Chiropractors - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 01-05-2020, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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I have never used a chiro., but I have heard about the great things they do for their clients' horses. I have also heard that they are a "scam" (don't fix problems), make the problems worse, or just mask problems. What are you thoughts on chiros.?

If in favor:
How did you find your chiro.?
How did you know they were making your horse better? What differences did you see in your horse?
How much do they usually cost for one session?
How often do they come out? Routinely or as needed?

If chiros. are good, I would like to start using one, but I have no idea where to look, what a good chiro. looks like and does, or generally where to start.
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post #2 of 24 Old 01-05-2020, 05:39 PM
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I'd start looking by asking your vet and people who ride competitively.

The ones I've used were very good. A couple that I observed looked like they were just petting the horse, and barely even doing stretches, much less correcting anything. And no manipulation. I didn't see improvement in the horses' movement after they were done, either.

The lady I use most often now never got certified. She learned from a man before there was certification. Or schools. But he made her study kinesiology and physiology and grilled her when they were together working on horses.

My last horse knew her truck by its' sounds and would meet her at the gate. He'd also put his body right where he wanted attention. Left thoracic spine. Right shoulder. He always had an opinion. Sometimes he didn't get his way right off, but he was always better after a session.

Most horses don't seem to need frequent adjustment. Mine only did because of some arthritis and compensatory movements he would do.

Good luck. I hope you have similar success.
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post #3 of 24 Old 01-05-2020, 05:44 PM
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I have used chiro on several different occasions for several different horses. The first time it was recommended by my vet. I was amazed how it helped my horse. I could here different things pop back in line. My horse licked his lips and seemed to be better immediately. His movements were better, his gait was dramatically improved. I had him check out my other horses and he said they didn't need adjustments. I have had friends use them on their show horses and this has helped their horses in different situations. My husband didn't believe in them until he seen him adjust another horse that we had and now he is all for it.

We just call him when we feel that our horses need one. Believe me we can tell now when our horses are out and we call him before it gets bad. The guy charges us by what the horse needs and we usually have several horses line up for him to adjust so we all split the farm call or service call.

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post #4 of 24 Old 01-05-2020, 06:23 PM
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I’ve been using chiros and PT people on my horses since 1993 - in three different states.

They are NOT all created equal. I hate to say this but, except for the race track PT fella where I am originally from, the absolute worst were men.

The women I didn’t like and never had come back, were ethical and cared, they just did not have the gut instinct to go with their training and they were way too scientific. Chiropractics is not strictly black & white.

My current chiro is a DVM who took the holistic route. She is also a 20+ year student of Eastern medicine, is well versed in acupuncture, and is a student of Dr. Xie; meaning if traditional Western Medicines don’t work, she has been able to recommend one of Dr. Xie’s herbal products and they have always worked.

She was recommended to me by the head of a training barn in 2004. After a few years she moved away and stopped doing horses, only working on dogs, mostly agility dogs. I went thru chiros like a dose of salts.

In 2015, I heard she had moved back to the area. I begged her to take my two remaining horses back. One had fractured his sacrum in 2007, became insulin resistant in 2012 and seriously foundered.

She only agreed to take my horses back because she knew them and knew they were well mannered.

In March, 2019, my IR horse re-broke his sacrum during a storm with hail almost the size of walnuts. The traditional vet who initially attended him, thought she was going to have to PTS him. She is also a chiro, did some very minor adjustment and prescribed Methocarbomol for ten days, with instructions to get the regular chiro to my barn “five minutes ago”.

My Eastern-schooled chiro came every two weeks to work on this horse. She also told me where to apply the red light therapy pad and the vibrator massage pad - something I did 40 minutes every day for eight months.

As of November, 2019 this horse can miraculously run a little bit and buck up - he is 24 years old. He is now back to his regular schedule of four week visits - did I say it’s nothing short of a miracle.

While the attending vet/chiro put this horse on the path to living, it was the holistic vet/chiro, well schooled in Eastern medicine who was instrumental in his recovery to where anyone who does not know horses wouldn’t think there’s anything wrong with him.

Bottom line — find someone who knows what their doing. Racing barns and training barns generally are better at knowing that, with an equine veterinary facility coming in third, at least that’s the way it is where I have lived:)

Or you can go to Dr. Xie’s Jing Tang web site, key your zip codes in the left bar and see who might be available in your area:)

Hope the is is helpful:)

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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.

Last edited by walkinthewalk; 01-05-2020 at 06:28 PM.
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post #5 of 24 Old 01-05-2020, 06:51 PM
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If the horse is fine, I leave them be. But if a horse is clearly sore or something's happened that makes me wondering how they're actually doing and such, I look into getting chiro.

How did you find your chiro.?
I looked for recomendations from my riding instructor, or someone else I really trust. I've managed to find 2 different ladies that provide chiro work and my horses always are doing better after they've come out.

