503-545-1541 drjoe@horsechiro.com


Do You Have Questions?

We Have Answers!

Do you have a question about Equine Chiropractic? Browse through our common FAQs to see if your question is answered here.

If you don’t see an answer to your question, fill out the form below and send your question to Dr. Lally. Facts, Questions & Answers will be regularly updated here. If your question is useful to others, we will post it here so keep checking back.

Do you have a question about Equine Chiropractic? Browse through our common FAQs to see if your question is answered here.

If you don’t see an answer to your question, fill out the form below and send your question to Dr. Lally. Facts, Questions & Answers will be regularly updated here. If your question is useful to others, we will post it here so keep checking back.

What can I expect from a full-body Equine Chiro session?

What happens at a first equine session with Dr Lally is a history.  Some of the questions will be;

  • How long have you had the horse?
  • How old is the horse?
  • When did you first notice there was a problem?
  • What happened, was there an acute episode or did it come on slowly?
  • Discipline:  -What do you do with the horse? What are your goals with this horse? -Do you compete or plan to compete?
  • Training: Has the horse been to a trainer?Do you ride with a coach or a trainer?
  • Feel: What do you feel while riding?  Is the horse left or right side dominant or can it go both directions equally?  A particular weakness when trying to do something like lead changes or side passes?  Do you feel any specific differences side to side?
  • Dental: When were the teeth last done or checked by a dentist?  Proper dentition is mandatory for correct biomechanical  function.

This is just a sampling of questions pertinent to successful treatment.

Getting to know the horse

When a new person approaches a horse, the horse has every reason to be suspicious, as many times that stranger will pound nails in their feet or poke needles in their bodies, smelling of medicine or burnt hoof.

My goal is to elicit trust in the animal, this is why on my initial contact with the horse I will offer them a “wiff” of essential oils.  Which oils they respond to and how, is a good indicator of which oils to use.  It is also somewhat different from medicine or burnt hoof.

Next I’ve termed “taking them to lunch” to get to know their likes and dislikes of being touched and where.  I will usually aggressively scratch the horse in an effort to develop rapport, and identify where and how deep a problem may be.  Going over the majority of the body and identifying different reactions from the horse while also feeling for tonal response of deeper tissues.  Where are the deeper cramps or skin twitches.  Facial responses also help create a map of autonomic responses of avoidance or acceptance..

All of this is done to establish trust and rapport with the horse.  I can’t just tell them to “relax”. If the horse has a high anxiety level it is hard to get them to let down and let me deep into the tissue.  The deeper into the affected tissue I can get, the better the outcome of the myofascial release.

In the process of ‘getting to know the horse’, observation of structural balance is going on:

  • Head set?
  • Are shoulders even & balanced?
  • Are hips level?
  • Is the spine straight or deviated?
  • Stance, over, under; base wide, narrow or square?
  • Are legs correct?

This part of the evaluation will indicate if we are working with “Crooked Hore Syndrome” or a “Low High Syndrome”

(More on these later).


Palpation is more than just touching.  In palpation we are identifying the feel of the underlying tissue.  This is why knowledge of anatomy is so important.  One needs to know what is under the skin to be able to determine what it should feel like.  And then feel a thousand normals to be able to determine what abnormal feels like.  Knowledge of the anatomy enables one to follow the entire length of a muscle to determine if the horse is using that muscle efficiently.  In many different instances the entire length of a muscle is not used properly therefore causing the muscle to develop improperly and effect correct movement.  This may lead to forces applied unevenly on a joint causing early onset joint arthrosis. (arthritis)

This improper use of the muscle will also cause the muscle to “bunch up”, leading to muscle spasm and eventually to contracture, inability of the muscle to release from a contracted state, therefore not contributing to the workload.

This is where the tool assisted myofascial release (TAMR) comes in to play.  With TAMR, the muscle spasm is forced apart allowing for an exchange of neurotransmitters and blood flow, re establishing normal muscle tone, blood flow, contributing to lymphatic circulation allowing for the disposal of metabolic debris. (Changing the bath water)

With this dysfunction and with simple general life itself, inflammation occurs, inflammation is always accompanied with fibrosis, fibrosis leads to ‘sticky’ tissue that can lead to micro-scarring. This microscopic scar tissue can gum up the works and cause nerve impingement of the soft tissue. Nerve impingement may lead to more problems with correct movement as it seeks to protect the body. TAMR clears this up allowing for the slippery slide of tissues across each other.


Once we have all the above issues addressed,  the animal is quite relaxed and this is when chiropractic adjustments are performed on the vertebral column.  The segments are evaluated for movements within their respective range of motion and if necessary the adjustment is applied to restore normal range of motion and decompression of spinal nerves as they exit the spinal column.


During the session you will be informed of the findings and during conclusion we will go over some basic exercises and stretches that directly correlate with your horses needs. Follow up care will be discussed at this time.

Payment is due at time of service. Please have your payment ready!

Will muscle work, acupressure and myofascial therapy always be done in a session?
Answer: Every horse is an individual and therefor each horse will have different needs. Dr. Joe uses the most effective treatment modalities for the issue needing to be addressed. This can include all or just some of the treatment methods in his toolbox.
How many session will my horse need before I see results?
Answer: The amount of care a horse needs has many factors but some general guidelines are

  • The duration of the problem. How long has the problem existed? The longer the problem has existed the longer it will take to resolve. Deep seated problems such as scar tissue may take more time to resolve. Not all problems are painful and therefore our concern is proper movement.  Many times the pain will resolve before proper movement is re-established. If we are dealing with an acute injury, cellular repair is required for resolution.
  • If the problem is physical, without structural damage, immediate results will be evidenced.
  • If the problem is metabolic, (Cushings,EPSSM et al), or neurologic, (EPM et al) these conditions must be managed by yourself or your veterinarian.
Do you offer Equine Chiro packages?
Answer: Included in the fee is travel expenses. The basic fee is $145.00/ horse.  When 1 owner has three or more horses to be done the fee drops to $125.00/ horse.  This applies ONLY to a single owner, not to multiple horses in a single barn.
What are the limits of your travel?
Answer: Dr. Joe’s limits of travel are stated on his contact page. Travel outside this generalized range is possible depending on number of horses that need work and possible travel fees. Dr. Joe encourages you to contact him if you are outside of his general service area to discuss ways he can make it to your barn/home/farm.
How far in advance to I need to schedule an appointment?
Answer: At this time I do not charge a travel fee.  This is an effort to keep prices down for owners.  In order to do this the schedule outside of The Central Oregon area necessitates multiple horses per area.  I need a minimum of 6 (six) horses in your area before I will schedule your horse. Luckily I have been doing this long enough that this usually doesn’t take more than a week to schedule for most  areas of the Willamette Valley or SW Washington.

Central Oregon is exempt from this requirement and can usually schedule within a few days.

What is Expected of The Horse Owner?

  • It is preferred that the client has done ground work with the horse so that it has basic ground manners.
  • It is requested that the horse is clean and groomed sufficiently. The animal cannot be wet or muddy,
  • The area that the horse is to be worked must be flat, dry and free of clutter. A flat solid surface is necessary for proper structural evaluation.
  • During Inclement weather structural protection is required.  A roof and 2 walls for wind & rain protection.
  • Animals must be segregated from other horses.
  • Please have payment in hand & ready.

Ask Your Question

If your question is chosen, the question and corresponding answer will be shown on this page.

You name and email will also be entered in a drawing for a free Chiro session. Winner will be selected Dec. 24th, 2018

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