Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation improves the horse’s musculoskeletal function thereby influencing the rider’s own nervous system input. Since motion creates over 90% of the input into the brain and spinal cord, normal motion of the body sends proper neural impulse maintaining health in the nervous system. A large percentage of this motion originates with the muscle spindle cells as they respond to gravity. Chiropractic adjustment returns the joint’s function to its full range of motion to maximize input into the nervous system. As the nervous system is used, the integrity and function of the nerves are improved. Consequently, riding a horse especially in the case of therapeutic riding programs has a great benefit in waking up and building alternate neural pathways in the rider. As a side note, it would be interesting to know if the incidence of neural disease like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s is lower in the human population that ride horses verses those people who do not ride horses.
To understand the concept of a Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation improving the human neurological function and the horses bio-mechanical function, we need first to identify the similar anatomical points within the two species and illustrate how they move. This photo compares the location of the prominent pelvic and spinal landmarks in a human and horse. By identifying the landmarks with white tape, we can assess how they move at a walk.
As the pre-chiropractic adjustment video is played, note the sacrum moves in a figure 8 motion as illustrated by the sacrum apex tape. The pelvis rocks up and down illustrated by the tape on the wing of the pelvis, Tuber sacrale, and Ischial tuberosity or seat bone. Also, you can see the spine oscillate from side to side going toward the skull. The motion is similar in both species.
The second video illustrates the horse creating the same pelvic rocking and spinal oscillation as if the rider was walking. The motion produces a neural input into the rider’s nervous system which can wake up and build new neural pathways. The benefit of such motion can have significant results for a paraplegic or individual with a neural disorder along with benefits for a “healthy” rider.
The only change between the second and third video will be that the horse had a chiropractic treatment resulting in a significant change to the horse’s bio-mechanical movement. If you compare the videos you will see the figure 8 movement of the sacral apex and tail away from mid-line is an equal distance left to right. The vertical movement of the wing of the pelvis and the Ischial tuberosity is the same on each side. The balanced horse movement imparts to the rider’s pelvis a larger vertical movement and symmetrical oscillation of the rider’s spine to the skull.
The videos confirm the horse’s improved bio-mechanical movement after the chiropractic adjustments. No matter what they do, improved bio-mechanical function means improved performance and balance for the horse. Better bio-mechanical function of the horse’s gait also results in less leg joint trauma and the need for joint injections or maintenance. As a benefit the rider experiences a normal balanced movement of their pelvis and spine producing normal neural input and improved nervous system health.