Consider getting treatment for your horse if it displays any of the following signs:
Sore or cold back
Uneven pressure from the saddle
Unexplained resistance, such as napping, rearing, refusing or bucking
Asymmetry, such as stiffness on one rein or a disunited canter
Unexplained deterioration in usual performance
Shortened stride length
Uneven muscle development or atrophy
Dipping, flinching or violent tail swishing when grooming the back
Hollowing of the back
Inability to stand square
Uneven wear of shoes
Lameness where alternative causes have been ruled out
Absence of any resolution of a problem using conventional methods
Reoccurrence of symptoms previously successfully treated by chiropractic manipulation
A general check-up to make sure that your horse is well and performing as his/her best!
What causes these problems?
The main factor is that horses did not evolve to carry weights on their backs. Modern competition, particularly at a high level, places even greater strain on a horse’s body. Other factors include:
Falls or slips, such as off loading ramps or on a slippery yard
Badly fitting tack
Sore mouths caused by dental problems, which can affect the head carriage of the horse, placing strain on the neck and the rest of the spine
Lameness, which has forced the horse to place greater weight onto other parts of its body, causing secondary misalignments and areas of muscle tension
Poor foot balance
Pregnancy and labour place great strain on the musculoskeletal system and also make the ligaments more ‘elastic’, making misalignments much more common at this time. Pelvic misalignments in particular can make labour more difficult.
Birth trauma in foals, particularly during a difficult labour
The rider – those riders suffering from bad backs themselves will alter their posture in order to compensate for their pain. This will place uneven weight distribution through the saddle, forcing the horse to alter its own posture and gait. A well adjusted rider and horse make the world of difference to each other’s performance and comfort.
The treatment process:
1. A case history will be taken where as much detail as possible about the animal and its medical history will be gathered.
2. A static assessment will be made for conformational traits/abnormalities, symmetry of muscle development, signs of pain, heat and inflammation, symmetry of skeletal alignment.
3. A gait analysis will be done to assess any problems with movement.
4. Reporting of findings to owner.
5. Treatment of areas of tight muscle and restricted joints. Any misalignments found will then be treated using the McTimoney chiropractic method. This involves using specific high speed, low force adjustments. These stimulate the animal’s own body to realign the joint to its normal position and relieve any associated muscle spasm. The adjustments are very gentle and are well tolerated by most animals.
6. Aftercare advice is given. This usually includes rest for the next 24 to 48 hours. Some exercise and stretching regimes may be given and certain activities may need to be avoided. Over the next 24 hours your horse may feel stiff and tired as the body adjusts to the skeleton being in the correct position. Your horse may need further treatments depending on the severity and/or chronicity of the problem. Maintenance treatments may also be advised, particularly in working horses or those with long-term conditions.
Your veterinary surgeon will need to be made aware that your animal is having chiropractic treatment. This will be discussed when making an initial appointment.