Thehorse.com Blog - Full Article
13 March 2013
The Winning Edge
Hannah looked like a million bucks when she stepped off the trailer in Lexington from her winter stint in Ocala (a week before the EHV-1 scare, whew!). But when I hopped on her for a hack the next day, my normally well-balanced and forward-moving mare felt short-strided and unwilling to engage her hind end. I immediately called my trainer and asked how soon we could get the vet out to diagnose the problem. (Could she have a soft tissue injury? Painful gastric ulcers? Raging hormones?)
But my trainer had a different idea. Chiropractor-of-the-equine-stars Shirley McQuillan was scheduled to come to the barn in a few days to pop several horses' bodies back into place--why not add Hannah to the list? I've neither been to a chiropractor myself, nor have I actually watched one work on a horse, so this wouldn't normally have come to mind. But hey, maybe it would be cheaper than a vet bill.
Watching Shirley work was rewarding in and of itself. Her hands have graced the spines, hips, and polls of horses the likes of 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide and Reed Kessler's Olympic show jumping mount Cylana. As she went stall to stall down the barn aisle, she would ask each horse's owner what they were feeling under saddle and then migrate toward the area of the animal's body she suspected hurt. You could tell by a horse's reaction--head tossing, ear pinning, teeth gnashing, and even a few kicks--when she hit a sensitive spot. And with each adjustment she made, the horse would immediately relax, lick his lips, and droop his ears...
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