Abi McGuinness Animal Chiropractic

Abi McGuinness Animal Chiropractic


Abi has helped my two horses immensely. She is calm and patient with them, and they respond well to her friendly attitude. One is recovering from a hind leg injury, and always moves so much straighter after a session! Abi takes the time to make sure she has thoroughly assessed and treated the whole horse every time she comes out. I would highly recommend her services.

Human and Animal Chiropractor

Operating as usual


Millie putting her agility and flexibility to the test after her treatment this morning #springisintheair #feelinggood

Timeline Photos 15/04/2021

Timeline Photos

Today's tip:⠀⁠⠀
Did you know that lunging is quite hard work for a horse, particularly canter, where more forces and loading is put through joints. ⠀⁠⠀
A horse should be fit and strong to canter on the lunge, not cantered on the lunge to get fit and strong. ⠀⁠⠀
If you're lunging early on in your rehab or fitness programme, consider this info!⠀⁠⠀
#leapsandbounds #vetphysiocentre #tipoftheday #lunging #dressage #bsja #eventing #horsesofinstagram #rehabilitation #equestrian #horsetraining #performancehorse #tuesdaystip


Sat below the off licence but above public toilets. I’d say I’m content with this position. On a serious note, wishing everyone the very best for the month ahead, and thereafter. Hang in there. “After a storm comes a calm” - Matthew Henry 🌈


Abi McGuinness Animal Chiropractic


I tell you... it is easier manoeuvring a large horse than it is this guy. It’s safe to say he is non compliant and weighs a bloody tonne. He is a 29 year old African Spurred Tortoise and he can do whatever he pleases.... and now I need a chiropractor 😓


Abi McGuinness Animal Chiropractic


Help your horses by helping your yourselves 💪🏼

Ok, so I am slightly scared and a little nervous about this one 😬 💩

Tomorrow night I’ll be going live on After dinner encourage-mints with... 🙌 I’ll be live from 8pm 👍

I will be giving a little background info on myself and explaining how we can help our horses by working/training ourselves out of the saddle. The benefits it has on us, both physically and mentally and how this all translates when we’re in the saddle.

I hope to see some of you there (it’ll put my mind at rest that I know some people!) 😊

If you can think of any questions that you would like answering then please let me know 😉

Mel x


Today’s patient, before and after.
Jay was finding it difficult to bend to the right during ridden work and often couldn’t pick up canter on the right lead.
I never solely base my treatment on alignment or visual imbalances as they only provide part of the information needed to assess the animal (and humans alike!). The most telling piece of information is how each joint is moving. It is possible for something to look asymmetrical but have great mobility, and therefore be painless... due to factors such as healed bone fractures or congenital anomalies.... none of us are born perfectly symmetrical! Joint mobility is key and is by far the main focus of my treatments.
Often following a chiropractic treatment, palpable and visual changes can be seen. For example, a change in joint movement, locomotion and paces, and muscle tone... sometimes there can be a marked change in visual alignment, and as explained, it is never the main aim but always really interesting when it is so apparent.

NB photo taken on level ground with horse stood square. I need to improve my photography skills 🙈


Mayes and Scrine

To all you miniature breeders out there... Even more important to be there when these little mares foal.

I’m sure you already know but because the foals from these little ladies only have a short distance to fall, the bag may not break adequately and unless foaling is observed, the poor little foal may suffocate. This is beyond tragic when it happens and we don’t need any more bad news at the moment. This little girl has lost a foal in exactly this way, and had to have quite a lot of treatment as a result. She’s doing very well and there’s no reason she shouldn’t breed successfully again. Picture below from her successful foaling in 2018.


Mayes and Scrine

Frosty mornings are beautiful, but they can
increase the risk of laminitis. We found this lovely poem below and just had to share it with you all.

[01/20/20]   Hi all, just a note to say that I will be out of action treating horses from 5th Feb, for around 6 weeks. If anyone is looking to have their horses treated soon, let me know, and I will try and fit them in beforehand. Thanks Abi x


Manolo Mendez Dressage

All the theories in the world do not change what bones (and muscles when the horse is alive) reveal about how a horse lived and was ridden.

This thoracic vertebra shows how the facets remodeled to compensate for this horse's crookedness. This bone was presented by Dr Kerry Ridgway, Equine Therapeutic Options at a symposium in 2012 but his lesson stand today.

