A New Approach To Lameness

(Part 1)

“A major cause of lameness is lameness” (James R. Rooney)


The concept that the horse's gait can actually be changed to rehab or prevent injury is almost completely foreign to veterinarian and most trainers. It turns out that the ability to correct kinematics abnormalities inducing lameness is one of the most efficient modern therapies.

It all started in the late seventies when James Rooney investigated the kinematics abnormalities leading to injuries. The pathologist found out that if not corrected, a mild kinematics abnormality is likely, over a period of time, to create lesion. “The gait abnormality created by a specific lesion is the gait abnormality that causes the lesion.” Rooney identified the kinematics abnormalities leading to lameness but no one followed up on the next step, which is correcting the gait abnormalities.

At first, the thought that instead of being the main cause of lameness, the rider’s equitation could address and correct the kinematics abnormalities inducing injuries was pertinent. The pertinence turned into revolution when, applying modern science for a better equitation, the science of motion uncovered the capacity to correct limbs kinematics abnormalities through specific coordination of the horse’s vertebral column mechanism.

In humans, back problems are the leading cause of disability. As well, in equine, back muscles’ imbalance and other dysfunctions are the leading cause of limbs kinematics abnormalities and consequent injuries. We reeducate multiple cases of navicular syndrome correcting the vertebral column mechanism inducing the limbs kinematics abnormalities causing excessive pressure between the distal sesamoid (navicular) bone and the deep digital flexor tendon. The remodeling process was then able to partially or fully restore soundness. Likewise, the last four cases of kissing spine have been resolved identifying the vertebral column imbalance causing impingement of the dorsal spines. Beside invasive surgery, nothing can be done about the fact that the dorsal spines are inherently too close. What can be done is teaching to the horse a vertebral column coordination avoiding contact of the dorsal spines.

“There has always been a disconnection between what top horsemen know and what vets work with, their knowledge base is structural and physiological, and drugs, and surgery and healing, but not movement oriented. The art of rehabilitation after injury is just becoming a serious field of study.... great horsemen have always done it well, but they have not been asked to speak at the vet schools!” (Kristine Matlack  DVM) They have not been asked to speak at equestrian conventions either. The art of rehabilitation after injuries as well as the art of preventing injuries, demands equitation based on actual knowledge of the equine physiology. Great horsemen prepare efficiently the horse’s physique for the performance. This of course markedly reduces the rate of injuries. However, competitions are demanding and when injury occurs, great horsemen use the same sophisticated equitation to correct the vertebral column dysfunction inducing the limbs kinematics abnormalities causing injuries.

Rehabilitation through motion is rapidly gaining momentum. We have created a comprehensive program of education. The program is named Immersion because it is created to fully immerse one into advanced knowledge of the equine physiology and the practical application of knew knowledge.

 Information on our Immersion Program