Woodfield Equine Rehabilitation Centre Woodbank Road, Hanmer Springs 7360, New Zealand

healthy horses

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it that some horses which are competed heavily and dont appear to be treated gently still seem to do well?  Is body work necessary?

Just watch these horses, do they have their ears pricked and look keen to do their job?  Do they come out show after show, season after season and keep winning?  If they do they are probably either getting very well cared for between competitions, have a regular bodywork carer, or are being better looked after than you perhaps think.  If they dont have the above indicators, they will soon start to resist and avoid the discomfort caused by constant pressure of competiton, both mental and physical. 

Human athletes know how to keep form between long competition schedules, and animals are just the same.  If we dont allow stress healing time and facilitation then this will compound until the pain or inability to "do the work" will start to show.

It is a measure of the equine that it will try its hardest through much discomfort to please its human.  We are the thick, ignorant twits who place human skills of deviance on the horse, saying its trying to get out of working today!!... really if a horse was that intelligent it wouldnt let us on its back in the first place.  They do their best to the level of training they have had, within the ability of their bodies pretty much all the time, the only variable is our training skills and communication techniques with them. 

If a horse does well consistently then it probably likes its rider and and understands what is expected.  Some horses can handle alot being asked of them, some not.  Some just need consistent signals and praise when they get it right, some can switch off and "fill in" for rider inadequacies.   Like people its luck of the draw as to what sort of horse you have, and how it will deal with the situation.  They are more perceptive than people give them credit for.

How often should i have my horse checked for soreness or injury?

I recommend for the pleasure horse, twice a year general checkover and bodywork.  Once before a turnout period and again after they have resumed training for a few weeks and done the basic fitness work.  Horses in serious competition work should have monthly sessions to keep at peak health, and also racehorses are much less likely to break down with regular bodywork.  Soft tissue work is generally more beneficial than "chiropractic" adjustments, as the soft tissue and ligaments are what holds the skeleton in place.  If they are healthy and functioning properly there should be little need for chiropractic work. 

Post dental work is another good time for a checkup, as TMJ (jaw joint) inbalance can cause lots of compensation problems to develop throughout the body, and releasing tension and dysfunction after teeth have been addressed is very beneficial. 

My friend uses a chiropracter who ajusts her horse with mallets.  Is this common and is it safe.  It looks very violent and forceful to me?

If it doesnt look right, and you wouldnt like it done to you, then it probably isnt right, and no its not a safe method of treating unless possibly done by a very well qualified veterinarian.  My best advice is if your bodyworker uses force or tools like that, hide your horse round the back of the barn.  I have heard great horror stories about chiropractic work done by untrained people, just becasue a horse is a big animal doesnt mean big forces are necessary. Quite the opposite, they are very sensitive and spinal alignments can be done very easily by relaxing the supporting soft tissue and encouraging the horse to make a natural movement with food is generally a successful technique.  Some chiros use an "activator" which is a low amplitude impulse device that can be more accurately positioned than a hand.  This is an acceptable and safe device in the right professional hands.

Equine health


To Contact Us:
Woodfield Equine Rehabilitation Centre, 415 Woodbank Road Hanmer Springs, NZ

Phone 0800 452 642 or 0274 347 090 ph/text
or 03 315 5125 a/h
Email: janice.clyma@xtra.co.nz

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