Abbie Smith
MSc (Hons) AM, MAA, BSc

Call / Text:
07749 963006


1 East View, Dacre Banks, Harrogate, HG3 4EQ

McTimoney for Horses


Animals suffer from back pain, just as you and I do. Horses were not designed for the day to day demands we ask of them, inevitably resulting in muscular and skeletal discomfort. This can lead to undesirable/dangerous behaviour and reduction in performance. If these conditions remain untreated for a prolonged period long term behavioural issues can occur. 


Horses have to work incredibly hard not only to balance their own weight but also the rider and saddle putting strain on their limbs and backs. The most common causes are:-

  • Poor conformation 
  • Ill fitting tack 
  • Collisions or falls 
  • Becoming cast 
  • Dental issues 
  • Rider imbalance 
  • Poor hoof balance


Often a horse/pony can be labelled as being "naughty" however they may genuinely be suffering from discomfort. Different horses have different pain thresholds but general signs to look for are:-

  • Bucking/rearing
  • Difficulty striking off on correct lead
  • Disunited gait
  • Napping
  • Refusing to jump/decrease in jumping capability/jumping to one side
  • Behavioural changes
  • General lack of enthusiasm
  • Signs of discomfort when tacked up or mounted
  • Stiffness in the morning or following periods of rest
  • Carrying tail to one side
  • Muscle atrophy/ uneven muscle development
  • Head tilting/shaking
  • Lack of top line
  • Unlevel or unusual gait such as toe-dragging, scuffing, tripping or irregular action.


Following gait analysis and palpation I will carry out the necessary adjustments on the vertebrae and pelvis. This will realign and restore joints to their normal range of motion, allowing normal nerve function. Sports massage is then carried out and a full aftercare programme is given.


Prevention is better than cure so change those small things in your horse’s life which may be contributing to minor problems which over time can lead to bigger issues. 

  • Always use a mounting block
  • Always warm up and cool down your horse to prevent muscle injuries and strains.
  • Always build up work slowly and use a variety of exercises to improve fitness in the whole body.
  • Have regular saddle checks (every 6 months)
  • Have regular visits from your horse dentist (every 6-12 months)
  • Regular shoeing (4-6 weeks) as foot balance and healthy hoof growth is important to prevent lameness and changes in movement.
  • Improve rider fitness, balance and if necessary have regular treatments as the rider.
  • Have regular McTimoney treatments


It is usually advised that your horse has at least one to two easy days. Ideally, the horse is not worked. It is important to remember that your horse may appear stiff or sore as it is readjusting, especially on first treatments. You may also notice an increase in thirst which is a normal reaction as the body will need to expel toxins.

Aftercare tailored to the specific animal will always be given at the end of every session. Both passive and active stretching exercises may be advised for owners to do with their horses to build up musculature and maintain posture. These may include lunging or long reining and ridden work to include pole work eventually building up to jumping including grid work.


A standard appointment charge is £55. This includes the McTimoney treatment, Sports massage, Equissage and a saddle check.

If the treatment is rehabilitative following an accident or surgery most reputable insurers will cover the cost of treatment.


If I am unable to get to you as quickly as you would like there is always an option for you to bring your horse to me at Hebden Wood equestrian. There are fantastic facilities and it is just on the outskirts of Harrogate. Please see