Animal Chiropractic | Chiropractic Care For Horses
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Chiropractic care for Horses

What Is Chiropractic Care For Horses?

The causes of joint restrictions in the horse can be broadly based around two categories. The first is the horse working around pain/discomfort, and the second is removing the horse from the freedom of its natural habitat/environment.

The tack on the horse needs to fit the horse as a shoe would fit your foot – it has to be comfortable and fitted properly. The saddle is Mankind’s “gift” to the horse of a lifetime of pain. Most saddles, in my opinion, don’t fit the horse properly, and if they do, the wrong fitting numnah makes the saddle float (move from side to side) which causes pressure points at the horse withers. The numnah needs to follow the contour of the horses back, so it has to be raised/elevated in front, and then taper down to a flat line. Thick numnahs take away the conformity of the saddle to fit the contour of the horses back, allowing a perfectly fitted saddle to shift as the horse is ridden, once again causing intense pain to the horse at the withers. Any other “gadget” pads lift the saddle from the horses back, causing a floating movement of the saddle. The exception is with sway-back horses, where an extra pad fills the sway, allowing the saddle to fit properly.

The pain from an ill-fitting saddle and numnah causes the horse to avoid/work around this painful area, altering the natural position of the skeleton, thus restricting joints. It goes without saying that a badly shod horse changes the angle of the feet which in turn changes the angles of the joints of the skeleton causing restrictions. Problems with the teeth alter the head carriage which affects the rest of the spine, and of course the wrong bit affects the jaw joint which has a knock-on effect down the rest of the spine.

The mistake I made going into the horse game, was going in with love and wanting what is best for the horse. What I was met with were horse owners who keep their horses in stables and small paddocks. This cruelty that the horse industry sees as normal broke me. We do what is best for us, not the horse. Limited land and limited grazing is to blame for this prison life of the horse in the urban jungle, and my argument here is that if you cannot do it properly, then don’t do it at all. The spiritual wellbeing of the horse is as important as the physical, and the reasoning behind this is mental happiness creates physical wellbeing.

When horses pull the grass from teff nets, they are using unnatural muscles in their neck, as their natural mode of eating is grazing from the ground. This creates muscle spasms in the neck leading to joint restrictions.

When you sit at the back of a truck and the driver slows down, the natural movement in your body is to drop the chin and bend the neck forwards. Now imagine being on the truck and facing the same direction as the truck is moving it i.e. not facing the back of the truck. When the driver slows down your head tilts backwards. This unnatural backward tilt, coupled with the horse trying to find its footing in the limited space of a moving horse-box does not go well with the soundness of the horses musculo-skeletal system. That is why they say the stress of a horse is reduced by 50% when it stands in a horse box facing the opposite direction in which the truck is been driven.

The diet of the horse, as with all of us, is vital. Inadequate nutrition affects the muscle fibers, causing a hardening, which leads to spasms, which pull on; restrict the joints of the vertebrae to which the muscles are attached.

Of course, how the horse is ridden has adverse effects, and most notably also at too young an age, and been worked too hard too often. (The sport of kings – cruel kings – is often to blame here.)