Animal Osteopathy Course – Day One

It’s now April and I’m excited to be attending the Diploma in Animal Osteopathy Course in Gisborne, New Zealand. The course is being hosted by Stuart MacGregor from the UK. He has over 35yrs treating horses and dogs using osteopathic methods. Stuart developed and runs the PGCert in Animal Osteopathy  for the University College of Osteopathy in England.

There are ten of us and we’re all osteopaths on the course. We’re an eclectic bunch from NZ, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brunei and Oz. Most of us have been in practice for 10+years and the majority are English who have moved abroad, plus a few Kiwi’s.

Before we move on to the assessment and treatment of dogs (the primary reason I’m attending the course), we’re gonna spend quite some time looking at horses. Horse and dogs are used to represent big and small animals. We start with horses with the logic being that it’s a lot easier to apply principles from the horse to the dog rather than visa versa.

Stuart also reiterated that our skills and thought processes we use as osteopaths would be instrumental and easily applied to animals, hence only allowing Osteopaths on the course.

Our morning was spent at a local farm. Stuart was going to start by treating two horses. Having never been around horses it was fascinating watching Stuart assess and treat the two horses, and then watching them walk with such ease afterwards. Despite not knowing horses it was easy to see when the horse didn’t like something-  a movement or pressing on a certain spot, and it was also obvious when a positive change was made. Obviously Stuart made it look incredibly easy, but that’s 35yrs experience for you.

During the afternoon we went back to the riding school and Stuart demonstrated how to articulate (move) the joints of the front leg, starting at the foot. We learnt how to approach the horse and how to pick the leg up and put it down. All very interesting.

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