Dr. Sandra Blackwood DVM. - 719-495-1039 - firstname.lastname@example.org
How does chiropractic help my horse and why does my horse need it?
Nearly all horses can benefit from the optimized health and balance of the body achieved through good body work. Chiropractic can be used to prevent problems and enhance your horses symmetry and comfort. Many problems have to be quite severe for a horse to show obvious pain. Ideally, it is better to treat problems before they become advanced enough to cause obvious problems.
There are many common factors, such as stall confinement, riding equipment, ability and symmetry of the rider (many of us have had our own past injuries!), trauma (especially slips or falls), conformation faults, and inherent wear and tear that results in abnormal or limited movement within the spine. Although horses can and do carry us, their back is not really designed for the weight of a rider. Nor do they perform many of the movements we ask of them naturally and repeatibly if left to their own devices.
The most common symptoms of body pain are compensatory changes in gait, posture, and performance. These changes stress other muscles and joints. Common symptoms include:
Decrease in level of performance
Difficulty bending on one direction
Behavioral changes - grumpy behavior, spookiness, moving away when saddled, cinchiness, sensitivity when grooming, bucking, refusing jumps
Difficulty or reluctance in one direction
Loss of ability to collect
Cross cantering or difficulty picking up one lead
Muscle imbalance, spasms, or atrophy
Saddle consistently shifting to one side
Tilting at the poll when bending the neck
Flexion of the back is important for a good sliding stop
How can an animal as large as a horse be adjusted?
It is important to remember that adjustments are specific to a single joint within the spine. The entire horse is not being adjusted at one time. The force required to adjust a joint within the spine is no greater than that needed to manipulate a fetlock. Excessive force is not needed. Just as overextension of the fetlock can result in arthritis, excessive force can result severe damage to the joints of the spine.
Engagement of the hindquarters requires a healthy back
How many treatments will my horse need?
The answer depends on the severity of your horse's problems and his or her level of performance as well as an owner's commitment to home therapy. Long-standing problems usually require more treatments than acute problems. Young horses tend to recover flexibility faster than older horses. A specific treatment schedule cannot be outlined without evaluating the individual horse. Specific exercises and physical therapy are often prescribed for the owner to perform at home. Often, these exercises significantly decrease the need for repeated re-adjustments.