Interview with animal osteopath Jo Moors
“Before any consultation or treatment of a horse the owner explains the issue he/she is having with the horse. What isn’t working when riding, what type of bad behaviour the horse is presenting. Often this includes stories of how the horse is trying to get out of work or is plotting to resist whatever the owner has planned. My answer is always the same; ‘a naughty horse doesn’t exist’. They simply don’t have the cognitive ability to plot and plan.
The behaviour of a horse is an expression of their emotions and their state of mind. It is their way of communicating and can be subtle or intense. If a horse behaves differently to ‘get out of work’ then usually there is an underlying issue. Often riders will try to find the solution in external factors such as trying a stronger bit or other riding aids, or they might book in a few more lessons to ‘work through it’.
Interestingly, dog owners that come for a consultation are often referred by their trainer to go see an osteopath. They are more focussed on finding out why the dog is showing this behaviour, wondering if there might be an underlying physical issue. Only recently I noticed a trend where more horse owners are having their horse checked by a body worker or osteopath to get advice and treat their horse for possible underlying physical issues.
So, if you have a horse that is struggling or simply refusing certain exercises you ask of him or you see an unexplained change in behaviour, don’t question your own intuition. Your horse might be trying to tell you something! I often hear people say, ‘Well I thought he was behaving odd but didn’t think much of it’. A horse suddenly refusing to jump does not just suddenly decide this on a whim. If your horse is suddenly spookier than usual, chances are he’s physically compromised. More and more people choose to have their horse treated by a body worker on a regular basis, especially when you ride frequently or you’re an active competitor. Small issues can be treated and resolved easily and your horse will feel balanced and perform more consistent.”
Source: BIT Magazine (The Netherlands)