Chiropractic on your Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-03-2010, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Chiropractic on your Horse

I have recently thought about having Thunder looked at before I get his new saddle, plus the fact that he was off for 3 weeks, which we are pretty sure was a growth spurt now because he's fine. However, I am interested to know if you have had chiro or acupuncture work done on your horse, how it went, if you have to continue to have it done, maybe why you got it done, if it was effective. My only concern is I don't want to "create" a problem by getting him adjusted if he doesn't need it.... although I know if I had a good Doc then that wouldn't happen. I'm just a worry wart of a mom lol
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-03-2010, 06:13 PM
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The chances of becoming worse after an adjustment are slim. They won't come in and move things around that don't need moving. o_O

I had my mare looked at a month ago for the first time. She is 18, and I decided to do it for a number reasons. First being to learn a little more about my saddle fit and to see if it was doing any harm. She also had a few quirks; she had a bump in the small of her back, and she would twist a foot out when she moved. I just wanted to know what was up with that.

I think the whole thing was great. My chiropractor was a veterinarian [that's something to make sure of, get a vet who does chiro] and she explained everything to me, and I really learned a lot about not just the horse's skeletal system, but my horse's skeletal system.

Chiropractic in horses is the same as chiropractic in people. Except it's on a horse. They won't align him if he doesn't need to be aligned. Chances are they will manipulate a few things, because no body is perfectly aligned, but it may not be much, and may not even need a second chiro. Although the vet will want to do a follow-up and then make a schedule based on how your horse holds the adjustments. My vet told me that some horses need it monthly, and others can go years.

EDIT: Just caught on to the growth spurt part. How old is your horse? I would ask your vet about what age is acceptable for starting a horse on chiro work. Something just seems weird about adjusting, say, a 5 year old child, you know what I mean? I'm not sure, that's something you'll have to ask about. It just seems to me that they shouldn't be adjusted until they are fully grown and mature.

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Last edited by riccil0ve; 04-03-2010 at 06:16 PM.
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-03-2010, 10:35 PM
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I get Nelson's back done when he needs it. I do the carrot stretches with him, and my Chiro said that if your horse cannot touch near his flank with his nose then he's out somewhere. So when Nelson cannot stretch or reach, then I call her out to do an adjustment.

OR everytime when I handle him. Grooming, before a ride, after a ride - I will massage his muscles along his topline, head, poll, jaws, hips and if I get any reaction of stress, pain, resistance - I call my chiro out.

I have had Nelson, so bad - to the point where you could not touch his back without him collapsing in paid, it was that bad. And after 1 chiro session, he was a completley different horse. I would watch his reaction to the process - and instead of pain, he showed relief through deep breaths, smacking lips and hanging his head low.

Our Equine partners need it - just as we do with ours.

I highly recommend it my dear :) My Chiro has done nothing but wonders for Nelson!

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post #4 of 13 Old 04-03-2010, 10:49 PM
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I avoid things like chiropractors whenever possible..if your horse isn't showing discomfort I wouldn't do it.
He probably won't know his back is not in perfect alignment until he learns how it feels to have it aligned. It's a sad way to see it, but it's true for both horses and people.

I've experienced this firsthand..I had a major muscle injury in my back and someone talked me into seeing a chiropractor as a last resort. I started going all the time and getting my whole back straightened and after the initial horrible pain (it really is awful) it didn't really help with the problem I was having but the rest of it DID feel great..and I felt like I could move better than ever. But I had to go all the time because it naturally keeps returning back to normal, and I can't afford the time and money it requires to see a chiropractor all the time if it isn't helping with my problems..So I stopped going. Now my injury has finally recovered but I'm STILL adjusting to it being back in its original position and I'm unsure if it will ever feel normal again. I now know what a huge mistake it was to go in the first back was made this way, so this way it should stay unless there is something horribly wrong with it.

BUT, my current horse does see a chiropractor just because in the past someone else had him see one and now it has to be in line because it causes him pain when it goes "out" (back to normal) and he makes it very clear that he doesn't really appreciate being ridden in that state..and I don't exactly blame him, knowing how it feels.

Unless your horse is showing discomfort or you just can afford to spend the extra time and money and commit to it forever..I wouldn't advise it.

Last edited by rocky pony; 04-03-2010 at 10:52 PM.
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-04-2010, 12:15 PM
Green Broke
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I use a vet who does chiropractic and accupuncture work. She's very good and there is always improvement in the horses after she's done. She's also honest and will let you know really how often treatments are needed. I have two horses that she hasn't treated in two years, because thet just haven't needed it! (they're light riding horses with well fitting saddles)
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-13-2010, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys for the info! Thunder turned 4 this month. The vet seemed ok with it, says that sometimes they adjust the foals because they get messed up coming out of the birth canal. I can tell he's still off, we used to be able to do the stretches to the flank and now he just keeps going in circles and has a hard time keeping his head in that stretch.

I'll post when we have our appt. it was moved to the 24th.
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-15-2010, 12:11 AM
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a good chiro can be a godsend. i've had great results with mine for all of my horses and i've found that the more i keep them in consistent work, the better they do and the less they need to be adjusted b/c if they are in good shape then their muscles help keep their bones in line. i've also found my one horse that throws his back out all the time (he's insane in the field playing and running all the time) that if a do a good regimen of proper longing, he can often work through in a few weeks w/o a chiro - which means it's more muscular pulling the bones out rather than the other way around. sometimes though he doesn't improve in a few weeks, and then i know it's the underlying issue and def get the chiro out.

also make sure that the saddle you are getting fits both the horse and you otherwise the chrio visit won't do much good! good luck to you!

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post #8 of 13 Old 04-15-2010, 12:39 AM
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Equine chiropractic therapy can be a tremendous help to those horses who need it. I am a bit biased in my opinion however, so the advice I would give is to find a veterinarian who is a certified chiropractor. Certification requires much more than a weekend course that many "equine chiropractors" take, and certification is limited to veterinarians or human chiropractors.

The benefits of utilizing a veterinarian who is certified in chiropractic medicine, is that they know chiropractic manipulations are not a cure all. They will utilize traditional medicine and treatments in conjunction with chiropractic and/or acupuncture therapy to best treat your horse.

Most veterinary chiropractors are also very adept in helping with saddle fit, as it can be a major factor in back soreness. I hope this helps.
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-15-2010, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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That's a great help thank you! I am actually looking forward to it now to see what they can do to make him more comfortable :)... or maybe he wont even need it :P.

I almost went with a chiro that wasn't certified, until my cuz in law informed me otherwise. I am so glad I am going to a vet/chiro that is certified...let's me rest thinking he'll be taken care of.

Thanks for all the very helpful info!
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-15-2010, 01:52 AM
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My sister has an Appendix gelding who suffers with back issues. It's only noticeable at the canter - hind moves completely different than the front, but not disconnected or crossfiring. One vet thought it was OCD, but xrays were clean and so was the flexion tests. Vet put pressure on his back and the horse buckled, badly. Saddle fit is okay - ruled out that, and feet are fine. So vet simply said - back pain. This goes on each year for four years. She was going to retire him to trails, but got a chiropractor up and aftwards he was dead calm, not agitated and moved like a dream.
I'm getting a vet out this week that specializes in acupuncture/chiro/massage to work on my horse who has been restarted this month after a few years off. I'll let you know how it goes. On my thread i horse health, acupuncture seems to be very effective too.
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