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Equine Chiropractics
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Equine Chiropractics

Horse chiropractics is a growing science that has proven to be beneficial for my horse. My personal experiences with horse chiropractors have been very positive. My sweet horse, Romeo, has gone through some very drastic attitude changes throughout the past six years that I have owned him. At first, when he would throw his stubborn fits and ignore everything I asked him to do under saddle, I brushed it off as a bad attitude. This, I have learned, was very ignorant of me. The real problem turned out to be that he had thrown his back out and was very sore when I rode him. His protests were his attempt to tell me what was wrong. When I told my trainer about his weird attitude change that would not go away, she suggested we have a horse chiropractor out to check him. I had never heard of such a thing, but I was hopeful that it would lead us to the source of Romeo's problems. It definitely did. After his first adjustment, I had my Romeo back. He was himself again and it was clear he felt much better. Now I have the chiropractor out at least once every year, or when I notice that same attitude change.

So what is equine chiropractic exactly? Much like a human chiropractor would do, an equine chiropractor will first do a full assessment of your horse to discover the underlying problem. This assessment includes a case history, including any stressful situations your horse has been in lately that may have caused some sort of physical issue. It also includes posture analysis, gait analysis, static and motion palpation of the spine and its joints, muscle palpation, and checking for any changes in temperature over the spine.

Once the location of the problem has been found, the chiropractor will adjust that area of the spine, alleviating any pain, muscle spasms and return the joints to normal motion. The adjustments are controlled thrusts made by the hand, directed in a specific direction on a specific joint. Depending on your horse's specific needs and factors such as age, severity of the injury, and desired flexibility achieved, the number of adjustments your horse needs will vary.  

Many chiropractors work closely with veterinarians to achieve a greater flexibility and collaborate in order to cure lameness. The goal of these teams is to find the primary problem and focus on that rather than treating a secondary source of pain.

Some things to watch for in your horse that may indicate he/she could benefit from chiropractic care are:

-a notable decrease in your horse's performance level

-unusual behavior changes (ex. uncooperative, cinchy, bucking)

-difficulty executing desired movements

-muscle imbalance or spasms

-injuries resulting from falls, training or other exercises

-any abnormal gait problems

-short striding

-stressful situations for the conformation of the horse, such as trailering, birth process, riding/training equipment

Equine chiropractic is still a growing science and many equestrians have never even heard of it. My goal in this blog was to share my personal experience as well as give a brief description of the process as well. Since our horses cannot just speak up and tell us what is wrong all the time, it is our responsibility to work with them and give our best efforts to find the underlying problem. The best way to do that is to collaborate with someone who knows what to look for (a vet or chiropractor). Chiropractic care just might be the answer to your horse's problems.


Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.

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  1. Eve Sherrill York
    Eve Sherrill York
    Only makes sense.
  2. jst4horses
    I love horsey chiropractors. I have so far, not met one that was not very calm and in tune with horses. It is awesome how some horses change in a minute, others take a few treatments............good. When your horse knows the sound of the chiropractor truck and gets happy, you know it is a good thing. My favorite story of a horsey chiropractor was an amazing syndicate horse, one purchased for more money than houses and sports cars for a group to win at least one of the Triple Crown. But, he kept having problems and got moved down to stakes and finally claimers and sold down..............the original group had promised the horse to my younger son when his career was over......he loved that gelding. But the trainer just sold him down and he got claimed out. I wanted to find that horse, and after some time did..........the trainer who had just sold him to a young girl for show told me she had gotten him for free from a claiming trainer she knew.........she had a vet and a chiropractor out, the horse, since he was in his two year old racing days, had had a back injury that was never treated, the trainers down the line just kept selling him down.............they gave him a few chiropractic treatments, and massages. He healed and went on to the children's dressage and jumping circuit. His owner promised my son if she ever sold him she would let him know. She never did sell him. It is more than thirty years, and he is now passed, but it is such a great story, and always makes me cry.........one thing that trainer told me is that that horse was so badly behaved, but the moment I started to work with him I realized......someone once loved this horse, and he decided to trust her, and her vets and chiropractor, and his new owner............at least one horse got a great break.

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