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Horse's hip "out of line" - chiropractor?

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  • Horse's hip "out of line" - chiropractor?

    I adopted a quiet, uncomplicated and lightly raced OTTB mare last year. She had 6 months off after racing, then completed 100 days of professional dressage training, and has been a joy to ride and be around. No spook, attitude, bucking, bolting, etc. for 6+ months back under saddle in her new career.

    A few months ago, she started with an odd gate where her front end would trot and her back end would canter. She also has a very difficult time picking up right lead canter, and often switches behind.

    I had a highly recommended dressage instructor out to give her opinion, and she is convinced my mare's "hips are out of line" and recommended a chiropractor. In a walk, she said it's clear one hip is higher than the other when watching from behind. Also, it's clear in a video taken of me riding her that she reaches farther in trot with her left hind versus right hind.

    I called my mare's breeder, who is a veterinarian in PA, FL and KY, and he more or less said it's close to impossible for a horse chiropractor to manipulate the vertebrae in a horse's back because of how heavily muscled the area is, and the weight of a person isn't enough. He doesn't place much faith in horse chiropractors and cautioned me against it.

    So, what does "hips out of line" mean, and for those of you familiar with this, what did you do to help out your horse?

  • #2
    My vet basically feels the same way about chiros. I think I'd have the vet out to do a check on the mare before anything else, in either case.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

    Comment


    • #3
      Well I don't know what it means, but want to share this.

      I had a chiropractor out for both my horses last week. I was nervous, as I am not into chiropractors, not for myself not for my horses. I rather rely on osteopaths, massage or acupuncture.
      I was very skeptical, but since this visit I've had the most wonderful experiences with both my guys in a long time.

      If you were to check some of my previous posts, if've been nagging on here about my assymetrical horse and saddle slipping. I never understood how other people had horses with assymetrical shoulders but it didn't seem to affect their saddlefit as badly as in my case.
      I didn't even bring anything up with the chiro as I didn't think that else there was anything physical wrong with that boy, but wow, we opened a can of worms....
      One of the things she said was that his hipbone was out and that she'd done something about it, so I said cool.
      The weather is not cooperative at present, but his saddle doesn't seem to slip anymore. Was it related to the hipbone or not, I don't know and I will ask her upon her next visit. But the saddle stays more or less in place. I need to get a few more rides in to be perfectly sure but he moves differently.
      I wished I had had this lady out before I testrode saddles, as who knows, maybe those saddles would have actually fit him if they didn't slip so badly.

      I have noticed very positive differences in both my guys. And uhm, one rather unpleasant experience, which I hope won't last too long. The pecking order got sort of reversed. My one guy feels so good in himself he thinks he should be the boss now. Which is not a good thing, as he's a blanket ripper. Husbands says no more chiro if he's gonna think that now he's in charge .

      Comment


      • #4
        I've had two horses with major hip/pelvis issues. Both were very obviously "out of line" (one horse had a twisted pelvis and the other had a dropped hip). My chiro/acupuncture/vet "fixed" both horses (in 3 sessions on one and in 6 sessions on the other). Both horses are now sound and SO much easier to ride now that they use their bodies evenly and well.

        I would highly recommend finding a good chiro (or massage therapist or body worker of any other type......I don't think the "type" of work matters as much as the talent of the person doing it) and having them take a look at your horse. You don't have to believe in it to give it a try!

        I've picked up a lot of horses over the years who were complete train wrecks physically (most of them were lame to boot--all as a result of the body problems). All but one were fixed completely by my vet/chiropractor in a relatively short amount of time. The one that wasn't fixed was a more difficult project and was definitely on her way, but unfortunately broke a leg out in the pasture and had to be put down before we got her to where we wanted her.
        __________________________________
        Flying F Sport Horses
        Horses in the NW

        Comment


        • #5
          called my mare's breeder, who is a veterinarian in PA, FL and KY, and he more or less said it's close to impossible for a horse chiropractor to manipulate the vertebrae in a horse's back because of how heavily muscled the area is, and the weight of a person isn't enough. He doesn't place much faith in horse chiropractors and cautioned me against it.
          Not true. Those pelvic rotations are often rooted in sacro-iliac joints imbalances. A good chiro or other body worker can do wonders for issues like this. I would go with a massage therapist because tight muscles are generally responsible for such issues anyway. Most humans also have pelvic rotations that are sucessfully worked on by chiros and massage therapists.

