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August 25, 2015


Volume IV


Phase I - Equine Report of Findings Summary


The Report of Findings Summary for a "Phase I" horse can only be described as appearing bloody! There is so much red ink on the report that it looks like the horse is bleeding profusely. It would be difficult to confuse a Phase I horse with any other phase. It is not the kind of report card that you would want to post on your refrigerator!


Usually the horse has experienced a trauma, a period of inactivity, prolonged stall rest, or has been in acute or chronic pain due to protracted failed biomechanics. Frequently, by the time I am called in to evaluate a horse, it is experiencing a form of abnormal compensatory posture, (ACP), with associated back and pelvic pain. Prolonged compensations for ACP can eventually subluxate knees, fetlocks, shoulders, etc. Compensatory fixations may have already developed in its poll, neck, spine, knees, rib cage, etc., a bloody mess!


This is not a happy camper. This horse is not likely to be glad to see you or your saddle coming toward it. These compensations, more often than not, result in the pelvis being locked or fixated and it is difficult for the horse to canter since that requires good pelvic flexion on the opposite side from the lead. To make matters worse, if the sacrum, the bone between the pelvic bones, like the horses "rudder," is fixated, or "stuck" to the left for example, it would be difficult to get your horse to bend to the right. In my experience, one-sided issues tend to be more of a physical problem than mental or a "training issue."


Eventually the counter-balancing poll or upper neck will become fixated. In the human world, when our "poll" is subluxated or fixated it can cause migraine headache-like or even "hangover" symptoms. You remember, right? "Turn down the stereo, don't you know I have a headache." You just want to pull the covers over your head because the lights are so bright. "Just leave me alone; don't you know I feel abysmal?" Well in horses, we just like to call them "spooky!" In humans, it can at times be discounted as an uncomfortable inconvenience; in horses, a prey animal, their instincts may tell them that it could be a death sentence. If their poll locks or subluxates in the wild to the point that they cannot turn their head easily, and they cannot see what is coming up behind them, they can become dinner for a predator. As a result, their poll and neck priorities may be different than yours when under saddle.


On your Evaluation and Treatment Summary, the arrows over the top and side view of the pelvic region demonstrate the direction of pelvic fixation or subluxation. The small triangle between the pelvic bones will point in the direction that the "rudder" (sacrum) has subluxated. The columns depict areas of subluxation, muscle spasms, pain, and restriction on each side of your horse as viewed from above.


The scale at the bottom of your report rates your horse's pelvic flexibility and lateral suppleness by the amount of cross-under ability in "hoof widths" across the midline. The optimal suppleness in my experience, is (2) hoof widths across the midline. The "Findings" address the results found during your horse's evaluation.


The "Assignment" area will provide recommendations or homework to help your horse advance to the strengthening phase, or Phase II. The back of your Evaluation and Treatment Summary outlines the consult episode, and contains a reminder of the online location, username, and password for the assigned homework stretching video for your reference. Focusing on the Phase I stretches and exercises are the key ingredients needed for me to help your horse advance to Phase II.


If a date has been set for my return visit, it will be written on the bottom of your Summary.


Thank you for your continued interest in animal chiropractic.


Dr. Lance E. Cleveland, Animal Chiropractor


(Please see the sample Phase I Evaluation and Treatment Report of Findings Summary below) 


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