Farm Ireland

Monday 11 December 2017

Case Study: Beau

Beau is a 12-year-old 16.2hh ex-racehorse who suffered from neglect.

Ostepath Samantha Sherrington says that ex-racehorses often display strong patterns in their bodies related to predominantly working in one direction, strong overuse of the extensor muscles of the back and the neck, and various individual strains due to racing and/or jumping at speed.

"Horses who have found themselves neglected or starved when their racing days ended often have some major gastrointestinal issues, which can also impact on the musculoskeletal system and their capacity for a new career," she says.

"I was called out to help after Beau began dipping his back when being mounted, had difficulty taking and maintaining the right lead in canter and had been stumbling frequently."

Observation revealed obvious asymmetry in his posture, along with what seems to be a common finding in horses that have been undernourished -- significant tightness and rigidity in his hip flexors creating a very tucked up posture. There were also signs of strain around the base of the lumbar spine and into the pelvis.

"While there was work to be done to reduce associated overworking muscles and restricted joints in the neck, most of his woes appeared to stem from significant strain and resultant muscular spasm in the ribcage, lower back and hindquarters," adds Sam.

The pictures show Beau's asymmetry and postural patterns that were making it impossible to reach his full potential.

The images (below left and right) show just how crooked he was through his lumbar region and into his pelvis, while, in particular, the former highlights how tightness in the hip flexor muscle group resulted in Beau standing with his hindlegs right under him, as though his rump is tucked right under.

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Treatment in this case involved using massage, stretching, joint articulation and joint manipulation to address restricted areas within the lower neck, shoulder girdle, ribcage and thoracic spine, with particular attention to the major postural patterns in the lumbar and pelvic area.

By his second treatment, it was obvious Beau's body had maintained and progressed well.

The other two images (bottom left and right) show a reduction in tension in the hip flexor muscle group with a resultant improvement in his leg posture and his rump angle and a significant difference in the symmetry of Beau's hindquarters.

His owner, Karen Kelly, says she could not believe the difference in Beau's posture after just one treatment.

"It was just amazing," she says. "Sam gave me stretches to do on Beau in between her sessions and we've even been out jumping since Sam started work with him."

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