CRANIAL TRAUMA in the Equine world is a very real, frequent and vastly overlooked form of injury.
To give you a short overview:
The Cranium (skull/head) connects to the pelvis via the spinal cord and it’s surrounding structures. The Cranium is made up of a variety of different bones which all articulate with each other through ‘sutures’ which act as joints meaning that if ONE bone is out of alignment the whole head compensates.
In this photo we see a Polo pony in his stable, if you look closely you will notice the asymmetry of his face, in particular the area around the eyes. His right eye is dramatically squashed (in non technical terms) inward. The amount of force required to indent an entire eye towards the inner part of the skull is immense. As stated above; the whole skull will now be looped into a compensatory pattern around the injury and through the cranium to pelvis relationship his pelvis, back, ribs, legs and neck will also be effected and working overtime to compensate.
Sometimes cranial trauma presents itself in a much more subtle way. Pull backs, dentistry, over exerted pressure on the upper and lower jaw via bits, falls, balls to the face etc. are all potential (and very real / frequent) causes.
Disciplines such as Polo, Dressage, Racing and Jumping all place an extraordinary amount of pressure on the Horse’s body regardless of how much it looks like the Horse is enjoying him/herself.
The Human body is a power house of strength and sensitivity. Anyone who cares for Horses will know that a Horse’s body is the same. The difference is that in the end, we have a choice over ours. In 8 years of treating Horses with Craniosacral therapy I have seen more Horses with holes in their heads, bashed in eyes, tight poles (top of the neck), broken teeth, damaged jaws and cranial twists than I feel is fair or necessary.
There is A LOT of change which needs to happen in the Equine Industry for us as a collective to become intrinsically more aware of our Horse’s bodies.
AS somebody who lived and breathed training / riding polo ponies I can say first hand that so much of what we do on top of the Horse is not productive outside the box of the discipline that Horse is in.
Horses out in the wild are of course also at risk of injury, the difference is that when you apply consistent pressure to a body which is not designed to take it – the risk of that body breaking down is very high.
Most Race horses finish their career at 4 years old, the Horses body finishes its primary development cycle at 8 YEARS OLD.
Current statistics at Kentucky Equine Research state that hundreds of Polo Ponies every season (not year) are fatally injured either whilst playing or as a result of the sport itself.
I have seen frantic Horses fall on the Polo field, loose their riders, run back to the pony lines (where other horses are tied) and crash straight into parked cars which are in their direct line of sight. As prey animals a Horse’s number one instinct is to be safe and to maintain that safety through a herd environment.
These are a few common experiences / facts within the Horse world. Educating ourselves on something as simple as whether our Horse’s eyes are in line or not could make all the difference when it comes to providing the right support system for resolution & re-alignment.