Equine Osteopathy

Osteopathy – a system of complementary medicine involving the treatment of medical disorders through the manipulation and massage of the skeleton and musculature.

For a while I have been wanting to get a specialist out to have a look over Eva and make sure she is comfortable as I start to really push forward in our competing this year. We have had physios in the past but none willing to go near her royal highnesses backend and, to be honest, I don’t blame them! After consideration I decided to get a local osteopath out. We haven’t had one out before and as the guy is based so close I thought I should book in and at least see if it works for us.

Eva is always decidedly unimpressed with strangers. Never mind if they come into her stable and touch her. Once she is used to you she settles down but strangers she get very suspicious of and with that she gets rude and boisterous…. mares.

We had a quick chat on why I had called him out I explained that I’m not 100% sure she is comfortable through her back in canter, but also wanted a good check over.

He got straight to work not giving Eva much time to over react. Starting with the neck were there was a few pops then the front legs. All of this was done outside her stable. When it got to her back she was much more sensitive and charged forward when he got to a sensitive part. So we decided to go to her stable for that. I stood with a short lead rope slightly to the side so that if she went forward I could pull her round and he could stay with her still working her back.

It then came to her back legs. As expected Eva did resist however he calmly continued and didn’t let her throw tantrums to get away with anything. As expected Eva was in shock. How dare this strange man come in to her stable and start man handling her. Who does he think he is ??!?!

Now I’m not particularly a believer in energies and controlling them e.c.t. I’m very sceptical over these things. But at the same time if I cannot prove something to be definitively false then how can I argue that it’s not true.

So when someone says they can relax your horses energy I am one to say “prove it and good luck with my mare“.

At the end of the session he put a hand lightly behind her ears and the other hovering over her forelock. I could see that he barely was touching her. And I was holding on to the head collar which I was not putting pressure on. Evas head slowly lowered. What I expected was Eva’s head to lower but her eyes still look alert and suspicious of the stranger. But I looked at her eyes and they were closing. As if she was falling straight to sleep.

He then gave her a pat and we left the stable and Eva was left standing at the back looking confused as to this person that had come in and burst her personal bubble and then made her feel sleepy.

It was something I had never seen done before and it is something that I would assume that Eva would not be one to corporate with, had I not seen it for myself I would not of believed it.

His conclusion of the treatment was as expected. She was tight all through her withers and down her back. Once he had worked out her back he went back over to massage it which she quite enjoyed so she was obviously feeling a lot better.

He said for the next day to do figures of 8s bending to either side so that she keeps flexing her through her back and to focus on bending evenly.

I will be interested to see how she feels over the next few days and won’t be jumping for the next week at least. We have our dressage coming up so we can focus on that.

I purposely didn’t post the above as I wanted to include how Eva felt over the next few weeks. If you read the March Dressage post then you will know we had plenty of distractions during that day to really get a feel of how she was. However while riding one night in the week before the dressage we did get a comment from another rider saying she is looking “much more subtle“.

It has now been a few weeks since the treatment and she is still feeling great from it. I would definitely consider getting the guy out again. I don’t feel like it is something that she would need monthly but perhaps at the start of the year as we come out of winter is a good time to get her seen to. I liked the fact that through her discomfort bucks in the stable the man just calmly kept working away at her back, I think it was definitely needed just to get things feeling comfortable for her again. I also liked that at the end when he was massaging her back you could see the difference in her face she was wriggling her nose and loving it – compared to five minutes earlier were she was charging around trying to get us away from her.

I have started jumping again and pushing forward with lots of lessons and she is really showing that she’s got springs and her canter is so much more forward. Comparing it to before were it felt like the canter was a bit stuck I can now adjust the canter and when I send her forward I can feel the power from behind.


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