Let’s Discuss: Alternative Therapies

Horse people are weird. We know that. We spend money on these animals in ways that even normal-crazy-people think are crazy. And sometimes that cray in us comes out in therapeutic sessions for our horses.


Sometimes we try things as part of the rabbit hole that can be lameness diagnosis (ask me how I know). Other times it’s because we believe in a certain program in order to keep our beloved ponies in the best condition possible. And sometimes it’s because we don’t like money.

Acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments have long been stand-bys in equine management programs. And even these have gray areas. What about chiropractic practicians that aren’t vets? What about acupuncture that doesn’t include needles? How many of you have had conversations about what type of horse yours is- earth/water/fire/etc?

Then there’s more ‘modern’ treatments entering the horse world thanks to the wonders of technology. Some of these, just off the top of my head, include:

  • Equine Kenisiology [Rocktape]
  • Theraplates [Active proprietary Vortex Wave Circulation Stimulation Technology]
  • Magnawave PEMF [Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field]
  • Infrared Equine Solarium
  • Ceramic Fabric Therapy [aka Back on Track]
  • Magnetic Therapy

While I have only tried a couple of the above therapies, I probably would try all of them if the price was right, for curiosity’s sake. Even if there are some things that I would slightly choke on to discuss…

So readers, I want to know- have you tried any alternate therapies? What worked? What was a waste of money? What did you learn, and what were your experiences? Where do you draw the line for treating your 4 legged friend and/or keeping him in condition?


20 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Alternative Therapies

  1. I use BoT stuff to help keep Eli’s wind puffs down, and it seems to help. He also gets massage therapy. Haven’t tried the other stuff. My barn had a Theraplate for a while but I never used it. I stood on it myself for like 30 seconds and it felt like my legs were going numb so that kind of turned me off to it. There were so few studies on it, and the ones I found seemed like there was not much benefit. (And there was literally an article about a study on it that I read two days ago and now can’t find.)

    The massage therapy seems to help Eli immensely, though.

  2. I do PEMF and chiro for P. For awhile I was just doing chiro and didn’t really see a difference after sessions, so I went to just PEMF, where there was some definite improvement. But then I just had P chiro’d and 3 days later he had his monthly PEMF, and he felt like heaven to ride. So I’m going to double up on that for now.

  3. Glad to make your acquaintance over on SheMovedtoTexas yesterday!

    I really only ever did chiro and massage with Promise, but then again, I didn’t have the funds or connections to try any of those other things you mentioned 5+ years ago! I’d be interested in learning more about them and their benefits, for sure. I also really love the idea of the aqua-therapy for horses.

    • Ditto!
      And yes- I really wish I had the funds to do aqua therapy for my not retired horse… there’s a good facility down the road with a water treadmill, it’s just so expensive!

  4. I love them all pretty much lol. Estella gets regular acupuncture and chiro and I notice a huge difference. I tried Masterson Method/ Healing Touch last month and after that was the best she has ever moved. I’d like to try magna wave, too! Totally sold on bodywork!

    • I haven’t heard of the Masterson Method- will have to look that up!
      There’s a lady who comes up from Charlotte for magnawave and is doing several horses at the barn… if you’re still on the barn FB page you should check it out!

  5. I’m a body work junkie!!!! Have had to cut back due to funds but I can definitely feel a difference in Chimi when he’s regularly looked after. The Masterson Method works really well for Chimi and it released a thing in his leg and afterwards we started landing on our left lead (he was a right only for a good bit, still favors the right but I think that’s a strength/comfort zone issue) plus I PEMF’d my knee and I swear it healed faster!!! And yeah Chimi lives in his BOT saddle pads and I notice significant back soreness when I don’t use them. So yeah, Chimi loves all the things!!! My wallet does not 😂

  6. Chiro: Used it several times on several horses. I think it can be beneficial, but sometimes I’m on the fence about it. Rio hasn’t been done since November, as optional funds are a bit limited and right now we are paying off actual vet bills. Will probably do it again in the future though.

    Acupuncture: Would be interested in trying it someday it the person came highly recommended by people I trust and I had extra money laying around.

    Back on Track: Love the products. I use the quick wraps, mesh sheet, hock boots, and saddle pads. I also have a people elbow brace and I have noticed a HUGE difference in pain in my elbow when I use it a lot. I’m a believer in these products helping with general small aches and pains.

    Magna Wave: Had 2 sessions on my old lease horse, focusing on an area of an old injury with associated scar tissue. Did not feel it made any difference in that horse. Would not shell out the money to do it again.

    Theraplate: My old trainer had one and the horses seemed to like it. I do not think any of the “science” that the website spouts actually supports ANY of their claims. I actually would not want to use one anymore- no one knows the long term effects of the vibrations on the joints, and I have read that it can possible be detrimental over a long period of time. I just wouldn’t want to risk it, especially without any actual science supporting that it’s beneficial in any way.

    I have not tried any of the others. I personally think the “tape” is garbage though LOL

  7. Otter has been getting regular chiro work for about a year now. Recently I added massage/myofascial work to the regiment. I feel the two therapies work really well and compliment one another! Have considered trying out PEMF – I probably will at some point, though presently the chiro + massage have been aiding in Otter feeling his best!

  8. Good topic! There is so much pseudoscience out there sometimes it’s hard to parse through what works and what doesn’t.

    Chiro, acupuncture, and bodywork are as-needed staples for myself and my animals.
    I’ve experienced some benefit from PEMF in conjunction with those therapies for myself, and I think the research is getting there as far as a mechanistic understanding. Would potentially try with the animals in the future.

    I am skeptical of Theraplate and kinesiology tape- the research isn’t there.
    BoT and solariums put a lot of hype into infrared therapy that I don’t buy. Same with magnetic therapy.
    Do these things feel nice? Probably. Is it a cellular cure-all? Doubt it. Is it worth the money? That’s between you and your horse. 😉
    (As a biochemist, the claimed scientific mechanisms of those treatments just do not make sense to me.)

  9. I live too far from any equine practitioners of massage, chiro and /or acupuncture anymore, but took advantage of them when there was access. Experienced immediate relief of symptoms with acupuncture for myself. I’m a firm “believer” in the scientific method, but also allow there may be modalities / methodologies that science hasn’t connected with yet.

  10. I like rocktape and magnetic therapy like back on track products to have on hand and to do the tiny maintenance. But my favorite is PEMF but not with magnawave. I love LifePULSE PEMF, their machines are better and how they work on Horses has been an improvement. Back on track products aren’t as powerful but are good to use as much as possible then have a PEMF practitioner out once a month or more often if there is an issue or more competitions

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