Horse health clinic well-attended

Heather Latter

District horse owners had the chance to learn more about the health of their animals during a clinic held at Wieringa’s arena in Emo on Saturday.

Speakers included Dr. Glenn Bailey, of CHIROCARE Health Centre in Winnipeg, Christine Tomlin, of Roadtrimmers Barefoot Hoofcare, and Jo Woolsey, an equine nutrition consultant from Barwick.

“I’m really pleased with the support and turnout,” said Woolsey, who co-ordinated the clinic.

“The feedback has been really good.”

Woolsey said after having met Dr. Bailey and Tomlin in Manitoba, she wanted to bring them here so horse owners in Rainy River District could further educate themselves on how to care for their horses.

“The chiropractic part was very interesting and something people might not know about because we don’t have the service here,” reasoned Becky Georgeson, who attended Saturday’s clinic.

Dr. Bailey, the only certified animal chiropractor in Manitoba, is a member of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, International Chiropractic Association, the MB Chiropractic Association, and the American Veterinarian Chiropractic Association.

Not only does he provide chiropractic care for horses, but also people and dogs.

“Regular chiropractic care is a non-invasive and cost-effective way to maintain the performance and agility of your equine,” Dr. Bailey explained, noting has been practising on animals for 12 years and on people for 18.

“But horses are very different than dogs,” he stressed.

Dr. Bailey taught those on hand a little about chiropractic care.

“Think of me as a glorified electrician for the body, focusing on the nervous system, not the bones,” he explained, referring to how stress can effect the nervous system.

However, since horses have less mental and emotion stress, they can hold their adjustments a lot longer than people can, averaging about three-four months.

When assessing a horse, Dr. Bailey watches how it walks, looking at the pelvis and the legs.

“Always look for symmetry in your horse,” he noted, citing if the pelvis is moving higher on one side when walking, it’s possible something is misaligned.

He offered some other tests for horse owners to do at home, such as the trampoline test to check the movement of the spine as well as lifting the horse’s head to check for any resistance.

While Dr. Bailey offered appointments over the weekend for those interested in having chiropractic work done on their horses, some owners were concerned about not having the follow-up option available to them.

“Something is better than nothing,” he advised. “Doing nothing is going to cause more degeneration.”

Dr. Bailey did suggest if some district horse owners were interested in getting together and having him return, he would be open to exploring that possibility.

Meanwhile, those at Saturday’s clinic also learned about barefoot hoof care from Tomlin, who owns and operates Pink Rock Stables—a full-service equine educational facility in Lac Du Bonnet, Man.

She shared her belief that a horse is born with a hoof that can, with a correct trim, perform bare in any discipline.

She then explained the “Welz trim,” where the hooves are trimmed to the specification that nature gave them.

“It’s good for people in the area to educate themselves about trimming,” said Georgeson, noting there are some horse owners who are looking to start trimming their own horses’ hooves.

She added horse owners also are always talking about nutrition for their animals, which is why a presentation by Woolsey regarding feeding for performance was highly-welcomed.

“There are more people getting into endurance riding,” Georgeson said, adding that’s where nutrition is extremely important.

“And people are always looking for more information and knowledge,” she reasoned.

Woolsey, who owns Aurora Wind Feeds in Stratton, is the Canadian distributor of Buckeye Nutrition horse feed.

Georgeson said Woolsey is very knowledgeable and informative about nutrition, and offered up an excellent seminar.

“I’m very proud of the community for coming out,” Woolsey remarked, noting this was the second horse education clinic held there this summer.

“The first one was good, this one was better, and I think the next one will be outstanding,” she enthused.

The clinic in October is expected to feature a natural horsemanship clinician.

Woolsey also is working to get a few other speakers to visit the area.