MyHorse Books recently held a free webinar with Where Does My Horse Hurt? author Dr. Renee Tucker, where she answered your questions about chiropractic care. If you missed the webinar, view the recording here.
Dr. Tucker has graciously offered to answer all of your questions that we couldn’t get to, due to the time constraint. Here’s a few, and watch MyHorse Daily for more! Be sure to visit Dr. Tucker’s website for more information at http://wheredoesmyhorsehurt.com/.
Q: Have a 6 year old that was dx with navicular at age 4, lameness on right front. Adjusted over a week ago, rear left hip was out also right shoulder. Was sound for about 5 mintues of walking before lameness came back. How long should I wait before doing adjustment again would acupuncture be a better choice. She has had chiropractic work and swim therapy. She is still short on the hind left. sorry, fine to left off on the right.
A: Five minutes is disappointing! In that case, I would definitely move to acupuncture. If you could do both chiropractic and acupuncture at the same time, that would give you the best results.
Q: While lunging (another mare) this mare is fine to the left but not the left. Will fight the left. possible rib issue?
A: Definitely could be ribs. Also, when they’re so one-sided, other Body Checkups that will be helpful are the Atlas, Lumbar, and Thoracic.
Q: My horse has had a perpetural issues with her left coffin bone. Her previous owners left her out to pasture without any shodding for a long period of time. When I purchased her it was at 0% and the farriers over the past two years put a bandaid but nothing significant to correct the issue. She has been in rocker shoes and now a wedge. She has gone below 0% and now is about 15%. There is discussion in putting her in a regular shoe. She has been compensating for a longer period of time and her hocks have been injected. She became short on her hind left leg. I know this is sketchy descripition but do you have an idea of why the switch due to compensation?
A: I’m unfortunately not clear about the percentages. Normal coffin bone angle is around 45 degrees. It seems like you’re saying her angle is 15. Unless you’re referring to rotation of the coffin bone? But then I don’t understand the “below 0%” reference.
Well, there is certainly different colloquial ways of saying the same thing in different parts of the country (and different countries!)
Anyway, I think you are more interested in the compensation on the left hind. As you know, horses normally compensate diagonally. So in your mare’s case she “should”be short in the right hind. The only times I have seen horses compensate on the same side has been when they had tremendous chiropractic issues all over their body. That makes normal compensation impossible for the horse. Of course, she could also have a separate problem in the left hind, unrelated to the left front.
Q: I have a 5yr old gelding with EPSM. He exhibits with difficulty backing and what looks like cramping in the hind end. What experience do you have with chiropractic with EPSM horses?
A: I’ve worked on plenty of horses with EPSM. They tend to have their lumbar area subluxated a bit more than other horses, which I suspect is due to the tighter muscles. Other than that, they do adjust the same as other horses and tend to hold their adjustments just fine.
Q: My horse has uneven hips and a pronounced and uneven hunter’s bump. She has become unridable – when being ridden she will refuse to go forward, pin her ears and turn around and bite at my leg. She has been treated presumptively for ulcers, has had chiropractic, massage and accupuncture. I have balanced her diet as carefully as possible and have tried extra vitamin E, ensured her selenium is correct, tried extra magnesium, etc. i have had her saddle checked as well but it does not seem to be her back under the saddle area but rather the lumbar/sacral area. Any suggestions on a next step?
A: Wow it really sounds like you have done all the right things to help your mare. Good job! I would like to suggest, even though you had a chiropractor out, that you do the Rib Checkup on your horse. I mean no offense to anyone. However, there are many chiropractors out there who simply do not check ribs. There was an instructor at my chiropractic training who felt that if horse’s atlas and sacrum (head & rear) were correct, the remainder of the body would self-correct. I have NOT found this to be true.
In addition, there are ribs beneath the shoulder that can be subluxated, and the sternum, as well as the pelvic symphasis that need to be checked. All of these require advanced chiropractic techniques, yet any one of these would cause your mare to not want to go forward.
