Monday, November 15, 2010

Pie Meets the Chiropractor and New Sidepull

This morning Pie had an appointment to meet the chiropractor.  Before she came, we took a short trail ride by ourselves - he was very good although clearly interested in where the barn was.  I didn't get any good pictures of his appointment since I was busy holding him.  He wasn't too sure what she was up to at first - I'm sure he's never had chiropractic before.  When she would "ask" him if something needed doing by touching him, at first he thought she was asking him to do something, such as move in response to pressure.  He began to get the idea after a bit and seemed to enjoy it.

First she checked saddle fit - the Rodrigo close contact saddle fits him quite well for now, especially with a somewhat thicker pad.  She agreed that it probably didn't make sense to order him a Black Rhino saddle until we are sure he's finished growing (I hope!) and has a chance to fill out a bit.  She said he was one of the least messed-up horses physically she'd ever seen - his body is very symmetrical and balanced.  She said he was the only horse she could remember ever working on whose Atlas (first neck vertebra), and hence his poll, was completely fine - I suspect this is because his former owner had never messed with his mouth and rode on a completely loose rein, and his teeth haven't been messed up by bad dentistry.

His left lumbar region needed a bit of work - I suspected this from some slight sensitivity he has when grooming.  His left stifle needed a bit of work, and this was related to some scar tissue from his castration pulling on the inside of the stifle joint - she says he's young enough that she should be able to relax and mostly dissolve that scar tissue over the course of several treatments.  She was able to get a bit done on that today - he objected pretty violently - some kicking - at first, but once he figured out what she was doing, he thought it was a good idea.  His upper neck muscles are a bit tight and short - he tends to travel a bit inverted - and she recommended some carrot stretches downwards.  Also, once we start our softening work, that should gradually be remedied as he learns to relax and stretch his top line and engage his core.  She says that he may or may not need some follow-up work in December depending on what our dentist Mike Fragale has to say at the beginning of the month about the condition of his mouth.

She was very complementary of Pie - his build, feet and legs and his overall soundness and good condition - he had very little that needed working on.  She said for a horse of his age - he's only 4 - that he is remarkably level-headed, sensible and smart - she said he has a good mind, and I would agree!

Two things arrived today - his new certificate of registration showing the transfer of ownership, and my new sidepull from Buckeroo Leather.  I am delighted with the quality of the workmanship and appearance of the sidepull, and the company's responsiveness was also excellent.  I also got a matching set of reins (ties, no Chicago screws or buckles for me).  Here is the sidepull - I got the optional jowl strap to help keep it in place:

Tomorrow, weather permitting, Pie and I will get to try it out - I'm very excited!


  1. Good news. We're big believers in equine chiropractors. They have helped our horses.

    I hope the sidepull works well for you and Pie.


  2. The side pull looks nice, hope you and Pie get to try it out.

    Isn't it nice to get a good report from the chiropractor. I love when ours works on the horses. I'm sure he feels much better tonight but probably a little confused as to what was going on.

  3. You'll love that sidepull, I am super happy with mine. Isn't the leather exquisite?

  4. I like the look of this Sidepull, mine has a rope nose band. But the Jowl strap? I really like that idea! I am now thinking hard whether to replace my old sidepull!

  5. Sounds good,young horse like that , good to know he hasn't been trying to learn with a bunch of torque in his muscles and bones.

  6. I'm glad to hear the chiropractor thought Pie was in good shape. Sounds like he needed those few adjustments but hopefully now he's good to go.

    Can't wait to hear how you like that sidepull. I used one a long time ago and had really good results with it.

  7. I had no idea that castration scar tissue could cause stifle issues. That's fascinating. I'm glad the chiro work can help release it. I had scar tissue built up in my knee from my ACL surgery and wasn't able to bend my knee very far at all. It was as if I hit a wall. Months of weekly physical therapy work didn't help much because it had grown very tough and fibrous. What finally released it was falling down on my rear end, forcing my knee to hyper-flex with my heel touching my butt, and basically ripping the scar tissue free....horribly painful when it happened, but such a relief to be able to get my ROM back.
    I hope Pie's scar tissue is much easier and less painful to release.

    That sidepull is very nice. Do you know if he's been ridden in one with his previous owner? I'm looking forward to reading about how he feels about it and how well it works for you, too.
    Do you think you will you be trying your bitless bridle on him, too?


  8. Isn't it nice when equine professionals tell you something good about your horse? Another kudos to his former owner, and now to you!

    I'll be interested to see how you like the sidepull...looking forward to that update.

  9. How nice to get such a good report from your chiropractor. It makes Pie all the more special!

    I'll be interested in hearing how the side pull works. It looks lovely.

  10. Kate, could you please email me and tell me the difference between a side pull and a bitless bridle? I have the latter.

  11. Aww such a good boy! I know I tend to want to kick violently during some of my chiro work =)

    I'm curious to know why you decided a sidepull over a bitless. Any special reason?

  12. Pie, you have arrived in heaven. Just so you know. :)

    Sounds like he's quick to catch on that these things are meant to help, I imagine this helps build a tremendous amount of trust.

    I look forward to hearing what it takes to train him with the side pull...

  13. Hi, Ms. Kate! I've been following your blog for some time, but have never really thought to comment before. I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your blog and have really been inspired by your work with Dawn to be just as patient working with my OTTB Speechless. I come from a barrel racing and mounted shooting background where softness and acceptance in your horse and patience in training are often not even considered. Speechless has been out of work for nearly two years, losing the majority of her topline and back/core, but is trained in classical dressage/eventing. Working to get her back in shape has been a major undertaking and learning adventure for the both of us, but reading about your work with Dawn has helped me acknowledge what patience and care this foundation work requires--and how important it is. Walk and trot work only for the last two months! Anyhow, I just wanted to thank you and let you know how much I look forward to reading your posts. Congrats on your adorable boy, Pie--I look forward to seeing how you two grow together!

  14. Natasha - thank you! Speechless sounds wonderful - glad to hear your work is going well.

  15. It must be nice to have had the chiro out and have him checked over...

    The sidepull looks really nice! Care to write a post on why you chose it over bitless and how it all works??? :-) I don't know alot about sidepulls and their advantages/benefits, etc.

  16. Glad he and the chiropractor got along so well!

    What kind of certificate? Is it his breed registration, or does your state have some kind of horse ID system?

  17. I have never used a horse chiro before but that is not because I am against it. How nice that the chiro confirmed all good yhings about Pie! I wonder if she was falling in love with him as she was working on him! I bet I would. Poor guy --with the chiro fussing around his neuter zone!! I don't blame him for kicking! But how nice he was smart enough to figure everything out. Very desireable trait.

  18. Oh this sounds very delightful for Pie!
    Yea, at first...they are like, "Why you pushing and what am I supposed to do?" It all worht it when the first YAWN comes out!


  19. Funder - just his AQHA registration certificate.

  20. I want your chiropractor to come work on me! I'll look forward to hearing about how the sidepull works for Pie. I've been thinking about one for Siete.


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