Friday 13 May 2016

Chiro Time

Yesterday Kachina saw the chiropractor. This was a first for both of us.
(Disclaimer, because chiropractic care is new to me, take all my descriptions with a giant grain of salt)

You get flower pictures from my garden instead
Love the little wild pansies, even if they are technically weeds
They were the first things to bloom in my garden this year

I've mentioned before that Kachina has a tendency to open her mouth and twist her head. She does it when I ride, but she also does it in a halter, so it's not a bit problem. I've had two different vets and an equine dentist look at her and they didn't find anything. It may just be a behavioral thing, and if it is, that's fine. However, I want to fully rule out any pain or physical reason, so I figured chiro was worth a shot.

Flowers under snow a few weeks ago

We hauled to the local rodeo grounds to meet with Dr. A, who is both an animal and human chiropractor. I learned my lesson with the equine dentist, and did a full check of her qualifications and what they include. Dr. A has a huge amount of training under her belt and has the certification that actually means something. She also is firm in her opinion that chiro must go hand-in-hand with vet care, it's not a replacement for vet care, I appreciate that.

Robin on our fence

I expected that the session would take place in a stall, but we ended up doing it in the open space outside in front of the barn. That meant my hands were pretty full holding Kachina so I wasn't able to take any photos.

More wild pansies

Kachina was pretty well behaved, she didn't seem to mind anything the chiropractor was doing. However, standing is not her forte and so there were a few times where she moved off and some circling was required to get her to stand again. Dr. A didn't make a big deal out of it and was patient which I appreciated.

And even more, love the variety

Dr. A started by rubbing some pressure points on Kachina's hindquarters which immediately made Kachina lift up her whole back quite dramatically. Apparently she showed good reaction and range of motion. Dr. A then started work on the back end of her spine. She explained that Kachina was pretty good in the lumbar area, but was off in her sacrum. Her sacrum vertebrae were apparently tilted to the side, which allowed her to spine to bend right but not left (this would match up with Kachina's tight and loose side while riding). She did some adjustments there. Kachina was also apparently quite tender in the tail head. After working on the back end, Dr. A moved forward. No issues were found in the mid-back or shoulders, and just one adjustment was needed in the withers.

White lilacs in bloom

Dr. A then came right up to the head and worked the rest of the way back from there. Kachina was out in her C1 vertebrae so that was adjusted. It sounds like with poll issues, the C2 vertebrae plus something in front of the C1 can also be out, but with Kachina it was just the C1 so that's good. Dr. A then got Kachina to bend her neck in each direction and she found something out in her mid-neck.

Dr. A finished by doing a tail pull and putting pressure on her jaw in a way that is relaxing for the horse. Kachina must have thought it felt good because her eyes started to droop and it looked like she was going to fall asleep!

Purple lilacs - they smell amazing

The overall verdict as I understand it, is that the mid-neck and C1 issues could explain her weird mouth opening. The front end issues are probably a result of her overcompensating for the sacrum area being out.

These tulips were such a nice surprise
(we moved into the house in fall last year, so didn't know they were here)

After the adjustments, we were standing there chatting and Kachina had 6-7 big yawns back to back so it seems like the chiro work did something for her. I'm going riding this afternoon so I'm interested to see if I feel any differences.

No idea what these are, but they're pretty

Dr. A has a policy that for first-time patients she likes to do a minimum of 3 appointments, so we'll be going back next Tuesday for #2. My plan is to do the 3 appointments and see how that goes. What I'm not sure of is how often follow-up appointments should be going forward, or if follow-ups are required, any suggestions?

Sweet little white flowers


  1. Sounds like you found a good one. This is a funny field--I've had good results with over-qualified and un-qualified people and have seen people all over the spectrum of qualification who I'd never let touch my horse. Glad you found someone worthwhile.

    1. You're right, qualification certainly isn't everything, but I do find it to be one important piece of the puzzle. Once I met her, she checked a lot of other boxes too - she seemed competent, was nice to my horse, explained what she was doing, and readily admitted that chiropractic care doesn't help in every case (I see huge red flags when anybody tells me that what they do works all the time and that everyone else is wrong)

      Only time will tell whether this actually helps Kachina though

  2. I went to a chiropractor once and found it terrifying, so I haven't been very into chiro for Stinker. But this sounds interesting.

    1. I've never been to a chiropractor myself and for a lot of my life I've thought chiro was essentially BS pseudo-science. Then, at a horse expo last year I saw a presentation put on by a lady who was both a vet and a horse chiropractor. It was a very interesting presentation and totally changed my perspective. It's still terrifying that there are people out there who call themselves "horse chiropractors" and try and adjust spines after only a weekend course, but real chiropractic care seems a lot less hokey than I first thought. (Hint: look for people certified with The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) or The College of Animal Chiropractors (CoAC).) I will let you know how it goes with Kachina :)