          Specific exercises that help mobilize the pelvic girdle and strengthen weaker muscles while stretching tight ones will help as well. Hind end leg yielding exercises help with this for example.

          Comment


          • #6
            Oh my, absolutely a good chiro, with the right technique, can manipulate even the big, heavy pelvic bones! I've seen dramatic, immediate results in my own 2 horses.
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

            Comment


            • #7
              Just another story.....

              I had an OTTB adopted at 10 yrs old, a good racer. I looked out my kitchen window one day to see him dragging a seemingly lifeless back leg! Called the vet who immediately came out. The vet picked up the leg, flexed & worked it around and poof! he was perfectly fine. Vet said dobbin had a "trick knee" that would fall "out of joint" from time to time. He said not to worry about it, just do what he did or leave him alone and it would "go back into joint" on it's own. Vet was 100% correct. Horse lived a useful happy rest of his life with us.

              Comment


              • #8
                Oh I was such a skeptic and scared to use a chiro on my horses. But the result was amazing on my 6 year old. We had been having back problems which I thought was all saddle fit, got a new saddle that was fitted to her and still had problems with her dipping down in the back if you touched her. I had a massage therapist out a few times and she said ya know I can keep coming out and doing minor fixes but I think you need a chiropractor. So she recommended one. Cost a bloody fortune but you know what I was in tears when he left.

                My girl's pelvis was out of whack. A couple of adjustments and she stopped dipping on the spot!!! I was amazed. Her canter is so much nicer now and more forward. He had to come out again and I will probably have him out in the spring as well if I can scrounge up the money.

                Edited to add that the Massage woman said that Chiro's have to be vets to be Chiro's. I wouldn't let anyone that isn't a vet manipulate the bones on my horse.
                Missouri Fox Trotters-To ride one is to own one

                Standardbreds, so much more then a harness racing horse.

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                • #9
                  I don't understand what could be skeptical about a chiro. If you have something out of place, it needs adjusting. Same with people. I've seen so many horses written off as bad horses, or lame horses, or untrainable when they were just in pain by being asked to work when their body just wasn't quite right. My pony has the same problem the OP's does. She often gets one hip "stuck" higher than the other. I get the chiro out to adjust it and tada shes' fixed. I also use a back on track blanket which has helped tremendously in keeping the muscles around her pelvis nice and relaxed so I can greatly extend visits from the chiro.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ponyjumper4 View Post
                    I don't understand what could be skeptical about a chiro.
                    All I can say is that some chiropractors (equine and human) are better than others. I had a devastating experience with a vet/chiro years ago who told me that I should have my horse euthanized because of issues with his stifle. Thank goodness I also had an excellent vet who peeled me off the ceiling and reviewed the horse's medical records/films with me. This woman had NO business spouting off her theories without having done a complete physical.

                    I have had some good experiences with chiropractors since then, most especially after a horse had been kicked, but I use them only to fix specific issues, not for maintenance. Same with my own body. There have certainly been times when I've used chiropractic and seen no results, too.

                    In my experience (both with my horses and in my own body), you can achieve many of the same results through deep tissue massage. In fact, chiropractic treatment without massage can have short-lived results as the muscle imbalance/tightness can cause the joint to "go out" again.
                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by c5rose View Post
                      So, what does "hips out of line" mean, and for those of you familiar with this, what did you do to help out your horse?
                      This is really a vet. question. I'd have the horse evaluated.

                      My mare has some right lead problems. We had chiro work on her and, frankly I was surprised. We had some improvement in problem areas. It was not dramatic (but, then, neither were the problems). It seems to me that chiro is more of a "therapudic massage" treatment than "aligning" the spine or anything else. I base my opinion on multiple obersvations of three chiros that have done horses in our barn.

                      She also has one hip slightly "higher" than the other. The vet. last year diagnosed a minor avulsion fracture. She said it might be old, it might be new, but there's nothing to be done for it. The cause of the fracture was unclear but could have been cause by something as common as rolling on a rock. It could well be the cause of right lead issues, but there's no treatment for it. She jokingly said we could fracture the other hip to make her symetrical, but that is not something I'd probably be interested in; I agreed (this vet has a "BaxterBlack-ish sense of humor ).

                      Your best bet is the vet. eval. and then do what that eval. suggests.

