Thursday, April 1, 2010

Maisie and Dawn Talk to the Chiropractor

Our wonderful chiropractor, Dr. Alice, made a visit yesterday. She worked on Sugar, Charisma and Scout first and also checked some saddle fits. Then Noble got some blood drawn for a update of his thyroid test to see that we're giving him the correct amount of medicine. He's also getting a little bit reluctant again about lifting his left front foot, and we may up his chromium/selenium/vitamin E/magnesium supplement for his insulin resistance as that may be a bit more of a problem at this time of year. Dr. Alice is also a vet, and has special expertise in endocrinology, which is particularly helpful with dealing with senior horses and also lameness/soreness issues.

Then Maisie was worked on next. She need some work particularly in her left lumbar/sacral area, which is pretty common for her - when I got her that area was pretty messed up and took a long time to come around. She told Dr. Alice about it when she tried doing a tummy lift - much tail swishing and even some cow kicking to say that it hurt. So the back areas got done first. Her right shoulder also was somewhat locked up - that makes sense since it's diagonal to the left lumbar region - and this area has also often been a problem for her. Dr. Alice also did some massage to relax the ligaments inside each patella to help her stifles - this in fact is the same ligament that vets used to cut to help horses with locking stifle problems. And finally her neck had some crampy areas that needed some pressure to release. By the end, her eyes were closed and her lip was drooping - she loves her visits from Dr. Alice.

Dawn brought up the rear - I had noticed that she seemed very sensitive to touch on the right side along her ribcage, and pretty unhappy about pressure there. In fact she'd somehow managed to put a bit of a twist in her entire ribcage - some of the ribs were stretched on the left side, with a resulting compression on the right side. Probably a result of slipping and sliding in the mud we had plenty of last month. In order to work on the ribs, Dr. Alice had to first work on Dawn's back, including doing some deep pressure myofascial release work in the lumbar area - it was fascinating to watch the muscles do tiny tremors as the pressure was applied, and then settle down as things resolved.

Dr. Alice likes the horses to be relatively unconstrained when she works so she can ask them questions about things and they can answer by moving away or into her as she works, or can express pleasure or unhappiness about how certain things feel. After a horse has seen her a few times, the horse will often ask her to do certain things by how it positions its body. When she was doing the myofascial release work on Dawn, Dawn was actually leaning into her to help the work.

The funniest moments were when she was working on Dawn's back before moving to the ribs and then the sternum to deal with her ribcage issues. Dawn was impatient for her to get to the ribs, and thought the back work was taking too long. As Dr. Alice was working on one side of her back, Dawn would bend her head around to that side and bite her side, over the ribs, to tell Dr. Alice that THAT was what she wanted. Same thing on the other side - it was amazing to watch! Dr. Alice just told her she had to wait for a minute until the back work was done. Finally Dawn was happy when she got to the ribs, but quickly became impatient when that was all fixed up - she certainly knew what she wanted and was clear about communicating it!

Ordinarily Dr. Alice is happy for us to work with the horses the day after she does her work on them, but in Dawn's case she wants me to hold off for 3 or 4 days until the ligaments along her back and between her back and ribs readjust to their new positions and lengths. I already have noticed that Dawn is much less sensitive to touch along her ribcage, which is great. And this morning, Dawn did some running around in turnout, and I particularly noted how fluid her gaits looked and how much more extension she had in her trot - she's rarely unsound, but her trot in particular tends to shorten up if she's a bit stiff or sore.

13 comments:

  1. Nice that the horse is accepting (or in Dawns case encouraging ) the adjustments . They do such great work!

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  2. It is always amazing to watch a horse TELL a practitioner what hurts, what feels good, and just where they feel they ought to be working!

    Hope everyone's feeling chipper after their running maintenance :)

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  3. Nothing like a happy horse. I bet it's cute to watch them tell Dr. Alice where to work.

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  4. What a lovely feeling for you to see your horses so much more comfortable.....I hope you got in there too. Nothing like a good massage

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  5. I love Dr. Alice...what a wonderful practitioner. I can see Maisie's head all drooped over and relaxed.

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  6. So glad that you can see such a difference in Dawn in just one visit!

    I left you an award over on my blog, feel free to drop by and pick it up :)
    Steph

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  7. Sounds like a great experience for all. Even better when you can see your horses feeling so much better afterwards.


    ~Lisa

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  8. My horses looooooove the chiropractor!

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  9. What wonderful images you have conveyed! I wish we had a "Dr. Alice" here!!!! I am going to do some searching! Thanks for sharing this important post.

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  10. Amazing. I am going to keep trying to find a chiro here. Glad both are feeling better.

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  11. I haven't had any luck finding a chiro around here either. Poco and I sound alike when we move - snap, crackle, pop.

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  12. Dr Alice certainly sounds like a miracle worker!!! I wish I had a Dr Alice for Sam! :o)

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  13. Loved reading about your horses and their body work! Ours have similar responses to the chiro we use, who is also a vet. We all love her.

    Keil Bay especially loves the adjustments. He will bob his head until she gets to the part that needs adjusting - then he lowers his head and waits for her to "fix it."

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