The term McTimoney is derived from its creator John McTimoney who first started using the treatment in the 1950s. Since then it has been well recognised as an effective treatment for animals – mainly due to its gentle approach and positive response. The treatment is readily accepted by most animals.
It is a holistic, non-invasive treatment which aims to re-align and balance the animal’s musculoskeletal system – restoring health, movement, soundness and performance.
70% of all sports horses in the UK will sustain at least one musco-skeletal disorder in any one season.
Reasons why McTimoney may be necessary
There are many reasons why horses may benefit from McTimoney treatment. Regular check ups are important as preventative treatment is very effective in optimising performance. As well as a routine ‘MOT’ other issues may arise which can effect the horses way of going and if not tackled potentially can effect the well being of the horse. Poorly balanced feet or neglected teeth are both high risk factors in the development of musculoskeletal problems in the horse. Sore backs and foot imbalances can be intrinsically linked, which came first doesn’t necessarily matter what is important is that the two problems are treated individually to assist a full recovery. Ill-fitting tack such as saddles that are too low, too tight, too long, which can all cause pressure points, are also a common cause of muscle bruising and spasms in the horse. An asymmetric rider can also cause similar pressure points, so it is wise for you as the rider to also have regular check-ups with a suitably qualified professional.
Common signs which may indicate your horse would benefit from assessment
Common signs include:
- Drop in performance
- Unlevelness or lameness
- Dragging of hind feet or irregular action
- Uneven wear of shoes
- Behaviour changes – this could range from a reluctance to go forward, stiffness on one rein compared to another, disunited canter, poor canter transitions
- Stiffness on one rein compared to another, disunited canter, poor canter transitions
- Uneven or asymmetrical muscle development
The list could go on.
What can be expected on the initial assessment?
Before the treatment it is important your vet has given permission for me to assess and potentially treat the horse.
The initial assessment can take about an hour as a full detailed case history will be taken. This aims to gain information on the health and function of the horse. Information on any previous or current veterinary treatment, as well as farriery and dental history is important to give an overview of the health and well being of the horse.
I will also be keen to identify how the horse is performing, whether this may be as a high level competition horse or as a pleasure hack once a month.Any change in behaviour or altered way of going can be an indicator that there may be issues that need addressing before they develop into larger problems.
I will then observe the horse move on a flat level surface in order to identify any lameness or gait disturbance.
To assess the horse, the ideal conditions would be in a dry area with a level floor and good lighting. The musculoskeletal system will then be assessed and any relevant treatment undertaken. This is done by very precise and rapid adjustments which aim to restore full range of joint motion and relieve muscle spasm.
Following the treatment an appropriate plan to enable the horse to return to optimal function will be discussed. This may involve further treatment as it is not always possible to rectify all issues on the first session. A rehabilitation plan may also be necessary to rebuild muscles that may have atrophied due to previous problems.
You will need to gain consent from your vet before your horse or dog can be treated. This is because the treatment of animals is regulated under the Veterinary Act 1966. The Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order 1962 authorises manipulative therapies such as those used by McTimoney animal practitioners providing they practice with the prior consent of the animal’s veterinary surgeon.