A Chiropractor for Your Horse?

By: Stacy McCloud
By: Stacy McCloud

Knoxville (WVLT) - More and more folks are seeking something other than a pill to treat what ails them.

But what if who's ailing, stands on all fours?

As Volunteer TV’s Stacy McCloud shows us, alternative medicine is actually most popular in the veterinarian's office!

Ah, the life of a horse. Daily grooming sessions, lots of love, and plenty of rides in the sunshine, or if preferred, a shaded arena.

"He really enjoys lengthening his strides,” says Amanda Smith.

That's how "Sheik’s Gold Mount", known around these parts as "Sunny", spends his non-competition days.

"He will be 12 on the 1st of August,” Smith says.

For a middle aged man, in horse years that is, sunny appears to be totally healthy.

But there’s more to this American Quarter Horse than meets the eye.

On top of being allergic to almost everything, "most trees, hays that are popular, grain pollens in sweet feeds, grasses, weeds.”

Sunny has back problems.

"They are playing and running and stopping quickly. Dropping, rolling. All that abuse to themselves will pull those vertebras and joints out of place,” Smith explains.

Allergy shots allow him to breathe easy, but the therapy for his back is far from something you may consider conventional for a horse.

"He's stiff in the shoulder. There we go." Meet Dr. Steve Adair, Sonny's chiropractor. "When I feel an area not moving properly that is where I make my adjustment at."

Sunny is one of about 600 horses Dr. Adair has treated in the six years he's specialized in this form of alternative veterinary medicine. "I go in and make an adjustment and restore the normal movement in that area and free up the nerve impulses coming from the brain and spinal cord."

You would think pushing on and standing over a 1,200 pound horse would be a little frightening, Dr. Adair says it’s "a little intimidating, but not too bad."

That's because most horses find their adjustments relaxing.

"When the vertebra go back you'll see him relax, his head drops, licks his lips,” Dr. Adair explains. "Alright, all done."

For the next 48 hours it's only rest and relaxation. Then, it's back, in the saddle again.

"He's just gonna live longer and be happier,” Amanda says.

Sonny will be back in for another adjustment in about 6 weeks.

If you're thinking of alternative medicine for your animals, doctor. Adair says make sure their vets are trained and certified in this specialty.


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