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  1. #1

    Default Thoughts on regular Chiropractic care?

    We have a Chiropractor who comes to my boarding barn regularly and everyone raves about him. I had my horse adjusted by him a couple times last winter and this Spring but didn't really see/feel any difference in my horse. My horse was and is doing super so I don't think there is really anything to adjust. I am kind of the mind set if its not broken don't mess with it and I do keep horses on a budget, so I kind of think I should just use Chiro on an "as needed" basis. Horse does work hard 6 days a week but just doesn't show any issues and is thriving in fact in the training currently. What is everyone elses thoughts on the need for regular Chiro visits when no issues are apparent?



  2. #2
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    Ditto, use as needed/when the horse tells you they're NQR.

    I know my mares very very well.... I can quickly tell when they're "out" and call Dr. Amy for the once over. Usually they're put right as rain in about 15 - 30 minutes of adjustment work. It's rare they need a second visit.
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- "When they try to tell you these are your Golden years, don't believe 'em.... It's rust."


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  3. #3
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    I've found it to be very useful after rehabbing a stifle injury when my mare had been compensating and was "off". I've also seen her enjoy an adjustment even when I didn't really notice any issues but had her done because I had to meet a two horse minimum for the barn call and needed my other horse done. I don't know that I'd do it as a routine if there were no issues, but I don't think that with a good chiro, there is any harm in it. But like you, I'm on a budget and don't like to do things that I feel aren't necessary. Will be interesting to hear others' perspectives.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


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  4. #4
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    I'm a skeptic on Chiropractic. We've used three different ones over the years and are batting less than .250 on demonstrable, positive results. I'll not hire this service again.

    Others have seen better results.

    If you need any vet. or med. service (beyond stuff like teeth floating) on a regular basis then you have a problem. As long as you've done the SOAP analysis and your acting upon its conclusions then you're OK. But if a horse needs constant "adjusting" then something is wrong. Maybe the tack isn't right or the riding style is defective or the horse is not suited to its work or there is something else entirely. But something is wrong.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


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  5. #5
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    I don't do 'regular' chiro visits for my boys. I'll have them tuned up a couple of times a year just to check how things are, but otherwise I only do them if I have an issue I think it might help. My vet is also my chiro so that makes it handy.


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  6. #6
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    I think it largely depends on the horse's job. If I'm going to a big show once we are there I'll often get them a once over just to insure everything is good to go. Now at home while in training unless something seeks NQR then they are only done as needed.



  7. #7
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    I am also not a big believer in chiropractic. I think it makes much more sense to do things like have correctly fitting tack and as much turnout as possible rather than head the chiro route.
    “While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain


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  8. #8
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    Any medical therapy or treatment that is used without a specific and well-defined need runs the risk of turning into "overtreatment". Both costly and not always safe!

    I may get flamed for saying it, but a large proportion of the chiropractic business model seems to be encouraging frequent "treatments", whether this is supported by evidence or not. It's a cash system, so being lean and laserlike in the application of treatments (treat only when necessary) does not necessarily benefit the bottom line of the practitioner.
    Last edited by deltawave; Nov. 29, 2012 at 03:22 PM. Reason: syntax
    Click here before you buy.


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  9. #9
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    Agreed DW.... it's why I'm so glad that the two certified Equine Chiro's in my area do not practice that way. They come, do their job and say "If your horse needs me, call."

    The only time I have had to have multiple visits was over this summer for my Percheron after a traumatic casting against and downhill along a fence. Her wounds were pretty serious & her body was very sore from being down so long & having to be hauled up to level ground via the tractor.

    The first visit, I had a massage therapist start first before the chiro took over. Second visit was just the chiro and after that session, she said "Call if Tank needs me."

    Professional ladies.
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- "When they try to tell you these are your Golden years, don't believe 'em.... It's rust."



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tabula rashah View Post
    I am also not a big believer in chiropractic. I think it makes much more sense to do things like have correctly fitting tack and as much turnout as possible rather than head the chiro route.
    Unless your horse likes to tear around in turnout and do acrobatics...mine gets his back/pelvis out of place quite frequently from playing.