As an example, I had one gelding who refused to go forward for months! When I checked him, his pelvic symphasis was so tipped forward and down that it put incredible strain on his lumbar area. The lumbar area could not be “fixed”directly, because it was not the primary problem. Check with your chiropractor and see if he or she is familiar with the pelvic symphasis.
Q: We currently have a 8 y/o Thoroghbred eventer – who has “single” bucking issues (flat and jumping) but one time and he’s done. Within the last 4 months we have had the chiropractor out with soreness every time in front of the hip/pelvis but well behind the saddle. And saddle fit has been done. And all’s good – do I try another chiropractor or move onto other therapies (accupuncture?) or xrays?
A: I’m not clear whether or not the chiropractic visit helped, even temporarily. If chiropractic does help, then I suggest either another chiropractor or adding acupuncture. If it hasn’t helped at all, then other therapies. That said, I have adjusted very, very many horses with this exact problem. Given the description that you’ve given, this should be treatable with chiropractic care.
Q: This may not be related but when my 6 yr old gelding walks in his stall, he drags his toes.
A: Toe dragging can be a chiropractic problem, but not always. I’ve adjusted lots of horses that drag their toes, and some respond to chiropractic and some do not.
Q: I have a horse that has started turning his head around and almost touching my hip when i am riding him. it is like there is something under the saddle. he only does it when he is being ridden. he does not show any other problems. I have checked the saddle and pad. he is doing this at the walk. he is a gaited horse
A: Most horses that do this are definitely trying to tell you something. Usually it is ribs that need to be adjusted, and/or the saddle fitted better. Try the Rib Checkup, and also have a professional fit your saddle. Some horses are very sensitive to saddle fit problems. Even “dime-size” pressure points can cause horses discomfort under saddle.
Q: I have a young mare of 4 years I have her adjused about every 3 months and she is always out of alignment. Is this normal for a young growing horse or could there be a chronic issue?
A: It depends how much she is out of alignment. A few things here and there could be normal. However, if either the atlas or the sacrum (which are the anchor points of the spinal cord) are out every three months, then there is another underlying problem going on. Please feel free to email me with more of your horse’s details.
Q: My horse had an injury from a kick in his shoulder and twitches there every once in a while when I touch that area quite often. What should I do?
A: Good question. Do try the Body Checkups on the shoulder, shoulder-blade, and ribs around the area. If chiropractic doesn’t help with the twitching, acupuncture is great for that symptom. Twitching after injury almost always involves nerve dysfunction. Both chiropractic and acupuncture are the first things to try for nerve issues.
Q: I recently acquired a holsteiner who had mysterious swelling of rear suspensory- the former owner had lots of tests run but vets couldn’t figure out what was causing swelling. No tear or lesion. He was put on stall rest 6 months & was cleared by vet. Anything I should look for going forward?
A: One of the most common causes of rear suspensory swelling is actually too much lateral work. I suggest taking it very slow with the lateral work. Also, if any swelling should reappear (hopefully not!), acupuncture is great for healing tendons and ligaments.
Q: What is your position with regard to the use of massage to help chiro adjustments “stick” or if the issue is muscular not skeletal?
A: I love massage, particularly on me! Lol If your horse enjoys massage, definitely keep it up. With people, human chiropractors like to do massage first sometimes, to keep muscle “memory” from pulling the bones back “out”. Because horses are designed very different from us, biomechanically, they don’t have a lot of muscle memory problems. We cover horse biomechanics — and how performance follows function — in the Where Does My Horse Hurt seminars.
Q: I have a 3 year old Arab Gelding, When I lope him slow, he tends to trip quite a bit. The trainer tells me I have to keep his speed up. Could there be something physical making him trip?
A: Absolutely. Horses should not trip because they’re going too slow. UNLESS your arena is deep and going slow bogs your horse’s feet down so that he trips. If your arena is not deep, or your horse trips on other surfaces, try the Body Checkups to see what else might be going on.