                      Good luck in your project.

                      G.
                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        She also has one hip slightly "higher" than the other. The vet. last year diagnosed a minor avulsion fracture. She said it might be old, it might be new, but there's nothing to be done for it. The cause of the fracture was unclear but could have been cause by something as common as rolling on a rock. It could well be the cause of right lead issues, but there's no treatment for it. She jokingly said we could fracture the other hip to make her symetrical, but that is not something I'd probably be interested in; I agreed (this vet has a "BaxterBlack-ish sense of humor ).

                        Your best bet is the vet. eval. and then do what that eval. suggests.
                        Yes, that would be ideal if most vets had a thorough understanding of the musculo-skeletal system which sadly they do not. They know about damage, broken bones and ripped muscles and how to fix that, but have very little knowledge when it comes to hypertonic muscle dysfunction other than prescribing a muscle relaxer.

                        Was this diagnosis maded definitively with x-rays or other diagnostic means, or was it more or less a guess-nosis?

                        Many horses have one hip higher than the other and it is simply cause by a pelvic rotation that perhaps came from a fall in the pasture or a slam into a stall door. Similar problems are also common in humans and in most cases there's no kind of fracture involvement.

                        Even if you horse truly has an avulsion fracture, I still believe something could be done to at least reduce the severity of the symptoms.

                        Have you ever even tried a bodyworker for this issue?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Get a good chiropractor out FIRST. We always use a chiro to make sure the horse doesn't need adjusting. Also understand that if the mare has been "out" for awhile - her muscles will need time to adjust to the correction.

                          Ditto on what others have said about Vets not always knowing as much as they should - but some are now realizing the benefits of alternative medical treatments such as chiro, acupunture and massage therapy.

                          For those who doubt chiro - I have to assume you've never used it on yourself. After serious back injuries coming off horses - it was the road back to recovery for me. All the Orthopedic Surgeons wanted to do was give me medication!!
                          Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                          "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            but some are now realizing the benefits of alternative medical treatments such as chiro, acupunture and massage therapy.
                            I like to refer to it as complimentary medicine because that's what they really should do. Western medicine is really good at crisis management, emergency type situations, while holistic/alternative type treatments often work better for chronic conditions. They are complimentary to each other and should be applied as such!

                            All the Orthopedic Surgeons wanted to do was give me medication!!
                            Sadly that's very common and don't even get me started on scoliosis - most doctors want to surgically correct this when in fact the problem mostly arises during the teenager years when bones grow faster than muscles do. This imbalance combine with side dominance postural habits can easily bend a spine into a curve. Instead of adressing the root cause - hypertonic back muscles on one side and muscles that are too lax on the other - the doctor quickly wants to reach for a knife and/or drugs!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As not every doctor is a specialist in the knowledge of every part of the human body not every vet. is a specialist in every species or part of that species. Still, they're got the education and the license and that's certainly worth something.

                              The facture was diagnosed by palpation at the very top of the hip. You can clearly see the unenveness. You can clrealy feel it when you compare the left and right hip. She offered an x-ray but said that would be just "running the meter" as it won't show more than palapation can determine and it won't make any difference in treatment given where the fracture is located.

                              In her opinion the mare can do the work we ask of her and she is not unusual discomfort from it. When asked to canter on the right lead she does have to work harder to compensate for the injury but in the vet's opinion some hill work to keep the back end strong and fit is sufficient.

                              My description is limited to my memory; I'd have to dig out the vet. record to go into more detail. What this tells me (and, I hope, the OP) is that this is a vet. problem, not a chiro, alternative, or complimentary problem, until otherwise determined.

                              Then it may be a specialty problem or just one that needs "wet blanket" treatment.

                              G.
                              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                What this tells me (and, I hope, the OP) is that this is a vet. problem, not a chiro, alternative, or complimentary problem, until otherwise determined.
                                Then your horse is missing out on an opportunity to potential get better! Vets practice medicine - they do not know everything, but I think they should be open to other ideas and add to their knowledge all the time. Not doing something that could potentially help, is also possibly doing harm. Too bad.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by ise@ssl View Post
                                  For those who doubt chiro - I have to assume you've never used it on yourself. After serious back injuries coming off horses - it was the road back to recovery for me. All the Orthopedic Surgeons wanted to do was give me medication!!
                                  I wouldn't say that......I would say that those who doubt have obviously never been to a really GOOD chiropractor!

