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How to Help Your Horse Between Chiropractic or Acupuncture Visits

by Dr. Calsey Grant

This is part three in a four-part series of exercises you can do with your horse that will support the work I have done between chiropractic care or acupuncture treatments. 

Side Tail Pulls

Tail pulls to the side are good balancing exercises. They stimulate the pelvic stabilizer muscles and engage the core.

Start by standing to one side of the hindquarters of the horse. Grab the entire tail below the tail bone and slowly begin to pull toward yourself. You are pulling at a 90-degree angle from the tailhead. You are not trying to pull the horse off balance.

 Side Tail Pulls 01

 Side Tail Pulls 02

 Side Tail Pulls 03









Notice how the mare has not had to move her feet at all to catch her balance throughout these photos.

The first photo is simply to illustrate her standing square and her tail straight.

The second photo I am just starting to pull gently on the tail and her hindquarters are drifting toward me. As her stabilizer muscles and core engage, she counteracts the pull and her hindquarters begin to lean away from me. Tension develops in the muscles of the right hip, thigh, and stifle which pushes the haunches to the left.

Perform the exercise to both sides.

Some horses may prefer you to set and hold the pull for 10-30 seconds at a time, others seem to prefer a more rhythmic pull and release for just a few seconds at a time. The time and force applied to the tail pull can be increased as the muscles get stronger. You may also find that the horse is much more amenable to the stretch in one direction than another. This can be a sign of a subtle underlying asymmetry of strength.