Equine osteopathy is a science and system of healing based on the translation of human osteopathic principles and techniques to the horse. At its core is a belief in the strong connection between anatomical structure & mobility and the horse’s overall health. Osteopathy treatments involve manual therapy (“adjustments”) to improve mobility throughout the entire body. Treatment usually consists of a combination of soft tissue (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) releasing techniques, and some specific adjustments affecting joints. By creating mobility, especially in the spine and nervous system, we promote health and allow the body to balance itself.
Structural Osteopathy was developed for people in the United States by Dr. Andrew Still in the 1860s. He started a school for human osteopathic medicine in the 1890s, and popularity soared by the turn of the twentieth century. People came from around the globe to learn what he was teaching and brought his principles back to their native countries. The European osteopathic schools developed two other avenues of treatment: Cranial Sacral therapy and Visceral osteopathy, making osteopathy more effective and more holistic. Adapting osteopathic principles and techniques to horses is relatively new. Dr. Dominique Giniaux and Pascal Everard were some of its founding fathers, as was Janek Vluggen. Mr. Vluggen started an international school of Equine Osteopathy in 2005 and began teaching veterinarians and therapists in Europe and North America these principles. Now we are a small but determined group of equine health professionals worldwide, slowly growing and promoting wellness, mobility and a whole-horse approach to equine care.
Should I ride immediately following an osteopathic session?
No. We recommend that your horse stay quiet in a stall or small paddock for 24 hours, and then be turned out for another 24 hours before riding him/ her again. We encourage you to start hand-walking and suppling exercises immediately after a session and during those two days, as well as after you begin riding again.
How often should my horse have an osteopathic session?
For older horses or horses in pain, 2-3 sessions one month apart are usually necessary initially. After that, 2-4 times a year is usually adequate to maintain mobility. If a horse suddenly become stiff or suffers an injury or trauma, then a visit may be advisable sooner.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Our office is open 9AM to 5PM Monday through Friday. Call or e-mail to schedule an appointment today! If you call after regular business hours to schedule an appointment, leave a message with our answering service and we will return your call promptly the next business day.
When would osteopathy not be enough?
When looking at the whole horse, uneven shoeing, unbalanced teeth, poor saddle fit, rider balance and training error can all play a role in the recurrence of osteopathic disorders. We strive to work with a team of professionals, including your regular horse care providers, to address these concerns. In addition, if medical pathology has occurred, osteopathy will not be the answer, and conventional veterinary medical principles will be applied.