Horse Pic

Horse and Rider


Did You Know?

A similarity exists between the biomechanics of the equine and human spine.  This similarity explains why therapeutic riding is so effective for many cerebral palsy patients and amputees. A rider’s spine can affect a horse’s spinal function and vice a versa.  These reciprocal effects can hinder the animal’s performance and health.

Symptoms or No Symptoms:

A horse may have symptoms when the spine doesn’t function well or they may not.  Symptoms are always the last thing to appear and the first to disappear even though the problem exists.  Many times symptoms are covered up or numbed with medications, the analogy that comes to mind is the warning light on your car’s dashboard.  If your oil is low the light will come on, now if you disconnect the warning light your oil will still be low but the car will run fine for awhile. As time passes the engine will start to become symptomatic and by this time it maybe too late.  This is like medicating for symptoms and not treating the cause.  Animal chiropractic addresses the cause.

The Cause:

Your horse and you have the inborn potential to heal and regulate all body functions.  The nervous system which is centered in the spine coordinates all of this activity.  If there is interference to the nervous system your horse’s health will suffer. Ninety percent of all the information that enters the spine is from muscle activity.  These nerve signals from the muscle activity connect with organ controlling nerves as well as other muscle controlling nerves. If there is interference to the way these nerves transmit their information organ and muscle health will diminish.  The most common interference is called Vertebral Subluxation Complex or VSC for short.  All the bones of the spine called vertebrae move like hinges and the nerves pass between these hinges.  If the vertebral bones get stuck like a hinge and do not move well the nerves will be interfered with kind of like an electrical short circuit, this will start the cascade of problems that result in VSC.

The cause of VSC can be varied from poor saddle fit, bad tack, rider VSC, hoof issues; training for competition, the list goes on.

How to tell if VSC is Present:

Having you and your horse checked periodically is the only way to tell.  Wellness chiropractic care is the best way to have early detection of VSC.  All of your horses care will be coordinated with your vet.

When symptoms arise they may consist of:  snapping and pinning back ears when saddled, difficulty with collected and lateral gait, engagement problems, behavior changes, fights at the bit, abnormal gait rhythm, difficulty flexing at the pole, rider may feel off balance, asymmetrical sweat pattern, stiffness in bending, lameness, and stride changes.

How is VSC Corrected

Adjustments by hand are done to the spine after and evaluation is performed. Evaluations take into account the saddle fit, gait pattern and rider alignment.  The adjustments are gentle and often there is an immediate change in the horse.  Their behavior will calm down and relax.  There are no restraints and no sedation, the handler just holds the lead line.

What to do next

Horse and rider chiropractic is a unique service.  The concept of a periodic wellness evaluation from a certified animal chiropractor is a great way to head off the potential damage done by VSC.

Dr,Bruce Indek est. his practice in 1984 and provides care throughout New England. To contact him call 617-472-0661 or email at  The website is and the blog is