When the Body Says Ouch!
Identifying Pain in the Performance Horse - Part 1: Standing
by Kim Henneman, DVM
Choices in Health
6337 S. Highland Drive #334
Salt Lake City, Utah 84121 USA
65 minutes, $49.95 plus shipping
Reviewed by Henry Heymering, RJF, moderator of The Farrier &
Hoofcare Resource Center (www.horseshoes.com) bulletin boards
This review was published in the June, 1998 issue of ANVIL
Dr. Henneman is a veterinarian who specializes in alternative therapies --
chiropractic, acupuncture and homeopathy -- for performance horses. She works
on horses in more than half a dozen states, is a consultant to The Whole
Horse Journal, and a frequent poster on the bulletin boards in The Farrier
& Hoofcare Resource Center.
This video describes the early signs of pain and stress that precede breakdowns.
For that reason, it can be a tremendous aid to farriers (as well as observant
Dr. Henneman starts off by defining the types of forces involved:
tension is illustrated by using a rubber band
compression is illustrated by using marshmallows
torque is illustrated by comparing celery stalks to onion stalks
shear is illustrated by two boxes, then by the action of horse's teeth
If you have any trouble understanding these concepts, the video presentation
will make them perfectly clear and understandable.
The difference between conformation and posture is defined. Conformation
is permanent, but posture can and does change in response to pain. She points
out the importance of proper posture -- that bones "stacked" like interlocking
soup cans are very stable and strong, while bones that are held in poor posture
are continually under stress, unstable, and predispose the horse to breakdowns.
Next, Dr. Henneman explains proper and improper posture of the horse in practical
terms, from head to tail. First the teeth and jaw: how the teeth grow, where
they are located, the significance of canine and wolf teeth, how the horse
chews, what TMJ is and how it affects the horse.
Then the neck: its anatomy, bones, muscles, workings and problem signs and
areas. The neck is followed by saddle fit and function, then the lower back
and hind end.
This video is a wonderful overview of the bones, muscles, function and
biomechanics of the horse's body. I highly recommend it for all farriers
(and horse owners serious about their horse's health). Part 2, due out in
1998, will deal with the horse in motion.
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