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  11. #11
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    My approach varies horse to horse.

    I have some horses who have seen my chiropractor/vet once and her advice was, "call me if anything ever happens, but this one doesn't need me." And those types will often go years between adjustments. Or in the case of a few smaller, compact, well-put-together types I've had.....they never received any work at all.

    I have others who see the chiropractor regularly (as determined by the horse, not the chiropractor). My big jumper, for example, gets a checkup and adjustment before every big show (when I want to make sure that he's in the best possible physical shape) and after the show (when he's earned it after jumping around over big jumps for a week or two). He's also a somewhat prone-to-being-out-of-whack type horse, and it's like night and day before/after the chiro and acupuncture. If ever there was a great proof-of-case horse for chiropractic, it's him My mare is the same way. I often say that she jumped around 1.40m courses for me purely by virtue of the chiropractic work done on her.

    But really, the majority of my horses live in the middle zone. They get adjusted if they've been compensating for anything or if they're NQR. I don't have money to throw around for no good reason, and I am hugely suspicious of someone telling me that my horse "needs" something when I think they feel really good. But my caveat there is that I'm pretty in tune with how my horses feel and I have a couple of extremely gifted trainers and friends who pick up on small changes as well.....so I feel like we have a relatively sharp eye on how mine feel.

    With all of that being said, I am a HUGE believer in chiropractic. I have seen big differences in horses before and after with a really gifted chiropractor. But I am NOT a believer in the idea that horses need to get worked on daily or weekly ad infinitum. And through the years I have seen many more poor/mediocre chiropractors who do absolutely nothing for the horse....many, many more than the handful of brilliant body workers.

    To those of you non-believers, I wish I could send my vet/chiro to you to work on your horses. Of course Murphy's Law and all, you probably have horses that don't really need it But I can say for a fact that two of mine never would have cut it at 1.40m and higher without the chiro and acupuncture work (in conjunction, of course, with a very tailored conditioning program).
    __________________________________
    Forever exiled in the NW.


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  12. #12
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    Just because you can't feel something wrong doesn't mean there isn't anything wrong. Almost all horses can certainly benefit from chiro treatments. It would be pretty rare if a good vet chiropractor doesn't find multiple things wrong with your horse. If the horse is very stoic they just may not show pain when indeed they are. This is very typical for many quarter horses. All my horses get chiro twice a year, even the ones that I don't ride. When a fixation is left for too long it can cause long term issues.


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  13. #13
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    It would be pretty rare if a good vet chiropractor doesn't find multiple things wrong with your horse
    Are healthy horses rare, then?
    Click here before you buy.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Are healthy horses rare, then?
    There is a big difference. How do you define healthy? Someone good will find multiple fixations on nearly every horse. Just because the owner can't feel them hurting, does that mean you shouldn't fix them?



  15. #15
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    Well, fair enough, I guess. If one would question "how do you define healthy?" then one could also question "how do you define 'fixed'"? And how do you define "good"? Someone who can find a problem on virtually every horse? Even ones with no demonstrable problems that are evident to the person riding and working it every day? I might, if I were the suspicious and skeptical type, call that something altogether different. If a practitioner insists my horse is broken, with no signs or symptoms or obvious manifestations, I'm going to want to know how he or she can tell and why it needs "fixing".
    Click here before you buy.


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  16. #16
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    I am not a fan of chiro...for the horses or myself. I've yet to experience a chiro adjustment, on a horse or myself, that made a significant, lasting difference (and have done multiple visits, etc). As a witness to some of my boarders who are huge advocates, I would say the same is true with their horses. I see no dramatic, lasting change, despite regular visits. Nor did I see drastic change from when the horses where " bad" to now, when their owners feel they are much improved. To me, this is a placebo effect. They spend gobs of money for a vet to come and poke, prod, snap, crackle, and pop their horse. I find it, well, hokey.

