McTimoney – A Highly rewarding practice

10/03/2020 by in Horse, News

The McTimoney College of Chiropractic is now taking applications for places on their Pathway to HE Certificate in Health and Masters in Chiropractic (MChiro) programmes.  In normal times they hold open days at the college for prospective candidates to go along for a tour and to find out more about the programmes available.  However, this year’s open days will not take place for the foreseeable future and so the College is inviting interested parties to contact them direct for information.  The case study illustrates the fulfilling role the McTimoney Practitioner plays in producing a top competition horse.

Tyler Bradshaw works hard to produce her three dressage horses, with her top horse Gijsbert entering the world of Inter 1s this year, requiring full canter pirouettes, tempi changes in canter and half pass. It hasn’t always been plain sailing but these are very talented horses with huge movement and athleticism. So how has McTimoney treatment helped these wonderful equine gymnasts?

The McTimoney approach begins by taking a detailed case history, whole body static and dynamic assessment of the patient which enables a complete analysis of what may be occurring in that animal. The assessment process is essential to distinguish areas of weakness, asymmetry and patterns of movement. Palpation analysis of the musculoskeletal system is also key and is used to determine areas of joint dysfunction. McTimoney Animal Practitioner Nikki Routledge explains, “Of key importance for any performance horse is the ability to push evenly from the hindquarters so the symmetry of the pelvis is vital. However, when we ask our horses to perform increasingly difficult movements, it is not uncommon for the horses to try and use their preferred side, (a bit like we might be right or left-handed), and so over time the horse becomes stronger on one side and the pelvic position can become asymmetric even when the horse is stood square. Adjustment rebalances the pelvic position so the horse can move evenly again.”

McTimoney therapists treat using their hands in a specific hand position, performing high velocity and low amplitude adjustments at specific anatomical landmarks along the spine and pelvis, inducing a therapeutic response in joint structures, muscle function and nerve reflexes. Once applied, muscle tension dissipates, discomfort can be resolved, nerve impingement is released and optimal function restored.  The body has an innate ability to continue to heal, and the treatment helps to facilitate this ability so the body continues to respond after the treatment has taken place.

Gijsbert always enjoys his treatments which are aimed at maintaining his ability to perform and continue to develop the correct muscle tone for the increasingly technical movements he is required to produce. “I absolutely love Gijsbert and want to ensure that he gets the best treatment he can have,” explained Tyler, “I have definitely noticed a difference in all my horses since they have had regular McTimoney treatments and would certainly recommend it for anyone seeking to improve their horse’s way of going – after all, if the horse isn’t straight when he is stood still, he will struggle to achieve straightness when he is moving down a centre line.”

Finally therapists put an aftercare plan in place with the owner, in order to ensure that the animal is supported during the immediate weeks post treatment. This changes depending on what the animal is doing, whether it’s competing for instance, and can involve doing a lesser degree of training for a few days, or introducing new exercises into the regimen or doing a bit less for a few days before gradually building back up to normal work load.


How to train? – The MSc Animal Manipulation Programme (McTimoney College of Chiropractic)

The MSc in McTimoney Animal Manipulation is the highest-level qualification in animal chiropractic techniques in Europe, and the effectiveness of the technique is reflected in the growing number of McTimoney Animal Practitioners within industry today. The programme is designed either for students who already have training in a hands-on therapy (this may include a trained chiropractor, physiotherapist, osteopath or any other fully qualified and suitably experienced practitioner), for those with a BSc degree in Equine or Animal Science or for those who are a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.  Students from a non-manipulative background will be expected to complete the Graduate Certificate in Animal Therapy. Students who do not have formal training may submit a portfolio of certified experience for consideration.

A wide range of academic subjects are studied as well as an introduction to the philosophy and practice of animal techniques. The first year of the programme is delivered at Warwickshire College where students have access to library and animal facilities. The second year of the programme is conducted at various sites throughout the country where practical skills are taught under the supervision of qualified practitioners. The programme is semestered over two years and students are required to attend monthly weekend tutorial sessions, with a range of online resources and virtual learning environment provided to support distance learning. The enthusiasm of tutors and dedication to excellence are second to none, proven by positive student and graduate feedback over many years.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a McTimoney Animal Practitioner, please go to

Or for more information, call 01235 468582 or email