Please be sure to visit our sponsor, Total Health Enhancement, Inc.
Let them know you appreciate their support of these articles!


Daniel Kamen, D.C.
Certified Animal Chiropractor
    I've been a chiropractor for 20 years.  When I graduated from the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 1981 I had no idea I would be working with animals.  No chiropractic school teaches a course on animal adjusting and back then, there was no extracurricular course available that taught you how to adjust animals.  Even the vets didn't adjust horses back then, except maybe one here and there who learned a technique or two from the rare chiropractor who did.  I guess the question is why.  Why hasn't there been a course of instruction teaching animal chiropractic until recently.  After all, chiropractic has been a recognized profession for 106 years.  I'll tell you why.  Politics.

    Most U.S. states do not allow chiropractors to autonomously adjust animals.  Where it is allowed, the chiropractor must first obtain a veterinary referral.  This is not to say that the vet has to refer the patient to the chiropractor.  Rather, the patient hires the chiropractor to adjust their horse, then the chiropractor asks the patient to contact their vet, and have the vet fax them the ok.  This is fine.  I'm not opposed to this.  This is the way it should be.  Some chiropractors are not familiar with animal diseases.  But my problem is unique.  I conduct animal chiropractic seminars around the country.  I did 45 of them last year.  And there are a number of states that have shut me down.  Those states
are Nevada, Washington, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New York, and Kentucky.  Even though I do not conduct a practice in those states (only Illinois, where I'm licensed), I am forbidden to teach anyone, lay people as well as professionals, how to adjust animals.

     Two years ago, during my Las Vegas seminar, the Attorney General's office sent an undercover investigator to spy on me.  The investigator paid the full price ($325.00), asked questions like a seasoned horse person, and participated in the hands-on adjusting clinic.  A week after the seminar, I received two certified letters at my Illinois office.  One was to appear in court to answer charges of practicing veterinary medicine without a license, and the other was a fifteen page "rap" sheet, outlining all of my criminal activities.  The worst offense was when a horse nipped me during a shoulder adjustment.  Here's what happened.  While lifting up the horse's front leg to mobilize the shoulder, a horse fly the size of a chicken, bit the horse on the back which caused the horse to jump.  I would too.  The investigator mistook the horse's reaction as pain caused by the adjustment. 
Everyone else at the seminar saw the horse fly except the investigator.  Another offense was when I used the word, "subluxation," when I was describing  a pinched spinal nerve. All of the sudden, out of nowhere, the word subluxation is a disease in and of itself.  By using that word, I was diagnosing the horse.  Again, practicing veterinary medicine. 

    For those who like to be amused, I suggest you fire up your search engine and type in, "Las Vegas Sun."  Once you get to their site, type in my last name, "Kamen."  The Sun did several articles about this.  For the record, I still plan to do equine chiropractic seminars in each of those above mentioned states.  Yes, I could get arrested.  But what the heck. It's no sense being an animal chiropractor if it's the same as being a citizen. 

Adjusting Technique
The Poll

     What article would be complete without teaching you how to do something.  While I have dozens of techniques, among the most important would be to adjust the poll or atlas, the first cervical vertebra.  The move I'll describe here is called the "posterior arch" move.  It is one of four moves to adjust the poll, and the best. 

    The two areas of the horse's body that need to be adjusted the most are the atlas, poll and the pelvis. These two areas are particularly vulnerable to subluxations (misalignments) because there is so much movement there.When the horse unexpectedly jerks his head, a muscle spasm will arise, generally on one side of the atlas causing impeded movement. 

    In the horse world, you will often hear the word "poll" used instead of “atlas.”  The poll is really the back of the occiput, more precisely, the EOP (external occipital protuberance).  But in the vernacular, if a horse has something wrong with his poll, his atlas needs to be adjusted, and you're restoring motion to the atlanto-occipital joint.  This joint is known as the "yes" joint because it allows for extension (head up), and flexion (head down).  By comparison, a dog has much more extension at the poll than a horse.  A dog can extend his head up until his nose points towards the ceiling.  A horse has one third less extension.  A cat, no one knows.  The reason why a horse has less extension at the poll is because the occipital condyles are long and protrude deeply in the atlas sulci.  A dog's atlas sulci are shallow and allow for more movement.


    I think we can all agree that before adjusting the atlas, the first step is to find the misalignment and the area of pain.  For this there are two tests; static palpation and motion palpation.

     The static palpation test is to stand in front of the horse and place two fingers (the long ways) into the space between the atlas wing (which is huge) and the mandible on both sides (figure one).  Make sure the horse is standing square and his head is straight.  The narrower of the two sides is the painful side and usually contains are hard, round muscle spasm that will make the horse react when probed.

Figure 1

    Having found the closed side, it's time to motion out the joint.  Stand in front of the horse, grab the nose halter on each side and lift up the horse's head until it stops (figure two)  Does he fight you?  Next, laterally bend the head to one side then lift up again.  Repeat for the other side.  Which side felt heavier going up?  It should be the closed side as demonstrated with the static palpation test.  That's the side you need to adjust.
Figure 2

For the posterior arch move, stand in front of the horse on the side opposite the misalignment and clasp your hands around the atlas (posterior arch) while the horse's chin is resting on your shoulder (your shoulder acts as a table). 

    Next, as in most adjustments, the step before the thrust or impulse, is to stretch the joint and  bring it to tension.  For this you'll need to push down on the atlas and at the same time, lean backward to goose neck the joint.  Once this is done, pivot your shoulders away from the misalignment.  This opens up the closed side.  Now the joint is fully stretched.  Lastly, while maintaining this sturdy position, quickly impulse straight down and release.  You might get an audible, but maybe not.  An audible isn't necessary to prove the success of the adjustment.  Simply retest the motion test (the "yes" test) and see if both sides feel equal. 

For questions or more information, you may write to 
Dr. Daniel Kamen,D.C. at 
1121 Highland Grove Drive--Buffalo Grove, IL. 60089. 
Or call 1-800-742-8433.  Website.
Books and videos are available on my web site. 
My next seminar is in Idaho, then West Virginia, and South Dakota.


Articles. like the one above, are made possible by the supporters of the Gaited Horses site, The Gaited Horse Gang.
If you liked what you read, or learned something, we ask that you help us to continue this resource online.
To Become a Gaited Horses Gang Member (Site Supporter) 
Choose the Level

Through PayPal
GHG Regular $30/yr  (about 8 cents a day)
Individual(s) who want to support our site as a resource online. 
Posting Privileges only on Forum after 75 posts.

Through PayPal
GHG Silver $50/yr  (about 14 cents a day)
Individual(s) who want to support our site as a resource online. 
Posting Privileges and Photo Posting Privileges. 

Through PayPal
GHG Gold $75/yr  (about 20 cents a day)
Individual(s) who want to support our site as a resource online and are helping with the expansion of the site. 
Posting Privileges and Photo Posting Privileges. 

Through PayPal
GHG Platinum $100/yr  (about 27 cents a day)
These are the backbone of our efforts to be the best and most through resource online for Gaited Horses!
Posting Privileges and Photo Posting Privileges. 
and THEN Fill out form below. 
OR Fill out Form Below and mail check.

All Fields with a * MUST be filled in.
*Forum User Name
*First Name

*Last Name
Amount you are sending

*Street Address


Check made out to:
Fairwind Webpages
P.O. Box 54
Waynesboro, Georgia 30830