Prevention Is Better Than Cure

It often seems that our horses’ health problems come out of nowhere and from one day to the other. He did so well yesterday!

And this happens, for example, after accidents or falls. Though, many issues that demand our attention and prompt us to act are secondary. They often started much earlier in a different place than where they appear as a problem. What we see now often arises out of compensation, or a chain of compensation, for some other problem that wasn’t quite obvious.

Remember when the horse got stuck in his stall and seemed perfectly okay afterwards? Or is the horse less willing to go forward than before? When riding, is she heavy on the bit or shaking her head? Does he show resistances when tacking up? Does she frequently change to cross canter? The list could go on for a while.

(c) Dusan Kostic

Today more than ever we understand the connections in the horse’s body and continue to learn which problems are connected and where the causes may be. To cite just one example, our understanding of connections throughout the whole body is much greater today than it was a few years ago through our knowledge of myofascial kinetic lines that connect the entire body. And a blockage of the temporomandibular joint, which is of great importance in ridden horses, can lead to problems in completely different parts of the body. The muscular connections to the shoulder can cause disturbances in rhythm in the ridden horse and front leg lameness, for example.

But even in the past, veterinarians and other experienced horse people have already passed on their experience and knowledge about connections in the horse’s body and problems that are interrelated. So the problem and the knowledge about it are nothing new.

On the one hand, what we need are therapists who understand and recognize these connections and can therefore treat the cause instead of mere symptoms. And on the other hand, we need horse owners who know the value of prevention and take advantage of it. First, for the well-being of the horses, and second, for a more harmonious partnership between rider and horse.

If we do this, we can respond to minor disturbances early and prevent things from getting worse or occurring at all. Thus, it makes sense to have your horse checked by an acupuncturist, osteopath or manual therapist (semi-)annually.

In addition, one of the strengths of traditional Chinese medicine and therefore of acupuncture and acupressure is prevention. Since we can detect imbalances very early with this modality, which differs significantly in its approach from western conventional medicine, we are able to take countermeasures before more serious problems may manifest. This coupled with the knowledge of anatomical and biomechanical relationships makes both acupuncture and acupressure a powerful modality both in prevention and in the addressing of existing complaints.