Wednesday, April 18, 2012


The Chiropractic Vet came to visit us the other day. I haven't used her before, but she was recommended by someone I respect. She was here for two hours, conducting chiropractic evaluations and adjustments as well as doing Coggin's tests and providing spring shots. The boys were thoroughly poked, prodded and inspected!

The exam began with an assessment of their gaits.
Forward and back at the walk and the trot. 
Doc needed a bit of encouragement to trot.
(Remember that 'Slow' post?!!)

 She literally went over each horse from tip to toe. 
Here she's starting Doc's exam,
feeling vertebrae along his neck. 
She also felt the neck as she asked each horse to 
bend laterally left and right.
The Doctor 'Doc' was impressed with the horse 'Doc's' lateral flexibility!
Hooray for Clinton Anderson's influence in having me
ask for lateral flexion every time I ride!

Each section of the spine was assessed for
range of movement and possible pain.
Notes were taken; 
(see the clipboard in the vet student's hands?)

Each hoof was wiggled in circles and the movement of bones was evaluated.
Here she is stretching the foreleg and the neck. 
She commented that it was easy to get Pippin to do this...
He is so food-oriented, he was looking for a treat!
This led to an intriguing discussion.
I mentioned that because of  Pippin's food obsession
we had thought that perhaps he was starved at some point in his life.
She considered that, but then offered that maybe he
had been an orphaned foal. 
Hmmmm.... we will never know!
Pippin's not talking (or.... is he?!)

As she rotated the leg out, she commented,
"I bet you didn't know a horse's shoulder could move this way!"
She was right!

The Vet 'Doc' prescribed some exercises and stretches
for the horse 'Doc'.
His sciatic area on the right side is a bit stiff. 
He seems to have a bit of a hitch in his giddy-up.
Here she demonstrates the exercise on Pippin:
The second step is to perform the same action
but bring the hoof back 'one step'.
Doc doesn't easily make 'circles' on his right side. 
His hoof moves in ovals. 
She said I could do this with both horses 
as it does keep them supple.

The Doc 'Doc' moved on to adjustments.

In addition to the hoof circles, 
she suggested three other exercises.
I have a lousy video of one of them below, 
but it may help understand what she's asked me to do.
This is for Pippin who has some tightness 
in the lumbar region of his spine:

What I'm supposed to do is hold him gently near the base of the tail with one hand. Then beginning at the withers, wiggle his back laterally, moving all the way down to his hips. You can kinda see it in the video. The Doc 'Doc' can really get the horses' backs wiggling. It looks very relaxing! The Doc 'Doc' was insistent that I practice under her supervision. Let me tell you, she makes it look really easy!

I'm also supposed to 'move' both horses backs vertically. I am to push up on their abdomen, just behind the girth area. She uses her finger tips and pushes, so the horses oppose the touch by pulling up until their spine is almost flat. Then, first, just behind their withers, I am to plant my fingers on the far side of the spine and gently, but firmly, push down and pull toward me. She suggested doing this four times on each side, moving down the spine and ending in front of the hips. The final exercise, for Doc, is to back slowly (easy peasy for Doc) and deliberately for 5 to 8 steps. This will help with the stiffness in his sacrum. 

I was so pleased with the visit. Both boys have minor issues. The Doc 'Doc' explained that there are many, many horse owners out there that would wish their horses had the problems my horses have. I was amazed at how thoroughly she examined the boys, and the caring she exhibited. At the end, she gave each horse a cuddle and a pat or two. She did say that she loved Pippin's mustache... and thought both boys were just too darned cute! Awww, it makes a mama proud!


  1. I love getting compliments on Shy, it does make a mama proud!
    Don't you wish horses came with a history we could read about? It would make training so much easier, instead of trying to guess the reasons they do things.

    Very cool visit! And so thorough! I like the exercises that you are able to do.

  2. So interesting. I'll have to have mom try these on Pippi. Would be very helpfull.

  3. Thank you! This was very informative. I have never had my horses done, but it makes me want to. I did, however, just start doing exercises to raise Berlin's back. I wish I could have watched the whole thing.

  4. Camryn here: I'd like to have a chiro cracker too. Mom says she'll try to stash some cash and maybe get me one too. My shoulder crackles sometimes, like Mom's knees do.

  5. A very thorough exam! The boys were such good patients!

  6. We have a equine chiro coming on Friday to see Cowboy and D. It's amazing what they can do.

  7. Well no wonder those boys ran off...they probably were going to get poked and prodded and didn't want anything to do with it! I wish all animals came with some sort of history. I sure would help us understand our dogs. When we first got the younger dog, he would hoard food under a chair. We figured he did it because he had been in the park a few days and didn't want to go hungry again. You're a good horse mamma!

    Cindy Bee

  8. I meant to say...they probably KNEW they were going to get poked and prodded.....

  9. Yes, very cool and no I didn't know a shoulder could do that!!!! Crazy!! Thanks

  10. Sounds like it was a good visit and very interesting indeed. Looks like they quite enjoyed it!

  11. Those are some really awesome, interesting exercises! Thanks for sharing the videos. I'm glad both boys got a good review. Now you just need to send her my way because I need someone to do my horses lol! We have ONE equine chiropractor here and he mainly does humans (not a vet). I don't know anyone who has used him for horses so I have no idea if he's any good. Kind of afraid to try!


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