How did you know they were making your horse better? What differences did you see in your horse?
The way the horse moves and holds themself is one of the biggest ways to see a difference. My one horse refused to do more than a walk because of how badly her hips and back were out. After 1 session, she was galloping again. After her 2nd session, she was feeling good enough to trot and canter under saddle as well.
Another horse acted like he was fine, until you put pressure on his back. He also trotted off and his one shoulder would stick out quite a bit and you could see that the muscles in his back weren't being used correctly. After chiro session, his trot was much more relaxed and fluid and no more sensitive back.

How much do they usually cost for one session?
This depends on where you live. For where I am, the one chiro charges $150 first time and $100 every time after, plus a $15 drive out fee.
The other lady I use, she charges $100 and that's it.
so that's about the average cost for around where I live.

How often do they come out? Routinely or as needed?
If I know a horse is having troubles and are in bad shape, I'll have them come out routinely until the horse is managing to keep everything where it's supposed to be and doesn't need the help as frequently. But if a horse is fine, then I only get them out once in a while/as needed. It all depends on the horse and what they're really in need of.
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post #6 of 24 Old 01-05-2020, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Proverse View Post
What are you thoughts on chiros.?

Since my favorite event is lost and won by a thousandth of a second (barrel racing), I utilize a whole team of people to keep my horses feeling their absolute best. A good chiro is one of them. They are greatly beneficial, to the TEAM I use for my hroses.

Originally Posted by Proverse View Post

How did you find your chiro.?
How did you know they were making your horse better? What differences did you see in your horse?
How much do they usually cost for one session?
How often do they come out? Routinely or as needed?

I've been using the same chiro for a long time so I truthfully don't remember who told me about him, but it was word of mouth. He's a human chiro, who is also a lifelong horse owner, and took the time to educate himself about horses.

My horses have never had big issues. But I always know when Red needs to be adjusted because I will have to ask him twice to pick up his right lead. Gets adjusted, and then he's back to picking it up right off the bat. Shotgun I know he needs to be adjusted when I see the little bump at the end of his back; chiro gets it to go away.

Generally, I have them checked over in the spring and then as needed as the season goes on, and/or based on what the chiro finds. Again, mine never have huge issues, but there are small things with their performance that I notice an improvement with. So it usually ends up being 2 to 3 times a year, or so.

Mine is $70 per horse

Something that complimented the chiro adjustments, is I had PEMF therapy done for Red last year. Normally, he can be a little "cranky" during his adjustments sometimes. The chiro commented how relaxed and calm he was the whole time and I told him he had just finished 3 sessions in a week's time (her recommendation to start) and he said "oh, well that would be why!". While I don't feel it helped him move better with his various issues he has, I do feel it helped his tendon heal up and of course it make a big impression on me and the chiro. So I guess it was worth it.

Of course, that's a different topic! (And not all PEMF machines are the same either...... the gal I use has a true medical grade one, that she also uses on humans)

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post #7 of 24 Old 01-05-2020, 09:38 PM
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We found ours by asking our vet. The chiro we use is a DVM who also has a lot of training in eastern medicine; she does both chiro and acupuncture and has been in practice for many, many years.

We generally have the horses done in the spring before our first competition of the season, then again periodically throughout the competition season. I see things like sensitivity to brushing certain areas (generally mid-back for one horse and around the poll for the other) and changes in the way they travel when they need attention. All are all greatly improved after a visit.

Cost is $150 a horse, and there may or may not be an additional trip fee depending on if she was in the area or not already that day.
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post #8 of 24 Old 01-05-2020, 10:35 PM
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I take them with a pile of salt.

A lot of what they say they do and reasonings is not factual. They might have results, but it may or may not be from what they claim. The practice also attracts people who tend to fall even further into the woo science category.

If I opt for bodywork, it's more of massage and PT.
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post #9 of 24 Old 01-06-2020, 09:38 AM
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I have used a lot of chiropractors both on the animals and myself.

The first one I used, Richard, kept saying I needed another appointment as such and such was misaligned. Eventually after five or six appointments he asked me if I had bumped my head in the last 18 - 36 months. I thought this a darn silly question. He then said a whiplash injury.

I had had two a year apart, one when a pony reared and caught me under the chin with his knee and the other a kick to my face,

"That's it!" he said, "Your palate is out!"

"My what?"

"Roof of your mouth."

He then proceeded to have me adjust that with thumb pressure to the roof of my mouth. That was it. I remained 'square' until I did something stupid!

He used Applied Kinnesiology (AK) to diagnose, not only any misalignment but also which was you were misaligned and would also change muscle memory so it stayed in place.

Now if you want mumbo jumbo them AK is the way to go. AK works on the magnetic fields of the body. You can stand with him behind you arms shoulder high to the side, he will apply pressure to your arms and you can resist. Put your heels on wedges and you may not have the ability to resist. Even something as ridiculous as poking your tongue out to one side can cause a weakness. It is nuts and infuriating.

