How do you know if my horse needs a chiropractor?
There are a number of things to look for which could indicate that your horse has a problem that chiropractic care can help.
Some of these include:
Decrease in level of performance, laziness
Problems or difficulty executing desired movements
Behavioural changes (refusals, bucking, head shy)
Head carriage issues or fighting the bit
Short striding, uneven strides, toe dragging, stumbling, forging and uneven shoe wear
Muscle imbalance, spasms or atrophy
Abnormal posture when standing, standing with hips uneven, choosing to stand
on uneven ground, not squaring up when urinating, holding tail to one side
Gait problems, such as counter-canter, loss of collection, refusal to take a lead
Injuries from falls, training or other activities
Stressful situations such as poor conformation of the horse, various riding and training equipment, performance level and ability of the horse, shoeing
Chronic disease conditions, multiple repetitive infections, weak immune system
Q1. How can an animal as large as a horse be adjusted ?
To answer this, it is important to remember that the entire horse isn't being adjusted, but rather a specific joint in the skeleton.
Traditionally horses would have lived on the open plains, constantly on the move, always grazing therefore always with their heads lowered. The main form of locomotion is the walk or trot, only using gallop as a method of fleeing predators, or in play. In domestication, humans have forced confinement in the stable or in the small paddock on to these horses, curtailing the ability to graze little and often, and only feeding them at mealtimes. We then expect these animals to perform a specific task, carry a rider, and perform to the best of their ability. All these factors reduce the desired optimal performance that we require from our animals.
Abnormal weight bearing and altered gait can subsequently overwork or injure associated back muscles.
Back injuries can result in increased forces to the joints, resulting in lameness, or gait alterations in the feet and legs, as the animal tries to protect its sore back. Unless the primary cause of the back pain is identified and treated, most horses will have recurring back pain when returned to work after a period of medication and or rest.
Q2. IS PREVENTION BETTER THAN CURE??
Absolutely! Rehabilitation and injury prevention is a key aspect of our work with animals. Riders are very aware that their horses should undergo a full fitness programme before commencing competitive work, but we also consider this for our dogs as well.