Friday, November 29, 2013

Dawn Does Chiro - With Photos

Dawn has needed some chiropractic work - she has had some cramps and soreness in her neck, which has affected her work on the left rein.  This morning she had a session, and I managed to get some photos.  These photos show only a small fraction of what occurred, but you may find them interesting and they should give you a feel for how it went.

Dawn's had chiro a number of times before, knows our chiropractor/vet Dr. Alice Marold very well, and was very happy to be worked on, even though she had to leave her turnout pasture.  Dawn was relaxed and attentive - she just stood in the aisle ground tied for the whole thing, except for when her ribcage was worked on - this can be briefly painful so I held her halter to keep her from biting - and when Dr. Alice was guiding her head and neck around in stretches.  At the very end, after almost an hour, when all the work was done and Dawn was happy with the results, she turned and started to walk off.

Here's Dawn's attitude:

Work started in the sacral area - tightness in this area often affects the neck and vice versa.

A release:

Behind the shoulder:

The large, lower neck vertebrae are inaccessible to direct chiropractic pressure - Dawn is helping by leaning into the pressure:

Base of neck:

Dawn supervises note-taking:

Base of tail:

This is Dawn spam - I was admiring how good her winter coat looks this year - lots of shine and even dapples:

Another release:

A stretch down - while Dr. Alice was working much farther back:

And a big release:

Tail pull:

Tail curl:

Work on the lumbar area - Dr. Alice is using her thumb on the other side along the spine:

Dawn was very focussed:

Fetlock and foot:

This picture is particularly interesting - Dawn is offering her right front leg before Dr. Alice even asks - Dawn is asking for her knee to be worked on:


Other front leg:

Hind leg:

Starting to work on the neck, asking Dawn to bend her head and neck to the side, while working on any crampy areas in her neck:


More neck work - this time working on cramps that were keeping her from bending towards Dr. Alice:

Huge neck release:

More neck work:

Dawn was very satisfied with her chiro session.  I'm always fascinated to watch how Dr. Alice and the horse interact to get the results the horse needs.  It just increases my already existing admiration for how intelligent and communicative horses are if we only listen to them.


  1. Really neat! I'm loving the photos. Dawn has such a gorgeous head, she's so pretty!!

  2. Lots of cool photos of work being done. I always neglect to take any during sessions, but it's pretty cool when horses get a good "relief". My mare is always very sore in her poll and it's always satisfying when she's happier and so much easier to work with in the bridle after an appointment.

  3. I need a doctor like yours! Joseph would love that! Actually I think all of my critters would.

  4. Kate, I like Dawn's inward-looking expression. The yawns are wonderful too. I'm trying to learn to read horses' eyes, what they eye alone tells me. It's hard, I'm not very good at it. Baasha's nostrils would wrinkle when he wasn't comfortable with something; although after so many years I could tell what his eyes were saying adequately. I went through your photo series of Dawn lately, and there were a couple pictures that were virtually identical, but you said her eye and mouth was more relaxed in one. I cannot see it at all: ( Next time maybe you can do close up photography with arrows and circles, for my benefit: )

  5. lytha - it's a very hard thing to capture in photos. Dawn wrinkles her muzzle - just between the nostrils and lips - when she's cross or something hurts. The eyes of one horse also look completely different from those of another. There are "hard" eyes - the horse is mentally absent or resistant - "soft" eyes, where the horse is relaxed and happy, "focussed" eyes - like Dawn in the photos - where the horse is thinking about something but relaxed at the same time, and "worried" eyes - in Red's case he gets wrinkles above his eyes and the white sclera shows. But again, every horse is different and those categories are too broad - there are lots of nuances, and posture and ears make a big difference to the expressions too - those half-mast ears are often a sign of relaxation. And some horses are more expressive than others.

    1. And then there's the "inside" eye, where the horse has a fever or is sick or in pain - the eyes are very abstracted and the horse is looking inward and not outward.

  6. Great post, especially with the pictures. I am lucky to have a chiropractic/acupuncture vet so I get both done if my horses need it. The treatments have had nothing short of amazing results over the years.

  7. It is so nice to see pictures of Dawn. She is super shiny and looking in excellent condition.

  8. It's cool that the chiropractor came. I read a little about some of those techniques and heard that they can be good fro the horse.


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