation in horses that are stall bound or on restricted movement- like in a trailer

  4. Reduces stall walking

  5. Daily use creates happier horses

For Trailering

  1. Eases anxiety in transporting

  2. Smooths loading/unloading and general trailering experience

  3. Essential for frequent transports- keeps horses calm before competitions and lessons

Please visit for more information on saddles and the Thera-Tree®.

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