Remember that song when you were a kid that went something like this, “the hip bone is connected to the funny bone, the leg bone is connected to the jaw bone…?” It’s true, everything in the body is interconnected.
Horses kept showing me this over and over again. Each horse that would come in for training would have a different issue, but it would all come back to body work and how everything within the body is interconnected.
Cooper, a 10 year old Palomino Quarter Horse, displayed some stiffness on his right side. He showed me from the ground that going to the left was no problem to bend on the arc of the circle, but when he went to the right he could not bend his body on the arc of the circle. I also found under saddle when cueing for a canter he would crow hop, and when asked to side pass he would either crow hop or slightly rear. After these displays of what is typically considered bad behavior, I evaluated his body. His jaw was misaligned, he had signs of hooks and possible sharp points on his teeth, his poll was out (rotated down to the right), he also had some ribs out on the right side, and his hips were out of alignment. These findings completely explained his previous “bad” behavior. Cooper was telling me, “hey it’s painful for me to do what you’re asking and this is the best way I know how to get your attention.”
If your horse is displaying “bad” behavior have a professional come evaluate his/her body structure. What I have found to be the first and foremost area of the body to ensure is correct are the teeth. The teeth play such an enormous role in body structure and comfort. Work with a natural dentist as power tools (even with the best hands) often create pathology that is very detrimental to the horse’s overall well being. Once you know the teeth are correct, then work with other body professionals like chiropractors, massage therapists, and the list goes on and on to help restore the horse’s body to overall well being. Always remember to evaluate your saddle fit as part of your body assessment program; as your horse’s body condition changes with work, no work, climate, etc.
Want more proof? Check out the following articles in the August/September 2013 issue of Holistic Horse Magazine: “Horses Hide Their Pain” by Laura Bedford; “It’s All Connected” by Karina Lewis; and “Foals with Contracted Tendons,” by Janet Crow. These articles provide excellent examples of helping the horse’s body heal so the horse can live a happier and more productive life.