The Vertebral Column

Welcome to The Vertebral Column, a space to address what we understand to be our audiences’ most pressing educational needs. Our intention is to educate and to listen. Our goal is to stimulate a healthy, respectful conversation about the issues presented – we’re looking forward to your thoughts and questions, as well as suggestions for future posts.

Unpacking Posture – Part 3

Horse-rider Interactions
In our pursuit to identify better methods for assessing equine health, posture is a fundamental characteristic that can reflect the horse’s overall well-being and performance. Understanding the causes and effects of poor posture provides valuable insights into the complex interplay between form and function.
Photo by Lily Banse on Unsplash

Unpacking Posture – Part 2

Dynamic Posture
In our pursuit to identify better methods for assessing equine health, posture is a fundamental characteristic that can reflect the horse’s overall well-being and performance. Understanding the causes and effects of poor posture provides valuable insights into the complex interplay between form and function.
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Unpacking Posture – Part 1

Static Posture
In our pursuit to identify better methods for assessing equine health, posture is a fundamental characteristic that can reflect the horse’s overall well-being and performance. Understanding the causes and effects of poor posture provides valuable insights into the complex interplay between form and function.
Photo shared by Alissa Mayer

Animal Rehabilitation: A Specific Skill Set

Rehabilitation is a specialized field that requires a deep understanding of anatomy, biomechanics, and pathology, as well as proficiency in various rehabilitation techniques and modalities. And a working knowledge of the specific demands of athletic disciplines, training and conditioning programs, and tack fit and use. Without proper training, practitioners...
Photo shared by Arlene White

Manual Therapy – Measuring Our Effectiveness

If we are treating a patient with a specific goal in mind, then we will want to know how effective our therapy is for that individual patient’s condition. In this blog post, we explore the importance of establishing a baseline for each patient by performing a thorough pre-treatment assessment and then measuring the success of our work against specific performance indicators.
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The Whole-Body Assessment

As an equine or canine practitioner, do you always take the time to perform a full-body assessment of your patient before determining your treatment plan? Did your training program provide detailed hands-on training of assessment techniques? As an animal owner, do you expect your practitioners to do such assessments? We explain why assessment is critical and provide some practical guidance for documenting your findings.
Photo shared by Debranne Pattillo

Recognizing Red Flags

When deciding whether the animal we have before us is a candidate – or not – for our manual therapy treatment, it is important to have a thorough knowledge about contraindications and a systematic list of points to consider.

The Ethics of Dissections

Only recently have I become aware that equine dissection courses are being advertised online, with open enrollment for non-veterinarians. This seemed quite unusual to me as I am accustomed to seeing animal dissection typically made available only to veterinary students in their first year of education or in select veterinary, farrier, or dental continuing education courses.

Clinicians vs Researchers: Who Should You Believe?

There seems to always be some level of a cultural clash between general practitioners who are working “in the trenches” and the academicians living “in their ivory towers”. How do you balance these two approaches?

Using the Scientific Method to Become a Better Practitioner

The scientific method and critical thinking are fundamental skills that empower practitioners to make better decisions, solve problems more effectively, and adapt to an ever-changing world.

Fact-based Knowledge – How to Dispel Myths

Dispelling false information on social media can be a challenging but important endeavor. Misinformation can spread rapidly, so taking proactive steps to correct it is crucial for maintaining a well-informed online community.
National Library of Medicine #ColorOurCollections Phrenology, 1835 NLM Image ID: 101393881

Speaking the Truth As We Know It – Why Facts Matter

Social media has given everyone a voice. But just because someone that we “like” or “follow” makes a claim does not make it true. How can horse owners and equine practitioners discern fact from fiction?
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Can Non-Veterinary Practitioners “Diagnose” and “Treat”?

When dealing with horses, everyone is searching for clues as to what might be the cause or source of a sudden behavioral change, training difficulty, poor performance, or lameness.
Elephant in the Room – art by Leah Saulnier at paintingmaniac.com

About Scope of Practice

Within the equine industry, there is a wide array of individuals who claim to be able to provide some form of care or a promised cure for which owners are willing to pay. The question arises, are these people qualified, and if so, what type of care or skills are they trained to provide?
Image credit: Stay in Your Lane

Creating an Equine Healthcare Team

No single individual has the answers to the many issues that affect horses. Maintaining the health and well-being of horses is a complex task that requires a collaborative approach.
Photo shared by Lorre Mueller

Rehabilitation Strategies for Treating Muscle Atrophy in Horses

Muscle atrophy in horses can negatively impact posture, core stability, and movement. An individually tailored treatment plan is required to prevent further muscle loss and to help regain strength and mobility.
Photo shared by Ruth Mitchell-Golladay