Physiotherapy is a paramedic disicpline that involves treatment of the human motion system. Physiotherapy contains excersise therapy, massagetherapy and fysical therapy and is very common for treatment of various injuries.



Chiropraxis is a form of manual therapy, with focus on the mobility of the spine and joints, and health of the nervous system.


Read more about Physiotherapy & Chiropraxis

Dutch physiotherapy educations are worldwide known to be very high level. To become an animal physiotherapist, you take at least six years of education. After four years of human physiotherapy, an animal-specialization (canine & equine) follows. After that, it’s possible to specialize an other two years on chiropraxis. In the Netherlands, there is a strict rule: you can only use the title “physiotherapist” with a diploma and a registration.

Animal physiotherapy
In 1992 this profession was approved by the Dutch ministry. It has developed over the years. Nowadays there are over 400 dutch animal physiotherapist. Only a small percent is actually working fulltime with animals, the others keep combining it with their jobs at a human practice.

The word ‘chiropraxis’ comes from the greek words ‘cheiros’ (hand) and ‘pratto’ (practise). It means ‘practise with hands’ and that is why it’s a form of manual therapy. The founder of chiropraxis is Daniel David Palmer (1895). His theory is based on Hippocrates (the father of human medicine). He believed that the origin of a lot of injuries and diseases is found in the spine. The spine protects the spinal cord, a part of the nervous system, together with the brain. This spinal cord has branches, called the nerves. These nerves transport electronical impulses to the muscletissues and organs. A functional limitation of the spine can cause a decrease of these impulses, so said Palmer. By treating the spineous problems, the tissues and organs can function properly. In 2005 the World Health Organisation (WHO) cornfirmed that chiropraxis is an effective treatment for diseases and injuries of muscles, joints and the nervous system.

Equine Chiropraxis
In 2005 the Dutch international course ‘Focus on the Equine Spine’ (FES) was founded by our colleague Solange Schrijer, in cooperation with the famous American chiropractor dr. Kevin Haussler. Only vets and animal physiotherapists are able to participate. End 2007 the first chiropractors graduated (including Dewi).



Read more about Indications for therapy


Treatment indications:

  • problems at legs and spine (neck, back, pelvis)
  • joint inflammation or -irritation, artrosis
  • muscle- or tendon injury
  • neurological problems, Ataxia
  • wounds and adhesion of scarr tissue
  • rehabilitation after surgery

Multidisciplinary approach
When your horse has serious problems I advise you to consult a specialized equine vet for examination and making a diagnose. In collaboration with this vet, physiotherapy can be applied.

Recognize injuries
Unfortunately your horse can’t tell you if there’s something wrong. However, when you observe very well, you may sometimes see some very subtile indications.


  • shorter stance duration
  • shorter stride length

Swelling & oedema:

  • swelling of the skin
  • swelling of the muscles
  • swelling in the tendon region
  • swelling of the joints

Painfull tissue to touch or
to put pressure on

Changes in behavior:

  • biting and kicking or threatening
    with nursing, saddle, mount

Resistance during training:

  • striking, rearing, bucking
  • headshaking
  • hollow the back and run away

Problems that seemed to be a training
problem at first, but improve very slow:

  • stressed horse, not easy to relax
  • problems flexing the neck
  • reluctance to collect
  • problems with transitions
  • not easy to bend sideways
  • not going straight
  • troubles with half-pass
  • problems with flying changes
  • bunnyhopping
  • often disunited canter
  • stumbling, bad balance
  • strong preference for off leg when jumping
  • strong preference for landing leg when jumping

Possible indications of initial problems:

  • temperature rise at specific body part
  • tail not straight
  • decrease of musculature
  • stiffness at warming up
  • shortened stride length in general
  • changed behavior in general
  • decrease of performance in general