So often the behavioural problem that I was seeing was / could have been pain related, and so I would recommend that the client have their horse treated for the physical issues before (or whilst) I helped them to address the behavioural one.  The problem was, I was often unhappy with the standard of physical therapy given, and didn't feel that it had addressed the issue.
I had first hand experience of this before I qualified, when my own horse Bell started bucking explosively when her girth was done up (thankfully before the rider even thought about getting on her).  She would always settle down within a few seconds, and then be fine.  

I had her back checked to see if this could be causing the problem, and was told there was nothing wrong. Now, I'm able to recognise that it is indeed a physical issue, identifed when she starts to get a bit 'girthy' and treat her accordingly, but before I was qualified I had no idea how to help her, and the professional that I contacted didn't offer me any solutions.

 Sue palmer_Sept_2013_pic_HOT
Being able to determine whether an issue is caused by 'brain or pain' has had a huge impact on my work as an IHRA.  Sometimes I am unable to resolve the issue and I refer on to another practioner (for example vet, saddle fitter, farrier, and dentist).  

Other times I am able to treat the horse myself.  Many cases involve a combination of physical and behavioural factors, and my unique set of qualifications allows me to address both, to help the horse and handler / rider reach their goals, whatever they may be.
I'm on a mission to spread the word that a horse can only demonstrate pain through his behaviour, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you over the coming months.
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Sue Palmer Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapist and Equine Behavioural Consultant

Tel: 07976 413488 Web: www.thehorsephysio.co.uk