It didn't help the vet was late. At least I got two calls, one from the veterinarian office, and one from the vet herself, saying she was running behind. That was nice. But waiting an additional 45 minutes did not quiet my butterflies. It was worse than the dentist's office waiting room.
She finally arrived and went to say hi to my silly pill. He was SO terrified of her. She was a soft-spoken, blonde, Norwegian-looking gal. But oh no, STRANGER-DANGER! She has tortured horseys with needles! Stay away, stay FAR away, you needle-toting lady! It even didn't even help that she admitted to him that she had a fondness for Appy's and in fact had one of her own at home. Goodness!
We headed up to the arena, where she asked me to walk, trot, and lope My Boy both ways in a circle on the lounge line. She wanted to see him move out and transition gaits. Then she began working on him.
I wish I could have audio-tape or video recorded the chiropractic work because I think I missed parts of it, both what she did and said. By the end of the session, My Boy was standing very well, and would shake his head or lick his lips after certain areas were worked on. She gave him handfuls of grass throughout to keep him happy. Smart woman, she figured out the way to my boy's heart!
I was impressed that someone can do chiro work on a horse. The vet laughed and said he is a strong, muscular boy! She compared him to some of the Arabians she's worked on, how different his muscles are. She also does chiropractic work and acupuncture on dogs, as well as regular equine veterinary work.
Afterwards, as we were walking back down from the arena, she said, "Well, he's not a train wreck!" That was a relief! Because I just pleasure ride, she didn't even think he was a candidate for anything like hock injections. She did mention that he has upright hocks, and he is not designed for reining. Interesting, since that was what he was trained and used for in the past. She said he uses his hocks well, and does not drag his toes.
Here is a funny edited picture of the summary chart she gave. I will write out her exact comments, but it was interesting to see the pink and yellow highlighted areas. The pink highlighted areas are the "chiropractic subluxation complex" (huh?) and the yellow highlighted areas are "area of additional soreness."
1) Conformation- well built but very upright in hocks.
2) Movement- grade 1/5 left hind lameness and mild resentment of canter but able to take both leads okay. Can anyone help me with what a grade 1/5 lameness means. I did not notice this until after she had left. I might have to call back for clarification. I typically ask a lot of questions, but I missed this one!
3) After initially being tight and nervous he let me get good adjustment on him. Yep, that sounds like my spotted pill.
4) Main areas of tightness were neck and lower back. He also is stiff in both hocks and LH fetlock.
5) Use Surpass (topical anti-inflammatory) on both hocks prior to rides. Use BUTE- give 2 grams night before long ride or shoeing. Then give 2 grams the morning of.
6) Do neck stretches nose to hip 3x/side, 3x a week. She suggested using a treat to get him to bend around, and to do it from the ground, not the saddle. Treat? My Boy will love this exercise!
7) Add canter work. Great, more third gear. Time for some anti-anxiety meds. For me!
8) Diet- switch to grass hay. I'd mentioned switching him off of the alfalfa since he's so gasey. She also said he does not need to put on any more weight. My poor Sausage Boy!
9) Repeat in two months.
So, My Boy got today off. I will be curious to see if he moves any different the next time I work him. Because of arthritis developing in his hocks, he will most likely always be stiff. And his right side has been compensating for his left (something I did not think about) so that was interesting.
I am glad I did this for My Boy. Now I know of some stretches I can work on, and that it is okay to give him bute once in a while for soreness if we do long rides.
Have you ever had chiropractic work done on your horse(s)? What was your experience, did you find it helpful? Any additional advice for my future appointments?