What should I expect when I have you out to adjust my horse?
We will arrive and begin by a brief introduction to you and your horse, and then take a thorough history of your horse. Next we will watch your horse walk and/or trot/canter to evaluate their gait. The actual adjustment involves placing our hands on your horse and evaluating each joint by gentle pressure. When we find a joint that is not moving the way it should (or “stuck”) we apply an adjustment–which is a quick, gentle push in a very specific direction to restore the normal motion of that joint. Generally speaking, we start with the joints of the pelvis/sacrum and work our way up to the poll. Every joint of the spine is evaluated (unless there is a specific contraindication) and depending on the case and the animal, we often check the extremities–shoulders, stifles, hocks, knees, hooves, tail, and ribs. Every adjustment includes a brief evaluation of the hooves and a detailed explanation if we have concerns about hoof form or function.
In cases of soft tissue injuries, severe issues, or repetitive stress injuries, we often utilize additional techniques. Dr Julie has advanced training or education in multiple techniques including: kinesiotaping/Rock tape, Graston technique, ART, TPT, massage, Masterson technique, and equine rehab (including stretching and strengthening exercises).
My horse got sore after a trim. What happened? And what should I do?
Typically this happens for two main reasons, (but it could be a number of things).
1. The most common reason is inadequate hoof development that leads to tenderness when the foot is changed, or shortened. If you are wondering what this means… please see the article titled “Are my horses feet healthy?”
2. If your horse does have healthy feet, the next most common reason for them to be sore would be environmental. If your horse lives in a very wet pasture or manure filled area, their hooves are constantly being exposed to weather conditions causing them to soften. Here is my favorite analogy for this scenario: Let’s say you are a person who likes to walk around barefoot outside and can handle gravel with no problem. If you were to go have a pedicure, and they soften up your feet and then remove all the calluses, you would know longer be able to walk on gravel roads comfortably. It is the same thing with our horses. When they live in very soft wet environments it’s often their hooves and makes it difficult for them to travel comfortably on anything firmer or sharper, such as pavement or gravel.
3. If your horse does have a healthy foot, and your pastures are dry and firm, it may just be a matter of waiting too long in between trims. Most horses need a trim at least every six weeks for most of the year, with longer stretches being possible in the very cold months. If you are waiting any longer than six weeks to get them trimmed there is always potential for them to be sore. Some horses may need to be trimmed between 3-5 weeks if their hooves grow faster than normal or if they have other issues. The reason for this is simply that the more hoof material that is allowed to grow, the more stuff there is to be removed. When you have to remove a lot of hoof, it becomes harder for the horse to adapt quickly. It would be akin to wearing hiking boots outside to walk on gravel, and then switching abruptly to stocking feet. Most people would not be able to do this without ample time to adapt. Horses are no different.
4. Lastly, if you have a horse with healthy feet, a hard dry pasture, and routine 4 to 6 week trims from a qualified and PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED farrier, and they still are getting foot sore after a trim, there is likely some underlying pathology (structural issues). This may be as simple as a stone bruise or as complicated as ringbone, founder, etc.
I can’t afford the treatment you recommended… what should I do?
First and foremost–talk to me! We ALWAYS strive to do what is best for the patient and we will work with you however possible. We accept all major forms of payment: cash, checks, credit cards, and debit cards. We have treatment packages with affordable monthly payments and we can do payment plans upon approval.
Also, please know that we promise to always have upfront and honest pricing, with no surprises! We will not charge you more than we have quoted without your knowledge and consent.
Lastly, if you absolutely cannot afford to have us perform the needed services we will gladly work with you to get your animal the help they need. We may be able to find another professional that can help, give you lessons or home exercises to do yourself, etc.
My horse bites, kicks, or isn’t trained to stand for the farrier. Will you still help me?
We can offer some options for you, yes! Please tell us BEFORE scheduling the appointment so that we can allow ample time to work with your horse. Usually in these cases one of three things will happen.
1. Dr Julie (often with the assistance of a helper) will spend a little more time working with your horse and get the work done that needs to be done. We do NOT use harsh training methods or corporal punishment. Typically how this is done is by having the horse in a working area (round pen) with a rope halter. When the horse behaves inappropriately, they will be asked to move their feet immediately and until they yield. This process is repeated until they stand quietly. You may be charged extra for time spent.
2. We will work with you to have a veterinarian come sedate your horse so we can get everything done safely. This is often the safest route possible for everyone (including the horse!) and typically only needs to be done a few times until the horse stands quietly.
3. We can recommend a qualified trainer to work alongside us, or to work with your horse until they can safely be trimmed/evaluated for chiropractic.
Someone told me I should put down my animal due to his health issues (or lameness issues). Is it worth having you out to take a look?
In a word, Yes!!
Every professional has a different opinion and there have been COUNTLESS times that we have had patients referred to us after they had been recommended euthanasia. To date, all of the owners we have seen that have had pets with recommended euthanasia have avoided this and been able to have healthy pets again*! These cases have included dogs and cats with disc injuries, many many laminitis cases, navicular, white line disease, and more.
*(Owners must have reasonable ability to follow a basic treatment plan)