                                  I've always gone to the chiropractor myself and never felt that it did any good for me. In the meantime my horses were like night and day prior to starting to see a chiro and after.....it was obvious to me that my horse chiro (and vet) was WAY more talented than the chiros I was seeing! I finally found a GREAT chiropractor surprisingly close to where I live (I had been driving 30+ minutes to see a mediocre on), and VOILA! All of my lifelong back problems were fixed within 6 sessions. The man is a miracle worker. Now I know how my horses feel!

                                  I think there are a lot of mediocre chiropractors out there in the horse world too. Some of the most highly recommended chiros (many of whom are highly regarded vets as well) in this area are "meh".....don't do any harm, but don't do a whole lot of good either. I'm always leery of someone who tells me my horses are in "perfect" condition and don't need any work. I don't bring someone in to see my horses for chiro "wellness checks."

                                  As for the "needing to be a vet" thing, one of the best body workers I've ever seen is neither a chiro nor a vet, but is my vet/chiro's mentor and who she brings in whenever she can't "get" to an issue on her own. So I ALWAYS recommend having a good chiro on board with your vet, but if you don't feel like it's helping at all I suggest finding a new one.
                                  __________________________________
                                  Flying F Sport Horses
                                  Horses in the NW

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by BornToRide View Post
                                    Then your horse is missing out on an opportunity to potential get better! Vets practice medicine - they do not know everything, but I think they should be open to other ideas and add to their knowledge all the time. Not doing something that could potentially help, is also possibly doing harm. Too bad.
                                    Excuse me? Just where did you get your veterinary training? In what states are you licensed? What post graduate vet. training have you recieved?

                                    G.
                                    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by c5rose View Post
                                      I adopted a quiet, uncomplicated and lightly raced OTTB mare last year. She had 6 months off after racing, then completed 100 days of professional dressage training, and has been a joy to ride and be around. No spook, attitude, bucking, bolting, etc. for 6+ months back under saddle in her new career.

                                      A few months ago, she started with an odd gate where her front end would trot and her back end would canter. She also has a very difficult time picking up right lead canter, and often switches behind.

                                      I had a highly recommended dressage instructor out to give her opinion, and she is convinced my mare's "hips are out of line" and recommended a chiropractor. In a walk, she said it's clear one hip is higher than the other when watching from behind. Also, it's clear in a video taken of me riding her that she reaches farther in trot with her left hind versus right hind.

                                      I called my mare's breeder, who is a veterinarian in PA, FL and KY, and he more or less said it's close to impossible for a horse chiropractor to manipulate the vertebrae in a horse's back because of how heavily muscled the area is, and the weight of a person isn't enough. He doesn't place much faith in horse chiropractors and cautioned me against it.

                                      So, what does "hips out of line" mean, and for those of you familiar with this, what did you do to help out your horse?
                                      I don't know the veterinarian who told you this, but it is a grossly misinformed opinion of what a chiropractor does.
                                      The purpose of the chiropractic adjustment for any skeletal structure, be it a vertebral joint or extremity, is to restore normal joint function, not reposition a bone. An imbalance could either be caussed by soft tissue derangement or an anatomical flaw in the bone or joint itself. You also have to determine what is meant by 'hip.' When a horse owner tells me their horse's hips our 'out' then points to the pelvis--then it means something else. The hips are where the femoral heads meet the acetabulum, or hip sockets. A lot of other things must be considered if chiropractic is going to help--namely everything below the hip socket starting with the foot, then fetlock, hock, and stifle. All of these are weight bearing joints and anyone of them could be the cause of an imbalance. There are four easy evaluations which are used to determine which therapy is right for the problem. The fourth one even rules out chirorpactic, meaning medical attention is required more than anything else.
                                      Dr. Daniel Kamen, D.C.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                                        Excuse me? Just where did you get your veterinary training? In what states are you licensed? What post graduate vet. training have you recieved?

                                        G.
                                        I don't have to be a licensed veterinarian to make observations like this!
                                        It is much more important to know HOW to think than simply what to think, which is what is generally is taught in schools. What to think has been proven many times over that it is not always correct!

                                        I wish more veterinarians would apply more critical thinking to what they learned in vet school - that goes for regular doctors too. They are smart enough and should be able to do so. If they would, I believe they would reach some rather different conclusions in many cases!

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