By Dan Sumerel
This is a question that all horse owners face from time to time. When your horse is hurt, injured or just not performing right, it can be frustrating, expensive, emotionally draining and so on. Over the past 22 years I have worked in the horse industry helping people with both behavioral problems and physical problems, and I’d like to share a few insights that I have gathered, some of which will contradict what many consider the normal thinking regarding physical problems in horses.
Let me begin by saying I am NOT a vet. However, having had the privilege of working with every breed of horse in almost every discipline, as well as some of the best vets and horse people on the planet, even an ordinary guy like me, was able to learn a lot. And I continue to learn, since the only thing I am positive about is that we never know it all!
If you compete with your horses, that repetitive motion, and using their bodies at full effort, is a major source of injuries. But please don’t think that just Barrel racers or Racehorses or even my sport of endurance riding are only where these repetitive motion injuries show up. Dressage horses have just as many physical problems, but they don’t gallop! The same for Show horses. Even trail riding can provide physical problems, especially when the unpredictable ground being ridden is considered. There are also the more unpredictable problems of the horse falling, or getting into fence wire, or so many other unforeseeable disasters waiting to happen.
Myth: “How’s your horse?” “He’s great, trotted him out and no lameness!” BULL! Just because a horse is not lame, does NOT mean he is OK. You could have cancer or other life threatening health problems, but you don’t limp! Horse owners that don’t SEE a physical problem, ASSUME there are none.
And here’s another consideration. As prey animals, horses know that if they are the horse limping in the herd, every predator in the woods will focus on him! So horses try to hide physical problems by compensating and they are VERY good at it. They take stress off the sore/injured area and ALTER THEIR NATURAL PATTERN OF MOVEMENT to protect it. But this overloads other areas so further compensation is needed. The longer this goes on the worse it gets. To take this one step further, I have been hired many times to ‘re-train’ some dangerous or out of control horse, only to find out he was in so much pain that his behavior was his way of protecting himself. Correct the physical problems and the behavioral problems disappear! Next question, “how do we KNOW what/where physical problems are hidden in our horse? And just as important, how do we correct them?
This is where Sumerel Therapy comes in. Over 20 years I have helped thousands of horses using a 2 part system called the STS-2. It includes:
1) A Scanner that can go over the ENTIRE horse in about 30 minutes and locate any physical problems present. It is accurate and NOT interpretive. Ever see 4 people watch a lame horse trot out and argue over where ‘THE PROBLEM’ is? Of course! Two issues here: Interpretation provides for error, and looking for ‘THE PROBLEM’ ends the evaluation when ‘A PROBLEM’ is found. After Scanning several thousand horses, I never scanned a horse with only 1 problem!
2) We then TREAT all the problems found using a state of the art LED light therapy device. It is SAFE, very effective at stimulating healing, and simple to use. Google NASA LED Therapy to see where we got the idea. Yea, NASA!!! And YES it works on people, dogs, cats, etc. And best of all ANYONE can use this. We have 12 year olds and grandmothers using it. I was called in on 59 occasions when a horse was about to be put down, and we saved 58. I am very proud of that number! People use it on their own horses or as a service business for horses in their area. To learn more, please visit the Sumerel Therapy page on our website.