By Dr. Beth Harrill
With the Spring competitive season at its peak, we invest hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars to ensure that our horses feel and perform at their best. They are our everything. We give 110% to ensure their well-being and success. Our best horses get PEMF and chiropractic on Fridays, 5 SmartPak supplements daily, hock injections every 6-12 months, saddle fitting every 6 months, and sports a $175 set of shoes that wear out every 5 weeks. Meanwhile, we were bucked off last Tuesday, have weekly migraines, and suffer from sciatica that feels like a freight train just ran us over. No worries - we can still muck 10 stalls a day, unload the 100 bales of hay that just arrived and ride the 4 horses waiting on us in the barn!
We rarely look back and consider the effects that our body, its position on their back, and our structural inequalities have on our trusted mounts. Self-care is limited to a La Croix in one hand and a bottle of ibuprofen in the other. Just how much does your lack of investment in self-care affect your horse?
We seek balance, straightness and symmetry from our horses with every ride. In many cases, it is the rider that needs spinal balance and structural care to help achieve these goals. When accounting for mass, acceleration and gravity, we can impose quite an uneven load on our horses when our weight shifts even a few inches away from center. Problems such as one leg feeling shorter than the other, poor posture, uneven pelvis/hips/shoulders, head or shoulder tilt to one side, and muscle weakness/spasm significantly increase the likelihood that we’re at least partially to blame for our horse’s lack of symmetry. Falls compound these problems and leave us with even more imbalance.
The soundness of our bodies affects the quality of our function. Chiropractic care examines the structure of your spine and extremities for misalignment and imbalance and works to correct these problems through chiropractic adjustments. This allows us to ride more effectively and not cause the horse underneath us undue stress and discomfort.
Pain is easily downplayed and pushed through but it is always the body’s way of asking for help. Misalignments in the spine are frequently the cause of headaches, neck and low back pain, sciatica, and numbness/tingling in our hands. Chiropractic adjustments work as the magic eraser of pain. By fixing the structural problem, the problems such as pain and muscle spasms go away.
As we’re scheduling appointments for our horses to get top notch care, let’s not forget ourselves. The struggles we have with getting the perfect bend on a 20 meter circle or a right lead change in stadium may be more on us than our horses.
Dr. Beth Harrill is a 2011 graduate of Sherman College of Chiropratic. Dr. Harrill provides hands on chiropractic care to equestrians and athletes of all ages at her office in Matthews, Grant Chiropractic. Additionally, she owns Mobile Chiropractic of the Carolinas, and travels to many local barns, equestrian events, and businesses to provide care. If she is within sight, it is likely she has an adjusting table in tow!
Grant Chiropractic – 704-845-5150 Mobile | Chiropractic of the Carolinas – 864-457-6990