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Charlotte North Carolina
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Chloe's Chatter

ASK THE CHIROPRACTOR: Chloe gets her back cracked...and she LIKES it!

Andrea Wise

Chloe enjoys a chiropractic session and interview with her favorite chiropractor, Dr. Lisa Busko, DVM.  Dr. Busko will always hold a special place in Chloe’s frozen heart after significantly improving Chloe’s life (and her rider’s emotional health) through a series of chiropractic sessions nearly 3 years ago.  Dr. Busko graduated from Colorado State University’s Veterinary program and is certified in both Veterinary Chiropractic and Veterinary Acupuncture.

Chloe:     What in the world are you doing to me, Dr. Lisa? I hate that you are touching me but it feels sooo goooood (insert: hanging lower nag lip).
Dr. Lisa:   It is called Chiropractic, Chloe. Chiropractic focuses on the relationship between the structure (the spine and bones) and function (the nervous system) of the body and how that relationship affects the health of the horse. The nervous system coordinates all of the activities of the body and if it is not functioning efficiently, the health of the horse can be adversely affected. The goal of chiropractic is to optimize the health of the horse, by fixing subluxations in the spine and joints.  A subluxation is a decrease or lack of  normal range of motion in a joint.   

Chloe:     Uhh, okay? I didn't do well in Science Class... So, how does an owner know their horse needs a chiropractic session? I know that I got my first session when I started bucking after jumps!
Dr. Lisa: Every horse can benefit from regular chiropractic adjustments because it keeps the spine and joints in alignment which will help the horse perform well so their rider will look good… especially during shows. We all know that means more ribbons for the rider and more carrots for the horse!  Horses will let their rider know if they can’t perform as well as usual or if some of their work makes them feel uncomfortable or painful.  You should probably just limp or shorten your stride to let Andrea know, maybe refuse a jump or two.  If that doesn’t make Andrea call me then bucking is an option (but only if your rider is hard headed)!

Chloe:     Bucking it will be!!! This is great news! ... How often should horses have this done? I will pay you 5 carrots if you tell my mom that you suggest I have a session done daily.
Dr. Lisa:  Every horse is different, but I tell riders to schedule appointments every 4 to 6 weeks to start. After a couple of adjustments we can work out a schedule that works for the horse.   Some horses need to be adjusted every 4 weeks and others can be adjusted every couple of months.    Horses work very hard for their rider preparing for shows or taking trail rides and if a rider is not very balanced or the saddle doesn’t fit well that can make their back hurt.  Since a great horse doesn’t complain, they compensate for any pain by walking abnormally (all so the rider has a good ride) and that can cause subluxations.  

Chloe:     Do you get queasy when you have to touch a really ugly, out of shape, nag horse? I know I would! 
Dr. Lisa:   Dear Chloe, not everyone can be as beautiful as you.   I don’t get queasy touching ugly nags because everyone can benefit from chiropractic adjustments.  Perhaps if the “ugly nag” gets an adjustment they will feel better and start working out, get in better shape and find a rider that will groom them and make them almost as beautiful as you are. 

Chloe:     Dr. Lisa, let's not get crazy here! All the grooming in the world can't work miracles! ... What kind of results can owners and riders expect to see after a session or if needed, a series of sessions?
Dr. Lisa:  Riders and owners can expect to see an improvement in their horse's performance, increased energy and willingness to work.  Sometimes it takes a few adjustments to completely fix a particular problem, but the horse can expect to be a lot more comfortable.


Chloe: Well I do enjoy being comfortable! What should owners look for when choosing a horse chiropractor?
Dr. Lisa: Owners should make sure that their chiropractor is either a Veterinarian or Doctor of Chiropractic, in addition to having knowledge of the species of animal they are working on.   They also need to be certified through one of the following chiropractic organizations: International Veterinary Chiropractic Association or American Veterinary Chiropractic Association.   Chiropractic Certification requires a significant amount of advanced training through a veterinary  chiropractic college such as Options for Animals in Wellsville, Kansas where received my training.   I am also and instructor at Options for Animals. You can visit the college website at:


If you want to see me doing my stretches with Dr. Lisa, scroll down! Please, no stallions beyond this point!!!


Dr. Lisa shares 3 simple stretches that can be done after every ride! For all the stretches start by holding the stretch for a few seconds and then gradually increase the hold each time. 

Front Leg StretchFold fore leg up supporting the cannon bone, lower the limb a little until the carpus (knee) is pointing to the ground, and put slight pressure on the front of the leg (the radius), then unfold the leg in front of the horse and let them stretch.  Watch your fingers and toes – sometimes they slam their foot down.  




Back Leg Stretch:  Hold the fetlock and gently pull the leg toward the front leg  (under the horse) about an inch or two off the ground. Then, hold the leg even with the other back leg and do small circles clockwise and counterclockwise (about the size of a silver dollar) 10 times each direction, repeat with the leg 6 inches forward and 6 inches backward.



Back Stretch (2 parts): Scratch the belly with both hands or use a curry until the horse arches his back upward, then scratch or curry the back until the horse arches the opposite direction. 



A BIG thanks to Dr. Lisa for being a good sport...and guaranteeing that Chloe is in a good mood for at least another few weeks! Also, a quick thanks to Lexi for holding Chloe during her stretches! If you are in the Charlotte, NC area do not hesitate to give Dr. Lisa a call. Your horse will love you for it!! For more information visit Dr. Lisa's website at: www.drlisabusko.com