Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Equine Chiropractic & Head Shaking?

Last week I had the good fortune of going out for a little Christmastime coffee and pastries with friends.  We hadn't had a chance to do that much these last few months, so there was a lot of catching up.  During that time together, Cowboy's condition was discussed...briefly, but enough so that one of them forwarded me a new article on head shaking. 

I thought I'd read and heard it all, and maybe I did read this, too, but it sure seemed like a new idea....chiropractic work for equine head shaking.

I know a lot of you use chiropractors, but I never have and have never wanted to go down that road.  My feeling has always been that a horse will naturally work things out.  I respect that others do it, and I've seen one in action and was very impressed with her technique and knowledge, but it just wasn't for me.

Yet, I have this competing mental twitch--I always look for patterns, in life and with horses.  I kept thinking...Cowboy broke his P3....he stands with his left foot out all the he's shaking his head....head shaking has to do with the trigeminal nerve....BRICK WALL.

Maybe it's not a brick wall after all.  Maybe, just maybe, his head shaking is from pressure from his back putting pressure on or pinching his trigeminal nerve. 

I have calls into various people, and I'll soon know how to proceed, but I can assure you, the next thing that will happen is a chiropractic consulation for Cowboy.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experience with this?


  1. We've used chiropractors when our horses are off -- and I've been impressed with their knowledge and results. Here in California, they are required to be a vet so that also helps weed out the "out there" ones. Good luck! And thanks for your comment on my post. I know that you have felt exactly as I am feeling now. You described it perfectly. It sure helps having blogger friends.

  2. Some things you just never know till you try it. I have only used a horse message person, I had a horse who's eyes watered all the time, she used to clean his nose and then his eyes would not water. Not sure what or how she did it but it worked. Anyway you just never know what can work.

  3. I think it's an excellent idea. You don't really have a lot to lose at this point, and it might be a wonderful thing. Find one that a lot of people have had good experiences with. I've tried the same chiropractor twice with my horses, both times with no results, but then later it turned out their lamenesses were not treatable by a chiropractor. Which may or may not mean the chiropractor is no good...

    You'll probably think this is out there but I think someone who does energy work might be even better than a chiropractor. I have a chiropractor I go to who can do the most minimal things, sometimes just holding his fingertips on a point that seemingly has nothing to do with my problem area... he sometimes stays there for what seems like forever and suddenly that whole area relaxes (I didn't know it wasn't relaxed in the first place) and I go home feeling weird and tired and the next day I feel great. He's helped with strange muscle and tendon issues and body aches that no other chiropractor could help for more than a few days (sometimes a few minutes). I don't know why it works or how he knows where the trouble is, but it has made life a heck of a lot more comfortable.

    I know Kyya Grant in Othello knows a couple people who travel and might be able to help, if you don't find someone in Spokane. Her website is

    And of course let us know how it goes! I really hope it helps.

  4. No experience here. Just learning from others. I wanted to get an equine chiropractor for Gabbrielle when her mysterious lameness was coming and going, and always disappearing when the vet came out, but then money got tight and the trainer said she thought the lameness was psychological -- a way to get out of work. Her lameness seems to be gone now, knock on wood, but if it comes back I will try a chiropractor because she might pick up on something even if G isn't lame on the day she comes out. If you can afford an appointment, it can't hurt to go down that path.

  5. I have had good success with equine chiropractors, and Sherry over at Fen Valley Appaloosas recommends Bluequine (link on my blog under Other Horse Sites) osteopaths. I'd love to try them for Coyote Belle.

  6. I have no experience with Chiropractors, but this sounds really logical and well worth a try!! Keep us posted!

  7. Linda--I have been much like you, not wanting to go down that road, and for the same reasons. But, that said, I have seen a chiro do an incredible job turning around a friend's young horse who was struggling in many ways. I asked this chiro to work on a horse I had that had a mystery lameness (maybe 15 years ago). He told me something I found very useful. He said, "If I work on this horse and he gets better, even if he doesn't stay better, then I can help him. If I work on him and you see no change within 48 hours, then I can't help him, and future treatments will do no good." It turned out that I saw no change, and sure enough, though we tried several chiropractors, none could help this horse. I just put that out there in case its useful to you.

  8. I've used a chiropractor a few times on one of my horses with good results. In fact, twice in the last 3 months. The farrier was working on my big appy, Hombre and all was fine until he went to put his front foot up on the stand. Hombre just completely dropped his back down and looked like he was going to fall completely over, numerous times. My farrier ran his hand down his back and he completely shrank away from him when he got to a certain spot. I called the chiropractor out and she adjusted him and he was fine. The 2nd time I was heading out to feed in the morning, it was very cold and they were full of it, I looked down and then I heard the fence start to go, looked up to see Hombre standing up on his hind legs rolling backwards through the fence and landing on his back right in front of me. He got right back up and I checked him over for cut before I got mad that they had just broken the fence - again but, later when I went out to tack him up, I asked for his right hind and he winged it out sideways instead of just lifting it nicely for me to pick out. I called the chiro again and he had the same reaction with her. She adjusted him and he was fine after that and you could hear it pop when she did it! I figure I go to the chiropractor once a month because everything in my neck and back are out, I can't get it to adjust on its own and I feel so much better after that it can't hurt to do it for my horses occasionally. If I had fallen thru the fence like that I'd definitely need some chiropractic work done! In the big picture, it's not overly expensive in fact it's probably the least expensive thing I've done for the horses. Sharla

  9. I'm with you thinking less is more. But we've had good luck with chiropractors and the results in our horses is nothing short of amazing. We were lucky to find a practitioner who is also a vet and does acupuncture too. That said we also had a vet come from the clinic once and she was not very good and we never used her again so it's important to get the right person.

    It makes sense to me that Cowboy's head shaking may be aggravated by his P3 problem. I'd try it you might be surprised because it might just work.

    Good luck to you and Cowboy. Best wishes for a happy healthy New Year.

  10. Thanks everyone, for your input about equine chiropractic, it seems it's all overwhelmingly positive. As Andrea said, I don't really have anything to lose. I have a lot to gain though through the daily contact with my horses in a more quiet and low-stress activity. I'm really looking forward to this new path.

  11. It sounds rather promising... And makes sense. Worth giving it a try!

  12. I don't have experience with it for me or my horse, but I know the manager of my barn has one for their older horse as do a few other boarders.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.