Back problems in horses can show themselves in a number of ways:
From a general unwillingness to move in a certain way
To work "on the bit"
Discomfort when fitting a saddle
Even bucking and rearing when ridden
Head shaking can also be an indication that all is not well in a
Whilst back pain is not the only disorder that can cause many of
these symptoms, it is often worth exploring as one avenue of
Although it is impossible for a horse to "put out" part of its
spinal column without causing major damage to the vertebrae,
considerable pain can arise from entrapment of spinal nerves and
Because of the wide range of clinical syndromes that can also
manifest as perceived back problems, it is always wise to obtain
veterinary advice before proceeding with investigation of back
pain. Whilst there are a number of qualified and capable
physiotherapists and chiropractors, certain conditions can be made
considerably worse by the often unqualified and unskilled
ministrations of "the back man. There is no doubt that back pain
in horses does exist and can cause considerable difficulties for
both horse and rider, but it should always be assessed in parallel
with any other clinical syndromes the animal may be suffering.
Once back pain is diagnosed and concurrent conditions have been
eliminated, it is often possible to manage back pain with a
combination of controlled exercise, physiotherapy and, if
required, anti-inflammatory medication. However successful
management of these cases often requires close co-operation
between the veterinary surgeon and the physiotherapist and/or
chiropractor. Here at Battle Flatts, Mike Jones is our "Back Man".
He has had considerable experience of manipulating horses’ backs
and it is important to ensure that any manipulation is not going
to exacerbate the condition rather than cure it!