Monday, June 4, 2012

Back-Crackin' Good Time!

The chiropractor came to see Trigger today.  She used to be a person chiropractor, and her husband still is, but she now focuses on horses and dogs.  She walked with me to his paddock, said friendly things to him, then had me walk him in circles large and small, both directions, to see how he moved.  We took him out to the grassy area, where she had me trot him out (get used to it, Trigger, if you're going to be an endurance horse!).  She then poked and prodded him all over, especially focusing on his spine and hips.  His lumbar area was especially sensitive--he flinched with his whole body when she pressed on him there, and his hips were somewhat sensitive, but she also didn't like the lack of range of motion he had there.  His withers were also a bit sensitive, but not as much so as his lumbar spine.

In the meantime, she was asking me what history I knew, the history of his bucking with me and SweetPea, etc., and also explaining what she was doing, both to me and a few onlookers.

We took him into a stall to minimize distractions and to help immobilize him a bit--she grabbed two bales of hay, stacked them on each other a horse-width from the front of the stall, parked a wheelbarrow full of hay at one end of the "squeeze," and Trigger got to munch hay while she did her thing.  A couple of times, we moved the wheelbarrow and turned Trigger around so she could get at him from the other side.  She examined and massaged and occasionally adjusted him.  When she started doing some deeper massage on his lumbar area and hips, he crowhopped quite a bit--what a familiar move!  Luckily, the chiropractor said she's seen worse. 

However, the longer she worked, the calmer Trigger got.  The difference in his reaction to her touch in the same areas at the beginning of the appointment to the end was quite dramatic.  It's hard to say for sure how dramatic the change in his overall demeanor was, because at one point, it started raining, and Trigger didn't like that noise on the barn roof much, and he REALLY didn't like it when it started hailing!  The chiropractor and I could barely hear each other, so it was pretty darn loud.  By the time we left, it had subsided to very noisy rain once again.

Anyway, she removed one hay bale and kept working a bit from the height of just one, then got off that bale and worked on his neck a bit from the ground, stretching and massaging and eventually adjusting.  She had me walk him in circles while she replaced the hay bales and wheelbarrow, to get him moving and stretching a bit, and she stretched his legs and neck while showing me how to do the stretches, too.  She recommend I give him a day or two of turnout before trying to ride him, and SweetPea has gamely volunteered to give it another shot, so we'll try it on Wednesday.  If the weather clears up, the kiddo and I will take Trigger for a little walk tomorrow, and the barn manager has promised to turn him out (apparently the ponies currently in the pasture are leaving tomorrow), so he'll get some exercise regardless. 

Sorry I don't have any photos--I was too busy holding Trigger and listening to the chiropractor.

Fingers crossed for Wednesday!


  1. My sister just had chiropractic work done on her horse for the first time and it made a big difference in him. In fact, it made a big enough difference that she got the chiropractor to do some work on her too (she was also a human chiropractor). So now horse and rider feel great.

    1. Yeah, I know there are sheisters out there who try to convince people that chiropractor can cure all SORTS of ills, and I definitely don't believe in that "type" of chiropractic, and don't blame people who distrust some of the more "touchy feely" healthcare providers because of those bad apples. But I know from my own experience how sore and grumpy you can be when your back is out, and what an improvement one chiropractor visit can make. I hope Trigger feels the same. :-)