Regular back treatments for Hamish are something I would certainly never skip. Last weekend we were very lucky as the wonderful Elli Boardman came to visit us again.
Elli qualified as a MChiro chiropractor with the honorary title of Doctor of Chiropractic, working with people for 11 years and later going onto work with animals also for the past 4 years. With a wealth of knowledge and experience as a chiropractor and a true understanding of horses, (after recently completing her training in becoming a Monty Roberts Certified Instructor) I have full confidence and trust in Elli’s work and Hamish loves her visits too.
Hamish doesn’t have any particular issues for Elli to come and treat, we just use the visits as a general check up to make sure Ham is feeling the best possible and he has as much movement and freedom through is body as he can.
In the initial walk and trot up Hamish was slightly twisting his off hind foot in the walk. On the trot up he was a little under-tracking but I think this could have been due to the lack of energy put into it on Hammy’s behalf, he was practically asleep when I brought him in from the field! Elli worked along his back, concentrating on the areas of his back which we tight and freeing up his lumber area, where he had a bit of stiffness.
With older horses I wondered if there was any common areas that needed treating. Elli explained that it really does depend on the horse; their breed, their history and what they are doing now. In my opinion, this is why it’s so important to read the signs from your horse and have them treated regularly to ensure they have all the help they need to stay feeling good.
I also have my back treated by Elli, which is always really interesting as you can explain the issues you’re having when riding and often these relate to areas where you body isn’t quite working the way it should be. I asked Elli how often she gets to treat both the horse and rider, she explained that more often than not she just treats the horse, although Elli does also have clients where she gets to treat both. Owners often put their horses first which is a lovely sentiment but it is important that you are correct and able to ride effectively too. I had been feeling like I had a tight right hip and a bit of stiffness in the mid section of my back, so Elli worked on that for me. I already feel so much better for it and I have been given some homework to do too, to stop me slouching at my desk – I just need to make sure I keep it up!
As I mentioned earlier, Elli is also a Monty Roberts Certified instructor. This involved a few trips over to the US to train, getting to work with lots of horses, including the wild variety. I asked Elli whether this work is helpful and overlaps into the chiropractor side of things ‘Yes, in some cases it does. Often people may get in touch regarding their horse as they have shown behavioural changes and want to rule out back pain. Sometimes it will be back pain causing the behaviour but other times the back may not be the problem at all, but I am still able to offer to help to get to the bottom of the behaviour issues’. I think its really reassuring having someone treat your horse (in any field of work), who really understands them. It’s not about the need to use any of the training methods on the horses necessarily, but just being able to listen to them.