Dr. Elizabeth Coppelman of Total Equine Veterinary Associates recently presented at the Therapeutic Riding Association of Virginia’s (TRAV) annual workshop hosted by Sprout Therapeutic Riding and Education Center in Aldie, Virginia. After speaking at TRAV’s workshop last year, Dr. Coppelman was invited back to present on equine acupuncture and conduct live demonstrations. Dr. Coppelman is certified in advanced veterinary acupuncture from the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. She combines her Eastern and Western medicine training to treat many equine patients throughout the Northern Virginia region. 

The workshop’s 35 attendees filled the classroom to capacity and included Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) certified instructors of all levels: Registered, Advanced and Masters. The classroom portion of Dr. Coppelman’s presentation included the history and uses of acupuncture in human and animal medicine, and types of acupuncture that are commonly used in horses for musculoskeletal pain, back pain, laminitis, navicular disease, gastrointestinal disease, and even allergies.

Dr. Coppelman explained that the more than 300 acupuncture points in a horse are used to balance “Qi”. Qi is the energy that runs through the body, impacting physical and mental health. It is comprised of yin and yang and travels along meridian channels. When this energy is imbalanced it causes a disruption of energy and leads to negative impacts on health and possible disease. The overall goal of acupuncture is to restore balance of yin and yang. 

An in-depth exam helps determine the appropriate points and methods of stimulation. Placement of needles in specific points causes a counter-irritation that increases blood flow and local immune response leading to muscle relaxation. Initial treatment recommendations typically include at least three treatments one to two weeks apart, and then as needed. However, treatment plans are customized to each individual horse. Treatments are often accompanied by Chinese herbal formulas to further enhance healing and improve the horse’s condition.

Dr. Coppelman concluded her presentation citing successful cases of easing pain and improving the quality of life for specific therapeutic riding horses she is currently treating. She also cited several scientific studies that demonstrate the diverse use of acupuncture in horses. Participants were then invited to the arena for acupuncture demonstrations on two of Sprout’s own therapy horses. It was a true demonstration as Dr. Coppelman had never met the horses before!

TRAV, Inc. Vice President Natalie Conca commented, “This is the second time Dr. Coppelman has presented for us and we have received excellent feedback both times. Her enthusiasm, open-mindedness, knowledge and ability to answer a variety of questions has made her an asset to our educational workshops.”


Would you like to try acupuncture for your horse?

Dr. Coppelman and Dr. Hyman are both Certified in Veterinary Acupuncture. If you're interested in an evaluation or acupuncture treatment plan for your horse - please let us know!

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Links to More Information:

Therapeutic Riding Association of Virginia, Inc. – www.TRAVInc.org

Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine – www.TCVM.com

PATH, Intl. – www.PATHIntl.org

Sprout Therapeutic Riding & Education Center – www.SproutCenter.org

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