Equine Therapy & Rehabilitation

Horse, like humans can suffer back pain which can stem from a variety of causes. Falls and badly fitted tack is perhaps an obvious cause, but chronic injury, poor foot balance inappropriate training methods all have an effect on the horse's musculoskeletal structure. Picture the horses back as a finely tuned and balanced suspension bridge between the fore and hind limbs. It is easier to understand that a small imbalance in any part of that system can cause compensation and issues in other parts of the body.

Some horses are quite 'vocal in telling us they are uncomfortable - bucking and rearing can be quite a wakeup call! Others however just knock a pole now and then and their performance decreases slowly; others become a little more 'grumpy' when the saddle appears; strike off on the wrong canter lead. These are all signs that your horse is either uncomfortable, physically unable to do the job you are asking or even in pain. Below is a more comprehensive list of issues to look out for with your horse, and they are all issues that can be helped with a combination of McTimoney therapy and appropriate saddle balance.

"Once the spine is realigned; the pelvis and shoulders are rebalanced the horse can move more freely and performance can be improved."

Recognizing musculoskeletal problem

Photograph showing pelvic alignment before and after using McTimony therapy

Behavioural changes

  • Cold backed
  • Difficulty with farrier
  • Resistance
    • Bucking
    • Rearing
    • Napping
  • Reluctance to be tacked up
  • Unwilling to be handled

Performance changes

  • Difficulty with
    • Lengthening stride
    • Collection
    • Bending
    • Lateral work
    • Correct canter lead
    • Knocking fences
    • Jumping to one side
    • Bucking into canter or changing leg
    • Sudden loss of performance
    • Uneven shoe wear
    • Unexplained intermittent lameness
    • Unevenness

Consultation and Treatment

The Treatment

Before treatment commences, veterinary consent is required. In most cases this is simply a phone call from the owner to your veterinary surgeon. In some cases, your vet will be contacted to discuss appropriate treatment and aftercare.

1. Consultation and clinical history

A detailed clinical history is required to ensure that the safest and most appropriate treatment methods are used. This includes details of any accidents, lameness or illness and also aims to obtain an insight into the daily routine. Details of behavioural or performance changes will be noted.

2. Assessment

Initial assessment is by hands on palpation or feeling the spine, joints and muscles. Areas of muscle wastage, hot spots and pain will be picked up and the general symmetry of the body assessed. Your horse’s movement will be assessed in hand initially. In some cases it may be appropriate to see your horse ridden or lunged.

3. Treatment

McTimoney chiropractic manipulation forms the bases of the treatment methods used. Gentle yet effective adjustments send a vibration through the bone which releases tight muscles around the bone. Other muscle and soft tissue release techniques are often used to facilitate the procedure.

4. Rehabilitation and aftercare

Appropriate aftercare is vital to successful rehabilitation. After treatment, Sam will provide a thorough after care programme tailored to each horse’s requirements. It is likely that your horse can be worked the following day, but your exercise programme may need to be adjusted. Competitions and travelling the following day should be avoided if you want to get the best from the treatment.

5. Free saddle check

Your saddle can be checked to identify any issues which may be causing your horse problems. If your saddle is not well balanced and does not allow your horse to move through the back, progress after treatment will be limited. This service is not designed to replace that of your regular saddle fitter, but offers advice from the perspective of an experienced back specialist.


Prevention is better that cure!

Small things we do with our horses on a regular basis can contribute to imbalances which build up into bigger issues. The following is a guideline which can help you to help your horse.



Testimonial for McTimoney Therapy

Late summer of 2010, we noticed that our show pony was a bit off form, but we couldn’t put a finger on the problem. The equine dentist suggested that there were a few things wrong and suggested McTimoney manipulation therapy, and recommended Sam to take a look at him. She found his back was misaligned, and his shoulders and pelvis unbalanced. He had two treatments close together, and then went on to win several very prestigious classes and championships. We were delighted with his return to form, and he now has routine preventative treatment.

CC Hertfordshire.