A simple taping technique to decrease your horse’s back pain

Is your horse experiencing back pain? Follow this easy step-by-step taping guide to lessen his discomfort and improve his mobility.

Most horses experience some degree of back pain either from a saddle that doesn’t fit perfectly, a rider who isn’t completely balanced or just sore muscles from exercise. This back pain reduction taping strategy is a very easy way to decrease your horse’s pain and support the muscles along his back during exercise!

What do you need?

  • 4-inch and 2-inch kinesiology tape
  • Scissors (tip: Use Teflon coated scissors so the glue doesn’t “gum up” on the blades)
Image 1

How to apply

  1. Start by cutting a piece of the 4-inch tape long enough to run from behind your horse’s shoulder blade (at the withers) to the high point on his hind end.
  2. Cut a second 4-inch piece of tape the same length as the first piece (you can use the first piece to measure the second).
  3. Starting behind your horse’s left shoulder blade, place the tape about 1–2 inches below and parallel to your horse’s spine (see Image 1).
  4. Image 2

    Repeat on the right side of your horse.

  5. Cut two 2-inch pieces of tape long enough to run widthwise across your horse’s back, over the two 4-inch strips of tape with 1–2 inches overlapping on each side.
  6. Place one piece directly over and perpendicular to the 4-inch pieces just behind your horse’s withers.
  7. Place the second piece in the same manner on your horse’s lower back (see Image 2).

Next steps

To minimize back pain, ride and work your horse as you normally would while he’s wearing the tape. It stretches as your horse moves which triggers the pain reduction response and minimizes muscle spasms.

Your horse can be saddled over the tape, but make sure to work him on the ground first when the tape is first applied so he can get used to the feeling before riding.

The tape is waterproof, so you can still hose your horse down after a ride. This taping will normally stay on for one week and can be worn during turnout or under a blanket or sheet.

Reapply the tape as needed and make sure to always remove it along your horse’s hair direction, not against it. There will be some hair that comes off with the tape, but it is hair that was ready to naturally shed off, so don’t be concerned.

Want to learn more taping techniques? Sign up for an online course and equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to improve your horse’s quality of life.

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Dr. Angelique Barbara is a Doctor of Chiropractic who holds additional degrees in Veterinary Science (B.S.), Equine Science (Minor) and Veterinary Pathobiology (M.S.). Dr. Barbara has spent the majority of her life studying animals, and developed her first animal bodywork seminar in 2009. Since that time, her seminars have grown both in number and popularity and she has fine tuned her seminars and techniques to optimize the learning experience. Her background in both the clinical and research animal health care world as well her experience as a human chiropractor give her a unique perspective on animal bodywork, which is evident in her courses. Dr. Barbara has publications in the Journal of Veterinary Science and Microbiology and has presented her research at the Conference of Researchers in Animal Disease (CRAWD) and the International Equine Conference of Laminitis and Diseases of the Hoof. She is a member of Alpha Zeta Honorary Fraternity, American Quarter Horse Association, American Paint Horse Association and French Bulldog Rescue Network.