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Did you know that pulling a horse’s tongue, no matter the reason, can break their hyoid…

//Did you know that pulling a horse’s tongue, no matter the reason, can break their hyoid…

Did you know that pulling a horse’s tongue, no matter the reason, can break their hyoid…

Does Your Horse…

  • Toss their head to one side?
  • Take one lead better than the other?
  • Have lameness that cannot be pinpointed?
  • Drop their grain?
  • Hold their head sideways when chewing?
  • Flip their head up?
  • Have issues taking a bit?
  • Prefers going in one direction better than the other
  • Grinds its teeth

Watch Bryan Owen, Equine Bodyworker, Equine Podiatrist & Engineer, explain more about the Hyoid and how can it cause all these problems

The hyoid’s function:

One of the primary functions of the hyoid is to support the larynx. This has a delicate extension into the base of the tongue. The hyoid apparatus provides attachment points for the tongue muscles and ligaments, pharynx, neck and sternum. There are 12 muscles that connect the hyoid apparatus. Of the 12, 3 specifically are directly connected to the nerve attachment at C1 (Cervical vertebrae #1) Damage to the hyoid can have serious consequences; the hyoid bone is easily damaged. Thus, you should avoid having your horse’s tongue pulled on (with dry gloves)and by a trained professional.


Note: Always have another person holding the horse when performing an assessment. Do NOT perform this assessment when a horse is tied. Look for feedback from your horse-agitation and moving away are a sign of pain.

So, Your assessment shows signs that your horse’s hyoid is off balance…Now what?

The safest way we have found to reset the hyoid is through the use of red light therapy. Watch this video of Bryan demonstrating the Hyoid Release Technique TM on the office horse Bit of Essence.


Additional Tips for applying the Hyoid Release Technique TM

  • Perform in a quiet area where the horse is not stressed. Another horse may need to be close by to keep your horse calm.
  • When the horse goes into a “zone” or falls asleep, do not move them or wake them up. They are processing and feeling the new balance in their body. If the hyoid has been off for a while, this will feel good to the horse.
  • Whenever possible, enlist the aid of another person to hold the horse for you. If another person is not available, drape the rope over your arm. Do not loop around your arm.
  • Never tie your horse during this technique.
  • This is a therapeutic procedure. Do not reprimand your horse for moving away. It may take a few minutes for the horse to put the brain-body connection together that this is a “feel good” modality.
  • You may re-assess your horse after 24 hours.
    This technique should be used immediately before and after any dental work and collected/contact riding.

How do I know if the Hyoid Release TechniqueTM worked?

There are many different ways your horse will show you that the hyoid has released. Some of the most common signs are:

  • Licks & chews
  • Breathing becomes better, deeper
  • Shakes his head &/or body
  • Blows out
  • Yawns several times
  • Zones out
  • Eyes become softer
By |2018-10-20T10:37:44-04:00October 20th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments