Posted on 7th June 2019 by Vicky Knapp
When might my horse need a McTimoney chiropractic treatment?
By Victoria Knapp
To quote John McTimoney “Chiropractic is a means of restoring health by spinal manipulation and manipulation of other joints”
The McTimoney college was founded in 1972 to train people in the art of adjusting the joints of the body using only their hands which is what the word chiropractic means, literally “done by hand”. The treatment can be performed on both humans and animals after the appropriate training.
All McTimoney animal practitioners hold either a postgraduate diploma or MSc in animal manipulation and work to ensure the most appropriate and effective treatment takes place.
We all love our horses, but is it fair to expect them to perform the most unnatural tasks, whether that be hacking around the countryside or galloping around a 5* cross country course?
Nature did not intend for them to carry any weight on their backs, it just so happens that their ribcage makes the spine very stable and so we have taken advantage of this, and their amenable nature, to carry us around!
This activity can inevitably lead to problems. Horses that are not kept fit or are worked in an incorrect manner can become very tight through their backs and weak through their core (abdominal) muscles which then leads to tension through the back and can predispose the horse to kissing spines. The spinous processes (the ridges that run along the centre of your horses back) sit very close together anyway and if not kept supple through the back these can be forced even closer.
Problems can also occur from horses playing in the field, slipping in the wet, jumping awkwardly or refusing a fence, we all know how silly they can be at times. They also get problems whilst they are growing as muscle, ligaments and bone all grow at slightly different rates which makes co-ordination very difficult for a while. As you can see there are many reasons why your horse might need a chiropractic treatment and this might be on top of a general maintenance check!
At Dassett Eventing I often treat the young horses while they are growing and developing for the very reason that they find training and competing hard whilst this is happening.
It is important to keep them as square and level as possible so that they can perform at their optimum, this being different for each individual horse.
The team at Dassett incorporate regular treatments for all of the horses, depending on their work and stage of development. If there is a problem then it is dealt with early to prevent muscle imbalance developing due to the skeleton not being in the right place. This is where chiropractic differs from physio as physio concentrates on the muscles rather than the skeleton itself and they can be very effective when used conjunctively.
For the average owner with a horse in none or light competition work a six monthly check over is the ideal to keep your horse in balance. For horses in much harder work a more frequent program may be required.