Beyond the Benefits of “Equine Chiropractic”

When your horse is having problems such as stiffness, stumbling, elusive lameness, and resistance to flexion, then like many other horse owners, consider “equine chiropractic” as an option to relieve your horse of these symptoms.


A recent article on discusses the increasing popularity of equine spinal manipulation therapy and how it can heal many issues causing pain, abnormal posture, and negative changes in behavior. Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy (VSMT) focuses on evaluating the spine for areas of decreased mobility and using a specific high speed thrust to restore proper mobility. Pelvis and limbs are also evaluated. Restoring mobility to the spine and skeletal system improves nerve conduction and circulation, and relieves muscle spasms thereby having a greater than local effect on the body.

While this can greatly improve health and performance, in some ways it only scratches the surface of what is possible with manual therapies.

As manipulative therapies become more popular, veterinarians are realizing that horses with non-specific lameness or changes in performance which cannot be pinpointed through conventional means respond favorably to treatment. Frustrated owners have looked outside standard veterinary diagnosis and treatment when their horse has not responded to traditional methods currently or in the past. It is exciting to offer methods that can help restore these horses to soundness and previous levels of performance or beyond. As well as prevent future lameness and health issues.

The number one reason owners request VSMT is that their horse is in pain. This can range from a change in behavior such as crankiness, biting during saddling, tail wringing, head tossing, poor work ethic; to change in posture, decreased lateral flexion or collection, dropping leads, lack of impulsion, ‘just not themselves’; to outward lameness, particularly ones that are elusive, recurring or shifting.


One of the best comments we have received is from an owner who had dubbed his young horse ‘lazy’ and at times a bit ‘surly’. After one treatment not only was the horse sound and able to be worked after 3 years of issues; but he was also now ‘forward’, ‘happy’, ‘wanting to go’.  Does this describe your horse? Maybe his bad attitude needs a real adjustment!

So what does a visit look like? Each practitioner has their own approach but the basics should include a static evaluation of posture and symmetry, gait analysis, motion palpation of the spine, pelvis and limbs. After a thorough history and examination of your horse, the practitioner can first determine if indeed this is an appropriate treatment route or if there are other medical issues present that would be best served through conventional means.


Legally, and for the best interest of you and your horse, spinal manipulation can only be done in Arizona and most other states by a licensed veterinarian with specialized training, or a human chiropractor (D.C.) with specialized training and certification working with permission of your veterinarian.

A variety of techniques can be used depending on the training of the individual and the needs of the horse. We employ many different approaches and techniques depending on the findings on examination, the temperament of the horse and the current priorities. Our current repertoire consists of Equine Osteopathic Manipulation, Craniosacral Therapy, Network techniques, Applied Kinesiology, Osteopathic Visceral Manipulation, integration of Acupuncture/Acupressure/Infrared Therapy, Equine Touch™ techniques, and Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation™ (VOM) using a Vetrostim® device. This allows us to go beyond just spinal manipulation and address the deeper issues within the body, mind and emotions, giving a ‘whole horse’ approach to health and performance.


If you would you like your horse to experience the difference integrative manipulative therapies can make… just contact us today! Dr. Debra will go beyond the basics for maximum healing of body and mind in your horse.