"Crooked" foals are born every year. Some of their problems may be genetic; but is there another factor to consider?
Recently, an opportunity arose to observe the quality of conformational symmetry in foals born to mares who received structural care, and compare these foals to those born to mares who did not receive structural care.
Working with biomechanics and holistic body balancing systems for 30 years, I have observed that the quality of structural symmetry influences breeding outcomes. Kendal Hill Stud Farm in Ontario, Canada (where the world's top pacing Standardbred stallions stand at stud) and Red Leaf Farm, Inc., in Dothan, Alabama (a holistic animal husbandry facility that produces Canadian Sport Horses) compared the effects of structure based on a genetically-controlled herd and a breeding program supported by genetic options.
It is important first to consider structural symmetry in stallions, because it impacts both live cover and artificial insemination (AI) collections.
If a stallion is twisted through the lumbar region, pelvis, or sacrum, the thrusting action of breeding could cause bursting of soft tissue in the mare, or deviations in the mare?s structure. Structural care for such stallions aids successful breedings with less trauma to the mare. In addition, a stallion?s ability to breed and offer more successful mounts through the season is made easier by allowing him to recover sooner. Aggression toward the mare is also reduced.
Structural care for the broodmare throughout pregnancy enhances nervous system function and improves both the mother's and foal's health potential. The mare?s complete body symmetry should be considered by:
1. Evaluating the base of the neck, chest and ribs, and monitoring the position of the mare?s pelvis and sacrum before and after breeding.
2. Checking the pelvis and sacrum to see how level the top line is.
- Does the top line drop off to one side?
- Is there muscle atrophy?
- Are the points of the hip the same or is one forward, the other back, or one higher than the other?
Why are the pelvis and sacrum important?
- A narrowed birth canal can cause dystocia (difficulty) during labor.
- When the pelvic bones are balanced, the uterus is able to enlarge symmetrically with the growing foal. If the bones of the pelvis are out of alignment or sublimated, this will directly affect the way the uterus will be supported. Unequal ligament support of the uterus will torque the uterus, reducing the maximum amount of room for the developing foal. Limitations to the foal?s movement may prevent the foal from getting into the best possible position for birth.
- Muscle attachments within the pelvic and abdominal girdles exert forceful contractions which, if uneven in tension, will introduce a variety of sublimations, compressions, or twists to the foal?s body, ranging from subtle to traumatic. These birth traumas will manifest as future structural distortions that result in breakdowns in nerves, muscles, and joints.
Birth is one of the most traumatic experiences that all living things experience.
- Bill "Dr.O" Ormston, DVM [Also read Dr.O's "Chiropractic Care and the Newborn Foal."]
MARE CARE INTERVENTION
Chiropractic care of human mothers has demonstrated improvement in the condition of the mother and child. Structural sublimations in human newborns generally occur at the skull through T4 (4th thoracic vertebra), with greater traumas affecting the length of the spine or limbs.
Working in a parallel healing art in horses, I observe the same distortion of structure in foals. Mare care, which includes chiropractic, bodywork therapies, dentistry, and foot care, assists in supporting the mare?s changing body throughout her pregnancy.
Generally, the incidence of gross rotations, clubbed feet, contracted tendons, twisted shoulders, and hind-end lameness in foals whose mothers received prenatal structural care were reduced. The mares appeared to birth easier and recovered better. Foals who did show effects of birth trauma and who were adjusted during their first 3 months showed significant improvement. (end callout)
NO MORE CROOKED FOALS!
Foals from mares under structural care had an advantage from conception on. Continued structural care throughout their lives is also benefiting their performance and ability to heal from injuries. Better structural care has given our mares and foals a better chance to be Great Horses.
Pat Cleveland manages Red Leaf Farm, an equine rehabilitation and education center in Dothan, AL. Red Leaf Farm utilizes professional practitioners who work as a team on a holistic approach to equine health. Included in their program: biomechanics, equine psychology, dentistry, homeopathy, essential oils, LED, chiropractic, acupressure, balanced foot trimming, dentistry and more. For information contact The Balanced Horse LLC. 334-718-7806 email firstname.lastname@example.org , balanced-horse.com