Fixing Horses and Humans: Meet Chiropracter Dr. Ron Kantner
By Gabrielle Sasse, PleasureHorse.com
Dr. Ron Kantner is a bit of a self-proclaimed anomaly- he got into horses all on his own, and not as a youth kid either. “My brother bought me a month of riding lessons with [reining trainer] Mike Flarida for Christmas,” he explained. “I knew nothing, I just knew that I loved horses.”
Ron graduated from Palmer University in Iowa in 1986, becoming a chiropractor (for people). He started showing in 1992, and in ‘92/’93 (he couldn’t quite recall), someone asked him to take a look at their sore horse. From there, he started researching horse chiropractic work more and more and he was off and running.
“I learned as much as I could,” he said. “Worked with a couple vets, got to do a horse autoposy which was really great. Horses and people are similar, but obviously very different. I work with a vet still to this day, and keep learning more and more stuff. I just love it.”
Dr. Ron has his own human chiropractic practice, but does traveling equine work as well. “I’ve never advertised for the horse side of things, people have just been spreading it by word of mouth!” he laughs. “It’s grown significantly. I go to people’s farms to adjust them- I’ll go to the Carolinas about every seven or eight weeks to do a reining farm out there, get to Kansas about four times a year, mostly all around Ohio, and then at the horse shows.”
I met Ron here at the Quarter Horse Congress when he was adjusting a few hunter jumper horses before they showed. He obviously loves his job, and loves the horses, and does great work on the chiropractic side. “I enjoy working with people, but horses can’t tell you what hurts. But it’s just a challenge. It’s the most gratifying thing though. I can’t always fix things, but I can sure help a lot.” He shows me a few texts from happy customers that say things like “Bo jumped great after his session! Thanks so much” and “Wow, my horse is moving amazing today!” with the biggest smile on his face. “I just love that part of it. Texts like this put me on cloud nine… it’s the whole reason I do it.”
Ron not only works, but shows. He stuck with reining after the month with Mike, riding with him for quite a while. “He was an excellent way to get started,” Ron says, untacking his horse Tuff Little Whimp as we chat. Ron had shown in a few earlier reining classes at the beginning of Congress, and was going to show “Tuff” in the Freestyle Reining class later that evening. He’s been showing the Freestyle for a number of years, winning Reserve in ’97. “I’ve done one with all three of my kids,” he explains, his children all having been very competitive in the reining world.
Ron’s theme for this year was Brutus the Buckeye, The Ohio State University’s mascot. Ron and his family had fixed a giant Brutus head to a bike helmet, with only two little eye holes for Ron to see out of. “You get pretty dizzy doing the spins!” he laughed. “You lose your peripheral vision. But I think I’ve got the hang of it.” “Brutus” came charging in, “leading the football team on the field” explained Ron of his pattern. Then, a “soldier” presented him with a flag, as a voice pronounced “Ohio State is America’s Team!” Brutus then finishes the pattern with his American flag. “As if I couldn’t see enough already…” Ron chuckles.
Ron had a great pattern, tying for ninth place in the Non Pro division. The Ohio loving crowd cheered with the traditional “O-H!” “I-O!”, with a few catcalls from opposing teams thrown in.
Ron and his wife Tracey also do some breeding at their farm. “We were one of the Top 20 Reining Breeders of Ohio in 2003,” says Ron, fairly modest of his successes. “We’ve produced three Congress Champions through “Mare Power”, and have had some really great people buy our horses. Shawn Flarida has on, and we’ve just been very fortunate.” Ron’s freestyle horse “Tuff” was homebred, by Whimpys Little Step out of Joetts An Oakey. The six year old gelding was an eastern Sate Affiliate Champion in the Novice Horse division as a two year old. “He’s a big stopper and circler,” commented Ron. “He lives for the small slow!” laughs Tracey.
After our chat, Ron gave me my own chiropractic adjustment, right on a portable adjustment table in a corner of the barn aisle. And man, does this guy know his stuff! A few cracks here, a pop there, and I felt like a million bucks. Although he didn’t use the same mallet and hammer that he uses to work on the horses, the “Genie Deep Massager”, which was a small, vibrating tool felt like the best massage in the world. “I use it on horses and people to bring the blood back to the area and really set the adjustment,” he explained.
A special thanks to Ron for the back alignment and for taking the time to chat with me before his Freestyle. His clinic is in Wapakoneta, Ohio. To get in touch with Ron, visit his website here.