During the symposium Dr. Kerry Ridgway showed the bone in the attached photo to the audience. It is the sixth thoracic vertebra of a horse. Study it closely and you will notice differences between the joint facets on the right and left sides (red arrows). The bigger ones have extra bones on the left side because they needed more support due to crookedness. Imagine what happens when the crookedness has passed from the muscular mass into the bones and how it impacts the horse wellness. (2012 post)

Understanding the horse’s spinal alignment and how to create good posture is how a rider can truly benefit his horse's health and well being, and thus improve his/her performance.

To create good spinal alignment requires we understand and work on independent balance, suppleness and straightness without over flexing the horse’s spine horizontally (neither inverting nor hyperflexing it ) or laterally or generally riding it crooked, blocking it or torquing it.

Straightness means even-ness, symmetry, ambidexterity: the even development of both halves of the horse which allows it to use all its muscles and joints equally without taxing one more than another.

Spinal health requires the rider remain aware at all times of the inner structure of the horse, of its bones,joints, nerves, muscles, tendons,ligaments and fascia and the need to maintain or enhance their integrity, strength, flexibility and stability.

Think about what happens to bones, healthy and not so healthy when you add the concussive force of movement.

To learn how to develop good posture and movement in-hand and under saddle, visit www.manolomendezdressage.com and have a look at our downloadable free articles and introduction to in-hand work dvd.

Repost from 2013 and 2018


IAVC International Academy of Veterinary Chiropractic

It’s so important to consider how our patients are feeling, physically and mentally.


This mornings rather gorgeous patient Robin. Restricted in his left sacroiliac joint and lumbar spine. This lead to some quite marked asymmetry in his hind end gait and some subtle behavioural changes in the show ring, and at home. He looked a lot better following his first treatment... and I throughly enjoyed the cuddles. Everyone’s a winner!


The Evidence Based Chiropractor

You are NOT your MRI or X-ray. 🦴

Millions of people walk around each day with bulged and herniated discs that aren't causing any issues.

It's ok to not be perfect!

But, if your spinal disc issues begin affecting your quality of life- know that chiropractic care is one of the most safe and effective options as a first line treatment.


Ought to be in every Chiropractors clinic I believe!


Willi Schultheis (Reitmeister)



Abi McGuinness Animal Chiropractic


ICAN: International Companion Animal Network


Manolo Mendez Dressage

The idea of a desirable training"frame" is one of the most misunderstood concept Manolo has run into. Even the most classical of training will lead to a stiff, uncomfortable horse and possibly a lame horse if the rider keeps the horse in one fixed position for long stretch of times between seat, hand and legs.

To develop a healthy horse, it is necessary to vary the figures, postures (never intentionally behind the vertical or with a giraffe neck) and the gaits within gaits.

To learn more on to train horses for wellness, visit www.manolomendezdressage.com and check our free downloadable articles, DVD and clinics.



⚡️Sacroiliac dysfunction in horses

World leaders into lameness in horses and spinal problems in horses, all agree that sacroiliac joint complex injury is common. This is mirrored in findings of veterinary chiropractic, osteopathic, acupuncturists and other body workers (an estimate of 80% of horses present with symptoms of SIJ dysfunction).

The anatomy of the pelvic region in the horse is quite complex. Because of the huge overlying muscles that make up the hindquarters, most of the bony elements cannot be seen or palpated and this makes them inaccessible to routine imaging techniques.

The sacroiliac joint is the joint between the ilium (part of the pelvis) and the sacrum. The pelvis is supported by two columns which are the hind legs. The sacrum is suspended under the pelvis and is very tightly attached by a system of ligaments. There is little to no joint fluid in the sacroiliac joint. The sacroiliac joint is not built as a joint for supporting compressive force but instead as a joint designed for more of a (small) gliding motion. Very little motion occurs between the sacrum and the pelvis.

A very common misconception is the belief that one tuber sacrale being higher than the other is an indication of SIJ misalignment. The tuber sacrales are the two small protuberances which are visible on the top of the croup. Sometimes the tuber sacrale appear asymmetrical, and this can also be seen in clinically normal horses. Historically, it was attributed to misalignment of the sacroiliac joint, but there is very little evidence to suggest that this can happen.
So what can cause this apparent asymmetry? The most likely reason is difference in thickness of the overlying soft tissues, possibly the result of previous injury, or simply that sometimes there are normal asymmetries in the growth and development of the bones.