I recall remarking that if only there was a way to use this on horses.

I was using a physiotherapist/ chiropractor on the horses at the time. She was good. I spoke to her about AK. Then, she went to South Africa and on her way home she called in to show me something she had learned. It was how to use AK on animals via another person.

More mumbo jumbo! I stood with one hand flat on the horse's ribs, she stood facing me with one hand on my shoulder and with her other touched each of the horse's vertebra. If the horse was misaligned then I had no strength to resist her pressure on my arm.

I have seen farriers stand there with arms like steel totally unable to resist from the pressure of her hand if the horsemwas wrong.

I introduced Sarah to Richard and she learned a lot from him. On one occasion Richard was doing a human clinic from Sarah's home and I took a horse there for her to treat. This was a big Irish Draught horse that was constantly going out behind. Richard came to watch. He knew nothing about horses but asked if he could have a feel. He immediately shoved a hand high up inside his flank - fortunately Skipper was a gentleman and never objected!
Richard felt tension there and said that with humans he had found that this stemmed from the muscle in the neck. A massage of the neck, which wasn't tight, and the tension was gone. No more misalignments.

I have tried several chiiros on the horses and me. I would never waste money on the McTimony trained ones. Never seem to do any good at all.

Sarah was at a stables doing treatments. She walked past a stable and saw a mother and daughter crying. They were holding a mare and foal. The vet had just gone back to his car to fetch something. Sarah asked what was wrong and was told the foal was going to be euthanised as every time it tried to feed it fainted.
When the vet returned Sarah asked if she could look at the foal and reading it through AK diagnosed it was misaligned in its poll and the first three vertebrae. She manipulated then the foal was allowed to go the the milk bar and was able to suckle with no problem at all.

When you have a horse that has a cold back and sinks when you go to mount and she gives it one treatment and it no longer sinks then you know good is being performed.

A yearling filly we bred developed a very bad thoropin. This was caused through misalignment, squared up the thoropin was gone within the month.

I could go on and on but will not bore you all!
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post #10 of 24 Old 01-08-2020, 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Proverse View Post
I have never used a chiro., but I have heard about the great things they do for their clients' horses. I have also heard that they are a "scam" (don't fix problems), make the problems worse, or just mask problems. What are you thoughts on chiros.?
I guess the biggest thing is, hardly anything outside of veterinary practitioners with regard to horses are regulated in most areas, so a huge factor re whether they're 'wonderful' or 'scams' would be what are their qualifications? For that reason, without further info(not saying all unregistered are useless by any means), I'd generally recommend a *veterinary* chiro - that means they're either fully qualified vet or human chiro, before doing a comprehensive 'horse chiro' course. If the chiro is also a vet, you can 'kill birds' by having them do other vet stuff, or proscribe meds too.

The other thing is that there seem to be quite a few different 'styles' of chiro. Eg some do deep tissue stuff, some do acupuncture as well, etc. So some things may be better or worse for some conditions, meaning same person/approach doesn't work the same for all.

How did you find your chiro.?
How did you know they were making your horse better? What differences did you see in your horse?
A local guy is a very well renowned chiro vet and lecturer, and when he's been too busy(he gets booked up literally many months in advance), I've gone with his recommendation for alternatives. He(& they) have made differences to my horses, in mobility - freedom of movement and in 2 cases has changed their shape - My buckskin has had a 'hunter's bump' since he was a foal. Wasn't until he was about 4yo that I found this guy for him, and whether it was the chiro, or a 'cranio-sacral' practitioner I also used, he lost his hunter's bump for some time, and the stiffness in his right hind. Now he's older(19yo), last couple treatments he had haven't achieved anything obvious, so... And my pony came to me with a very... tent shaped croup and very imbalanced hind feet. While he is also varus on one fetlock so hoof balance is relative to that, the chiro(& again, cranio sacral) have straightened him out, his rump has been horse shaped, and his feet are able to be much better balanced. Again though, he's now 19yo & I've noticed last few visits, nothing changes hoof balance-wise.

I have also seen some... sorry looking client's horses, who have improved obviously and my clients have reported it due to a chiro visit.

How much do they usually cost for one session?
I'm in Aus, so prob meaningless if you don't live here, but about $80-90 per visit.

How often do they come out? Routinely or as needed?
Depends. Early in the piece when they had their 'issues', I had them come out every... think it was 2-6 weeks, whatever was recommended at the time. For other horses I've had, it's also been 'as needed' but this has tended to be a course of 2-4 visits then they are deemed not needing treatment. For my horse & pony, after the first few months, on the vet's say so, we put them on a 6 monthly schedule for a few visits, then I just had him out to the pony as needed - I found when he needed treatment, I 'suddenly' had a hard time balancing his feet again - or about yearly, for a 'maintenance check'.
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