Chiropractic care for Horses

I have been fortunate enough to be around horses for most of my life; just being in the company of a horse can’t easily be put into words, as I am sure you will agree (at the Horse of the Year Show as a young girl I remember being so moved by the poem ‘The Horse’, that I have set it out below) . I always knew that I would, one day, work with horses so that I could learn to understand the horse better and help build relationships of true equality between us.   After ten years of working with only humans and further post-graduate study, I am thrilled to be able to offer chiropractic care for horses and riders as a Veterinary Animal Chiropractor.

“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom” – Sharon Ralls Lemon

Horses rely upon our ability to be patient, to observe, to listen and to stand back and try to make sense of their behavioural changes, as these may indicate health concerns, such as:

  • Pain and stiffness when touched or during movement
  • Mood and behavioural changes
  • Bucking
  • Difficulty in collection or flexing through the poll
  • Postural changes
  • Shortened strides or stiff gain
  • lameness …. and more

We know that horses are simply expressing changes in movement, behaviour or energy because something is not right.  If you notice any changes in your horse, it may be that animal chiropractic could help.  If in doubt, always contact your Vet first.  Animal chiropractic is not an alternative treatment but rather, an integrative method which, when used in conjunction with traditional veterinary care, can help to provide an effective way of restoring well-being to your horse.

General Wellbeing

Horse-lovers that we are, through and through, we constantly strive to help improve their lives and health.

Animal Chiropractic is a field of animal health care which focuses on the maintenance of the musculoskeletal and nervous system.  The nervous system is in control of everything and therefore anything which affects this may have a knock-on effect; for example, if the movement of vertebrae become dysfunctional, this could lead to changes in mobility which can lead to stiffness and tension and pain.

Whether your horse is a young, newly backed horse, a performance athlete, a happy hacker or a geriatric, we will do what we can to help maintain and improve the movement and biomechanics of the spine and extremities with the aim of restoring mobility and freedom of movement.

‘The Horse’ – Ronald Ducan

“Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride, friendship without envy, or beauty without vanity?

Here where grace is laced with muscle and strength by gentleness confined.

___

He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent;
there is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.
___

England’s past has been borne on his back.
All our history is in his industry.
We are his heirs;
He is our inheritance.”

Performance And Endurance

Horses are such versatile animals and this means we can ask a lot of them.  It is for this same reason that, as a child, I first became interested in chiropractic, as my Dad always ensured my ponies were ‘checked’.  Then, as an adult, competing with Louie, my warmblood horse, again, I saw it as an essential part of his care, before I even went on to train as a chiropractor.  To achieve top performance, the horse will need to be in the best possible health.  It might be that inefficiencies in your horse’s biomechanics could lead to minor injuries which may not be detected by the naked eye or even on an x-ray.  The chiropractic examination may find related or causative joint ‘dysfunction’ or restricted motion in these cases.

In addition, we may recommend a:

  • Rider analysis

If you do not have a usual professional to assess this, we recommend a ‘screen’ or analysis, so that we can uncover if and where there may be any contributing towards your horse’s dysfunctional pattern.

Post-injury And Recovery

For all our horses, whatever the complaint or issue, we will begin by obtaining your veterinarian’s consent and then a thorough and detailed case history from you, the owner, including details of any previous investigative imaging (such as x-rays) and previous diagnoses and therapies, if applicable.

Once we have a musculoskeletal diagnosis after this full analysis and examination has been carried out, we can determine what chiropractic ‘adjustments’ and treatment (as this may include rehabilitative exercises, soft tissue work or laser treatment) your horse may benefit from.  After an injury, your horse may well have used various compensatory movements to offload a limb, avoid the pain and this examination will, therefore, be of your horse’s entire structure, including all four limbs.

What to Expect from a Chiropractic Consultation

For all our horses, whatever the complaint or issue, we will begin by obtaining your veterinarian’s consent and then a thorough and detailed case history from you, the owner, including details of any previous investigative imaging (such as x-rays) and previous diagnoses and therapies, if applicable. Following the history, as part of an equine assessment we aim to perform a:

  • Static Assessment (standing/at rest), and
  • Dynamic Assessment (walk, trot, canter and ideally, when ridden)

Once we have a musculoskeletal diagnosis after this full analysis and examination has been carried out, we can determine what chiropractic ‘adjustments’ and treatment (as this may include rehabilitative exercises, soft tissue work or laser treatment) your horse may benefit from.  After an injury, your horse may well have used various compensatory movements to offload the area of pain and so a global examination will be carried out.  We may also recommend a:

  • Rider Assessment (where indicated)

We feel it paramount to work with your team of existing healthcare providers and associated professionals, including your usual vet, farrier, saddle-fitter etc, as together we will be able to make the biggest difference to you and horse’s comfort and performance.

Experienced Hands…

Louie and I go back to way before I became a chiropractor. This horse has been an education, especially since he was my main impetus for heading to study for five years at Uni in Bournemouth!  From that momentous day, he gained a second ‘Mum’ when he went to live at a close friend’s yard, where he has lived the life of Riley ever since. Now, more recently he has become a patient of mine.  He loved chiropractic care way back then when he was an athlete and continues to enjoy it today as a glorious geriatric horse, ageing gracefully… with no front teeth.

Get in touch

If you would like your horse looking at or perhaps would like to know more about what we do then do please get in touch!

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