🔻 Causes of sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

The sacroiliac ligaments and tendinous attachment of the muscles to the pelvis and the sacrum can suffer strains and tears from over-stretching during slips, torsions and falls or from excessive strain during intensive exertion (either in the paddock, during training or competition). The above mechanisms of injury can also put a strain/restriction into the joint itself.

Joint tension/restriction drives muscular tension therefore, we must be able to release both the joint and the musculature surrounding it to prevent a problem reoccurring.

Damage can also occur due to poor horse posture secondary to saddle, rider, dental and hoof balance issues, birth trauma, getting cast in a stable or paddock.

🔻Signs and symptoms of SIJ dysfunction

Just like in us, the sacroiliac joint, when restricted or strained can cause significant pain and discomfort. People can experience anything from mild to intense aching pain, sharp or stabbing pain and referred pain (pain that is experienced further away from the problem, such as pain down the legs). There is no reason to suggest that a horse would not experience similar similar symptoms. Because the horse cannot tell use what it feels like/where it hurts, we must be able to pick up on physical signs and symptoms.

🔺 Difficult to shoe or trim the hind hooves
🔺 Difficulty standing on one hind leg or reluctance to pick up a hind leg at all.
🔺 Short stepping behind
🔺 Difficulty with collected work
🔺 Putting the hoof down toe first instead of heel first
🔺 Difficulty maintaining one canter lead
🔺 Disuniting behind
🔺 Reluctance to go forward
🔺 Difficulty bending one way (I.e the horse will carry its neck away from the side of SIJ dysfunction)
🔺 Hind end muscle atrophy (overdeveloped gluteals and underdeveloped pelvic stabilisers)
🔺 Hind end lameness
🔺 Inability to stand square
🔺 Favouring one hind leg when standing
🔺 Locking or clicking patella (stifles)
🔺 Tail held to one side
🔺 Palpable tenderness over the rump
🔺 Gait that causes the rider to become off centre in the saddle
🔺 Inability to swing through the lumbar spine and hindquarters

Note - some of the above symptoms can be caused by other musculoskeletal dysfunction - if you notice any of these symptoms, it’s always best to get your horse checked.

How do we fix it❓

💢Recognising a sacroiliac joint problem in your horse can be difficult and there are few practitioners that can identify these issues AND treat them appropriately💢

To correct sacroiliac joint dysfunction we need to use a combination of soft tissue and manipulative treatment along side a strengthening program to re-develop the pelvic stabiliser muscles.

On the odd occasion, SIJ dysfunction can be so severe for the horse that they need a course of anti inflammatories or a corticosteroid injection into the joint to kickstart the healing process and reduce inflammation. This is done when the joint is so inflamed that muscular and manipulative treatment cannot be used as it causes too much discomfort to the horse. Once we have reduced the inflammation, then your osteopath can start restoring SIJ function.

Osteopathic and chiropractic treatments are used to stimulate the local muscles and the horses brain to re-initiate normal muscle activation patterns, muscle tension and and movement of the SIJ.

Owners must work to creat pelvic stability in their horses. So many SI injuries occur because the horse is unable to balance or catch itself due to a lack of hind end stability. Instability is either caused by incorrect work of the muscles and tendons and ligaments associated with the joint, slips or falls (particularly those that are led by the hind end) or due to pathologic changes within the joint. Osteopathic treatment works by recreating stability of the system as a whole.

Another case leading to the same visual impression is transversal rotation of the thoracolumbar spine which places the sacrum and the pelvis in a slight twist to the left or right - making it look like one side is higher than the other. This means it’s important that the practitioner that is treating your horse is able to differentiate between primary and secondary dysfunction. If the cause of the issue is coming from the thorocolumbar spine (primary issue) but you only treat the SIJ (secondary issue and often the symptomatic problem), then the SIJ problem is very likely to return.


The most important preventative measure is to maintain good back posture (top line) and core strength which is vital in supporting and protecting the SIJ complex. To achieve this, you need great nutrition, correct schooling, well balanced hooves, saddle and gear that fit well, good rider technique and rider/horse weight ratio, good dental care, and regular bodywork to ensure the rest of the horse is also in good health.

Using pole work/pole clinics, gymnastic exercises and lateral work, starting doing this in walk and at the beginning of your ride (to prevent fatigue of the pelvic stabiliser muscles) and over a period of weeks starting to do this in trot (and later on in canter) we can slowly get the horse back to full work with great pelvic stability.

