Just as humans benefit from treatment by a specialist if they have mobility restrictions or pain, so too, horses can benefit from chiropractic treatment: manipulation of the neck, lumbar spine, pelvis, hips and legs to take pressure off joints and relieve soreness and stiffness.
Kenneth Butler has been an equine chiropractor for 35 years. He treats Sandie’s horses at HorsePower Riding Academy as well as agisted horses there and many other horses, including racehorses, if they develop problems in movement or flexibility or exhibit signs of pain. It is his years of training and experience that enables him to treat equine mobility issues with such success. He has extensive knowledge of equine anatomy and medical issues that chiropractic treatments may or may not help. Please don’t try to copy anything you see Ken doing in the photos here. To do so without appropriate training and experience could cause injury to the horse and also to yourself.
Ken began his career as an apprentice to and then working with Graeme Boyd (one of the first people in the world to apply chiropractic treatment to horses), learning the trade over those five or six years. In those days, few people believed that chiropractic treatment could help horses. But Graeme and Ken developed a loyal following of horse owners after the impressive results they achieved with their treatments, and eventually the veterinary profession too realised the benefits that could be gained through chiropractic treatment.
When Graeme left Australia to work in the USA – where he eventually started the first equine chiropractic school in the world, taking veterinary students from all over the world – Ken bought Graeme’s Australian chiropractic business.
Ken has built the business since then and now his two sons, Justin and Matthew, are also equine chiropractors.
They work mainly on the Central Coast but also travel from the Gold Coast and Port Macquarie to racing stables at Warwick Farm, Randwick and Melbourne.
I have watched both Ken and Matthew work at HPRA a couple of times now. They ask questions about why it seems the horse needs treatment, watch the horse move, then feel the horse’s muscles, tendons and joints to determine where sore or stiff spots are. If they determine that a chiropractic treatment will help, they use either their hands or other tools (even a tennis ball!), to massage problem areas, and to manipulate the skeleton into a better alignment.
Matthew and Justin carry on not only Ken’s chiropractic techniques but also his values of honesty: if they believe the problem will not benefit from a chiropractic treatment, they will not do one. Instead they may suggest the horse needs new shoes from a farrier or dental treatment from an equine dentist. And Ken says if there is no problem, leave the horse alone.