Yesterday evening I spent at the track, holding racehorses for our chiropractor, Dr. Troy Stevens. Whoever mentioned that tapping on the forehead is a good distraction for farrier work – you were right. Although the horses like our chiropractor, we wouldn’t be calling him if they weren’t in pain, so they are generally a little restless when someone moves in to the spot that’s bothering them. With the steady, soft tapping, both mares lowered their heads until they were practically resting them on my chest, and let Dr. Stevens go to work.
We’ve been very fortunate to have a really excellent chiropractor in our area who is very experienced working with horses. (Dr. Stevens is also my personal chiropractor, and in the last two weeks he has treated my knee so that I am no longer using crutches to walk.) While I have seen the benefits of chiropractic care on pleasure horses, with the racehorses it’s much more obvious, because their performance is measurable. With a combination of massage, photonic laser stimulation of acupuncture points, and chiropractic, we’ve seen horses go from finishing dead last to being in the money week after week. It’s pretty simple, really – if something, such as a rotated pelvis, out-of-adjustment pastern, or compressed vertebrae is causing them pain and/or the inability to stride correctly, they are unable to perform at their innate capability.
One thing’s for certain – the trainers at the track almost without exception fall into an old-school attitude about anything new – training methods, feed, health care, whatever it is, if it’s new, it’s automatically suspect. Prove it, is the general response. I think it says a lot about chiropractic care in general and Dr. Stevens in particular that we have been able to develop a steady clientele for him at the track.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a horse perform excellently, and knowing you had a hand in it. Being open-minded is a good place to start.