By working as a team with your osteopath, veterinarian, farrier, dentist and coach, you can achieve successful rehabilitation for sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

- Some of the photos below are of clients horses, the rest are borrowed from google.

- Sources and extra reading
- SIJ - http://www.scienceofmotion.com/i_sij.html
- The vulnerable joint, Sacroiliac joint dysfunction -http://www.spinalvet.com.au/downloads/sacro-iliac.pdf


A little mutual grooming with the beautiful Millie before her Chiro treatment this morning!



"Horses have won wars for us. They carried us on their backs into cannon fire. Horses don't say 'no' lightly, so if your horse is telling you that I can say for sure there is something wrong." - Henk Offereins

Are you doing the best job of helping your horse to do his job?

horseandhound.co.uk 13/03/2018

Excess rider weight can cause lameness - Horse & Hound

A pilot study showing the effects of rider weight on horse performance http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/excess-rider-weight-can-cause-lameness-645906

horseandhound.co.uk Results of a landmark pilot study show the negative effect heavier riders can have on horse performance


Happy hearts, Happy spines... Happy everything ❤️



Facial Nerves and the importance of proper bridle fitting. This is something Manolo is quite fanatical about, always adjusting nosebands, flashes, browbands and making sure the buckles do not push into delicate structures or the poll strap does not push against the horse's ears (and of course checking bit fit).

A quick look at what cranial nerves DO reveal how important their well being is and why properly fitted tack is paramount. There are twelve pairs of cranial nerves. They have a role in:
Heart rate (sensory and motor control of viscera including heart, lungs, and bowel)
Eye movement
Neck muscles that move the head
Sensation from the face
Motor to the muscles for biting, chewing
Facial expression
Taste from the anterior 2/3rds of the tonque
Taste from the posterior 1/3rd of the tonque
Tearing (lacrimal gland)
Salivation from the parotid gland as well as not from the parotid gland (different nerves)
Sensation and some motor to the pharynx
Swallowing (motor to the muscles of the soft palate, pharynx and larynx)
Vocalization (motor to the muscles of the soft palate, pharynx and larynx)
gastrointestinal peristalsis
Tongue movement

Our friend Diane Schell created this useful illustration showing the 12 pairs of cranial nerves and where they are in relationship to bridles potential pressure point. Thank you Diane.

This fits nicely with our Monday article from Shea Stewart about the TMJ and Cranio Sacral work.

Source: HorseAdvice.com and the Merck Veterinary Manual and this fantastic article from Tuft university: http://www.tufts.edu/vet/sports/neuro2.html

PS: There is an important nerve Diane did not highlight in red. It comes out on the side of the lower jaw. If you look at the skulls we posted earlier this week, you can see it quite clearly on both side. It is a general sensory nerve for the skin of chin, and lower lip.

Image © Diane Schell

3/12/2013 - VETERINARIAN Massimo Da Re Follows up with More Insights on CRANIAL Nerves, the Brain and Limbic System

The head of all vertebrates is one of the most important parts for the life of the individual: It is home to the brain that has the delicate task to process the information that comes from the body and from the outside world and return to the various parts of the body with essential indications for life.

The brain encodes what the sense organs perceive and organize the existence of the individual. The brain also reads the feelings of the heart which is the true center of life.

In the head are located vital organs: hearing, smell, sight, taste, touch. ( and breath)

Think for a moment about your horse, observe how important its highly mobile ears, his large nostrils, his very expressive eyes are for its essence.

Finally the mouth. The horse lives with his mouth: eats, vocalizes, works, relates to the outside world. It contains more than 4 billion nerve endings and is closely associated with a portion of the brain called Limbic System, responsible for the control of emotions and learning: think about this before acting with your hands on your horse's mouth. There are no horses "deaf" or "hard" in the mouth, pain receptors can not be deleted nor go out: horses fight oral pain in different forms: some rear, others pull on the reins, while others seem to be resigned and have a heavy mouth.

Study well this beautiful and useful image and use the equipment on your horse with awareness and respect : avoid too tight nose-bands, make sure briddle and bit fit well.

Be careful with the halter, especially if it is made in rope or fabric that are too thin: they can lead to excessive pressure on the nerves of the face; always remove the halter when the horse is free, in stall or outside in the field. Be gentle with your hands, both when you lead the horse and when you ride.

The subject is vast and deserves full days of discussions!

Thank you Massimo! and Tellington TTouch Cavalli Italia.


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