    If I'm going to use something other than medical treatment, I go with massage. THAT I see a difference in. And since my horse works hard and USES his muscles, he can clearly show us where his muscles hurt (and I can feel it). I do also think that believers in chiro who don't also use massage in conjunction are missing the boat...if you're horse is "out of alignment", wouldn't relaxing sore, tight muscles help keep what the chiro puts back in place where it needs to be? If the muscles are tight, wouldn't they just aid in knocking everything out of wack???


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  17. #17
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    I haven't had good luck with horse or human chiro; tried both a few times. With horses, it's so hard to tell since they can't give the same specificity of feedback as people. I'm also a little skeptical--my skeleton is much smaller and easier to manipulate than a horse's, and I didn't notice any change when I was adjusted.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Well, fair enough, I guess. If one would question "how do you define healthy?" then one could also question "how do you define 'fixed'"? And how do you define "good"? Someone who can find a problem on virtually every horse? Even ones with no demonstrable problems that are evident to the person riding and working it every day? I might, if I were the suspicious and skeptical type, call that something altogether different. If a practitioner insists my horse is broken, with no signs or symptoms or obvious manifestations, I'm going to want to know how he or she can tell and why it needs "fixing".

    Fixed is an area that does not move normally. Some areas are harder to feel then others for a non professional. Some areas can be seen before and after adjustments such as the pelvis. You can see an obvious difference before and after a horse is adjusted in the pelvis. Maybe you haven't had someone take the time to show you and let you feel fixations before and after, it truly is amazing and very helpful to a horse.



  19. #19
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    In the interest of full disclosure, I have had TWO chiropractic manipulations that I thought did me some good: once, when I'd first moved my horses home and was cleaning stalls and throwing hay every day for the first time in decades, I developed severe SI joint pain that had me limping. Got it adjusted, one time, gone immediately. Yay! Declined the suggestion that I "keep up with it" via regular adjustments. On another occasion I had a rib facet that kept bugging me, around the site of a compression fracture I had thanks to a car accident. My husband could always mash on it and make it better but one time I had this same chiro (who offered me a free visit because I refer her patients every now and then) do the rib adjustment and she did so VERY well (and very forcefully) after which that spot has never really bothered me again, about 7 years later, in spite of no follow up.

    I've had other back things pop up from time to time, generally easily linked to something I've done a day or two before, and since I'm usually too busy to do anything about it the usual method of "take a couple ibuprofen and wait it out" seems to do the trick every time. Once my muscles stop hurting, my spine does its own "self-chiropractic", cracking and popping like crazy the day after the pain goes away, and I'm good to go.

    Maybe it helps certain individuals for certain things, and I can't see why horses wouldn't be the same way, but I've also never seen a horse meaningfully respond to a chiro treatment. Perhaps in my case it is the placebo effect in reverse: I don't expect to see improvement, so there isn't any.

    Fixed is an area that does not move normally. Some areas are harder to feel then others for a non professional. Some areas can be seen before and after adjustments such as the pelvis. You can see an obvious difference before and after a horse is adjusted in the pelvis. Maybe you haven't had someone take the time to show you and let you feel fixations before and after, it truly is amazing and very helpful to a horse.
    Thank you for clarifying. But just because a joint or area that moved less now mves MORE does not, in my mind, automatically dictate that something was definitely "wrong" or is now "better", unless there was a very clear pain or stiffness accompanying this fixation. In which case certainly adjustment could be helpful, but so too could rest or tincture of time in many cases, I'd imagine. (see above) Sometimes a joint or body part is stiff because there is surrounding muscle injury and the area is being splinted for a reason. Manipulation and forcing motion may not always be the best thing in that scenario.
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  20. #20
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    But there often is a clear stiffness to the fixation. Just because you can't feel it does not mean that it is not significant and painful for the horse. Don't take this the wrong way at all but some riders will never be able to feel if their horse has a fixation simply because of the way they ride. There is a very good reason that almost all professional trainers and almost all top level horses get regular chiro care.

    It is also interesting to note that time off will not help those types of issues and often makes them worse.



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