Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dawn Says Her Neck Hurts

Today we had rain and storms on and off. I had p.m. bring-in and feeding duty, and after I'd done all that, I groomed Dawn. She told me that her neck and shoulder on the right side were sore. That's one of the things I love about grooming - I can't imagine ever being at a full-service barn where someone else grooms the horses - it gives me a real understanding of what the horse is feeling and thinking, and where things may not be right.

Her signals were pretty subtle - just a face that wasn't as cheerful - no happy ears - and turning and looking at me when I was grooming her right side. So I felt around - she had a large lump - probably a muscle spasm - midway down the right side of her neck, and other areas in her neck and right shoulder that were tender. So I took some time to massage and apply pressure to the cramps - she told me where the spots that needed attention were. I also put in a call to Dr. Alice, our chiropractor/vet to ask for another visit - she'd warned me that Dawn might need some follow up work due to her collision with the fence. Dawn told me when I had the right spots by closing her eyes and leaning into me, and I also got some head shakes and chewing. She seemed happy with what I'd done, although of course not as happy as she would have been if it were Dr. Alice.

No saddle today - Dawn had made it clear that the saddle wasn't right and I want to do more bareback riding anyway. We were able to do a lot of trot work before the storms moved in - my focus was on getting her to stretch down and relax - I didn't want to do a lot of softening work with her neck so sore. She did really well - I don't think we'd win a Western pleasure class, but she had a nice, fairly slow, loose rein trot going. I think Dawn is one of those horses who will give you her all if you just take time to listen to her and respect her opinions.

Oh, on another note, Maisie didn't get a bath today - with mud available for rolling tomorrow I opted to defer until Thursday, when it's supposed to be hot again!


  1. That's why I love mares so much... if you take care of them, they'll take care of you.

    I love how sensitive they are too... we just need to make sure we stop and listen to what they're telling us.

  2. Talking horse, lots of folks never listen so they don't know a horse will tell you.

  3. Sounds like Dawn really appreciated the massage. It's nice to read about how in tune you are to her - what a good relationship!


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