International Society of Equitation Science Dublin 2008

Abstract: Overcoming hidden pain in the ridden horse: Predictable patterns of myofascial dysfunction in the equine body

Dianne Jenkins | Canberra Australia

Connective tissue damage often predisposes physiological and performance deficiencies through chronic low grade pain in the ridden horse. Even with the technological advances of ultrasonography and infrared thermography as location testing tools, assessment of these palpable issues have been inconsistent. However, learned manual assessment techniques can define the presence of these soft tissue injuries without the use of scientific equipment. This study reports on soft tissue injury record keeping over a 2 year period between Jan 2006 & Dec 2007 and reveals that 99% of 1285 horses at initial consultation, presented with myofascial distortions in one or both shoulders and all suffered varying degrees of back pain. The horses were a cross section from the thoroughbred racing, harness racing and pleasure horse industries. Several of the horses had previous veterinary treatment, but still displayed persistent unresolved pain and compromised movement. The use of innovative neurophysical release techniques during as few as three treatments over a one-month period, together with owner administrated rehabilitation exercises, usually resolved the problems completely. Palpable myofascial distortions located near the scapulo-humeral joint resolved almost all cases of back pain where the horses demonstrated inefficient movement or were out of work for long periods. Further research will determine which form of known treatment eliminates the problem in the shortest period while at the same time manual techniques are being developed and refined to facilitate these treatments. This study opens up important new avenues for dealing with health, training, behavioural and welfare issues/problems in horses. This new treatment has important implications for all involved in the horse industry from owners and riders to veterinarians, trainers and therapists because it demonstrates it is now possible to locate and address the cause of most postural inefficiencies before they, in turn, cause inevitable debilitating pathology.


View article in “The Irish Field”, Sat August 23rd 2008

"Dianne presenting at ISES in Dublin in 2008"

Demonstration Transcript

download here