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Treating symptoms vs cause

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  • Treating symptoms vs cause

    How can you tell if you are treating a body sore horse's symptoms, or if you are actually addressing the cause?

    Boarder horse has issues that the vets cannot figure out. Chiro saw her twice, as did a massage therapist, but neither felt they were addressing the root cause, and felt little reason to keep coming back (horse did improve short term with easch).

    Enter Oesteopath. He is sure he can fix this horse. He thought at first in one session she should be fine. Gave her the required time off, and nope, she was not better.

    He came back. This time I rode her while he treated and I DID feel a difference in her with each adjustment, but by the end she was back to broken, but I thought just perhaps she was tired?

    I have ridden her a few times since, and she does feel better in some ways, but still has some of the root issues. He is coming back as soon as we can coordinate a time.

    Some of what the Osteo has said makes me really scratch my head, but he is improving her....but I am also wondering if he, like the chiro, is just fixing side effects and not the root cause...or is it that the horse still carries herself badly because it is a learned posture from months of discomfort?

    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

  • #2
    A lot of "alternative" practitioners harp on things like root causes and even talk about "curing". No self-respecting practitioner of more traditional medicine or techniques would delude themselves that they are "curing" anything, and ones who insist they are the ONLY ones who can help and who dismiss any other work that's been done as useless get the old hairy eyeball from me.

    EVERYTHING has a cause, of course, but sometimes the cause of soreness in a horse is age, poor conformation, wear and tear, just using the horse normally, old trauma, pasture injury, or other disadvantages that cannot be corrected no matter what. Not every disorder, ESPECIALLY in mute animals, comes neatly packaged in the form of a diagnostic test where The Answer is listed on the bottom nice and neatly.

    What can an owner really do other than make sure the horse is suitably fit and well-conditioned for its intended job, properly nourished, its feet and legs looked after properly, and ridden with appropriate tack that fits by a rider who is properly trained? Well, we can try to evaluate soreness and symptoms the best we can and use whatever modalities the expert(s) of choice suggest.

    In other words, miraculous cures and turnarounds are in very, very short supply. Anyone who attempts to sell you one should be chased off the property.
    Click here before you buy.


    • Original Poster

      I agree that the "miracle cure" had me very wary, but it isn't my money, and he didn't seem to be doing harm...but, nor am I see the huge breakthrough comeback he was expecting...I am now wondering if his early optomism was just to hook the owner who was feeling frustrated.

      Horse in current condition is only rideable by me...anyone else and she won't go. But then I don't have any riders who are as light as I am yet have the skills so I would trust their safety.

      How many times do you think a chiro type adjustment should take to make it "stick" if that is the main issue and the horse really isn't being challenged physically? It seems that he thinks she has TMJ (which I agree with) and that that is the cause of her other issues (which I am not so sure of).

      So frustrated for the owner and the horse!
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


      • #4
        I have treated horses over the years with bodywork/chiro.

        Some ARE "cured" after one treatment, some take MANY repetitions + correct rehab to retrain the body and make it last. I have a patient who had an injury about 8months ago, due to how the animal was using herself, some secondary issues came up - same one keeps popping back - some treatment sessions "hold" for 2weeks, some not even for a day. Since she is at my place, I check her daily and "fix" as needed. As time goes on, she is holding for longer. Frustrating - VERY, but she is heading in the right direction, imo.

        Good luck with your horse.
        Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
        ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.