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For the first post this year, as promised on my instagram (@TofinoDuLys), I mentioned that I will upload a post on Equine Osteopathy, and here it finally is!
Osteopathy differs from physiotherapy (musculoskeletal) and a chiropracty (structural). Osteopathy uses both physical techniques and structural alterations to remove tension and restrictions to the whole body.
Just like regular athletes, horses also need to be looked after in terms of their muscles and structure.
A couple of months ago, the well known Equine Osteopath, Herve Baldassari, came to the UAE to work on some horses. Herve works as part of EquiCare, which is based in France. So we were very lucky to have him come to the UAE, and hopefully, with more visits to come in the future as any form of physical treatment, whether for human or horse, always needs a followup.
Tofino has had a number of osteopaths take a look at him but I never found it super beneficial, until Herve Baldassari came along. He dedicates a full 45 minutes to each horse and checks them head to toe which i was super pleased about! He is able to diagnose your horse of issues from tummy aches to stifle problems.
Benefits of Osteopathy:
- Improves performance
- Improves flexibility (increase range of motion)
- Improves behavior (kicking, bucking etc.)
- Improves horses wellbeing
- Reduces pain
- Relieves tension
- Maintains mobility
- Assists in rehabilitation
- Diagnoses troubled areas
Here is a quick video for an insight of an osteopathy session (watch in HD):
Generally, horses are very relaxed by the end of the session as they can feel the tension being relieved. They will most likely be sore after and require 2-3 days loose work before getting back to your usual activities. This however, varies between horses as some may be able to get back to work straight away, while others may need to be off for 2 weeks. Your osteopath will provide you with specific exercises that you will need to commit to in order to help your horse as much as possible after the session.
In my experience, the more frequently your horse sees an osteopath, the healthier and stronger they become as athletes. With that being said, make sure your osteopath is qualified and takes his time with your horse, as it can do irreversible damage if done incorrectly. If you cannot afford to pay for an Equine Osteopath, perhaps ask them beforehand and hopefully they can make a deal with you of some sort.
You can also take a look at some stretches you can do in order to help your horse keep loose. I would suggest doing this whether your horse sees an osteopath or not:
Whether they are simply school horses or hardcore competition horses, I believe it is necessary to get them done/checked at least twice a year.