I went to work on a Thoroughbred who is competing at the 2 star level in eventing. I ran my hands over his body to get to know him. When I got to the area where I feel for the hyoid bone, I felt nothing, no matter how much I probed with my fingers.
The hyoid is a series of bony structures that supports the tongue, larynx, neck, sternum, and the pharynx. Where did his go??
This horse carried a lot of tension all over his body. Even his tongue seemed to bother him. This gave me a clue, that while it appeared he didn’t have a hyoid bone, the overall tension in his head, was pulling the hyoid up into his skull, out of my reach. Tension of the soft tissue surrounding the hyoid can affect breathing, swallowing, and even vocalizing. If your horse sounds hoarse (!), an adjustment of the hyoid may be called for. It took several adjustments from a wonderful chiropractor, and quite a few massages, but this horse now has a supple and easily manipulated hyoid, and is a beautiful specimen of health and fitness. He does love to get his tongue scratched, but it is merely a sensual delight, and not stress, that is motivating him!