Saturday, October 12, 2013

Horse Chiropractic: Scrappy 2.0 and my Dear Mare

The next step in the Scrappy 2.0 process was a full chiropractic check and adjustments as necessary. He had a pretty major dental done in the beginning of September, the first of his life and a very needed one with hooks and points throughout his mouth. His previous owners did tell me he most likely needed a dental but since he rides bit-less and clearly has no issues with eating or weight, there was no indication his teeth were as uncomfortable as they undoubtedly were! These were not the first glimmerings of the stoic nature of my Rushcreek buddy, and I was really paying attention now. After confirming with his previous owners that he had never had an chiropractic adjustment, my mind ran wild with the possibilities of what state his body could be in. He is sound and moves wonderfully, but if he was performing so well with bad teeth, there was no telling where his body was at after 8 years, with 140 LD miles and 200 AERC miles, including the challenging Virginia City 100 miler, done in the last 16 months.

Desire always needs chiro work so the greys had a spa evening

After trying a few different people, I am really happy with D, the equine chiropractor I've been using of late. She's great with the horses, fun to chat to, and gaspingly affordable. What more can you ask for in a horse professional! D had a full day Thursday and still came way out in the hills to us around 5:30 pm. The horses knew it was about feeding time and were restless in their various ways. 

Bored..snacks..I want snacks..why am I standing here..mmmm cross tie snack..
 I is Giraffe! Hurry up people, dinner is soon
 Desire got worked on first and was, as ever, completely out of whack. D felt her from head to tail and sighed, "she's a hot mess, isn't she." "Yes, a blazun haat mess for sure." Hey, even in rueful moments I can't resist a good dumb pedigree joke! Aside from her neck and TMJ, Desire's right hip was out. Again. And without any riding for the last 4 months. D was alarmed at how easily Desire's hip went back into place and told me to check it in 3 days as she was afraid the cartilage was deteriorated and the hip would be back out already. From speaking with her and a few other knowledgeable friends, aside from various veterinarian visits and countless hours spent reading and obsessing in my head, it seems best now to retire Desire to pasture pet with possible occasional light rides. She is pasture sound but on the circle you can see her hind end lameness from both bad hind hocks, and with a hip that continually pops out of place..well. It is what it is. She's 17 years old, gorgeous, healthy, and looks good out in the big pasture. I knew this was coming but the hip thing just adds another problem to the mounting issues and I don't have the heart (or the money) to keep banging away at trying to make her sound for something she clearly isn't for anymore. She is in great health and hopefully has many years ahead of her; it seems like such a waste to retired her as she really loved and was good at endurance, always competitive and forward and happiest spooking gloriously down the trail with her tail flagged high. I'm really glad I at least have a large pasture for her to live out her days in, regardless of future soundness. Hmpph. If I think about it, it bums me out. So I look at Scrappy and dream of XPs. And look at Sheza and thank Desire for the gorgeous filly gift she gave us.

and she looks good in Bling. I think I 'll keep her  ;-) 
 As for Scrappy, once again I had a horse professional marveling, "How in the world did he do so well with this going on?" As with the wild dental needs, Scrappy's neck was out on both sides, his TMJ was a little off, and *both* hips were out of place. Interestingly he was out of whack, but evenly so on both sides. My husband's non-horse friend watched D work and was amazed, as I was, at the visible physical difference in Scrappy's croup after she adjusted his hips (so I know that I wasn't hallucinating it, since I didn't get good before-after photos). D worked on both hips gradually, between working on other spots, and by the end of it his pointy croup was half as pointy and his butt muscles were jiggly and loose. She also got his short, straight little neck to go from solid to soft and jiggly. How's that for a scientific replay, but you horse people know what I mean. It's amazing because the manipulations are often subtle but the results are undeniable. Both horses were licking and chewing and pretty happy campers by the time D was done, and I put everyone away and fed in the lovely sunset.
In the first light of Friday morning I drank tea on my porch and watched Scrappy, tail flagged, race Sheza-filly up their mutual hill to the troughs. She smokes him every time, but it was so nice to see a freshly adjusted horse feeling undeniably good the next morning. As for me, I was up early and still managed to be a little late to meet friend and trimming mentor DC, for a morning lake ride. I took Blaze, since as usual he had needed no major chiro work, and Scrappy deserved a day or two to get used to his new body.
 It was a gorgeous fall morning for a ride on our hilariously mismatched steeds, 14 hand Blaze and 16 hand Launi (he isn't 15.3 DC, I don't care what you say!! LOL), both Arabians or mostly so in Blaze's case. Both geldings of great character and dearly beloved by their human partners, they carried us quite safely and non dramatically up the big hill and back around on a few hour tour where we got to just catch up with each other and enjoy the day.
 Boy, life is good in the autumn, on a good horse.


  1. Totally jealous of your good & affordable chiro! Yay for getting Scrappy fixed up, and yay for a good ride with D and Launi :)

  2. Dude, it's a revelation. I've paid twice what D charges to a much more certified person and the horses and I didn't like her near as well or get as much done. Thank goodness there are still good country horse professionals around!

  3. Rose loves it when the chiro adjusts her hips. She gets all dopey faced and then run around the pasture like a new pony once it's all done. She still won't let the chiro adjust her next but I've been working her a lot and hope that maybe this visit we can get that poll.

  4. Also... Sorry to hear about your mare. Hopefully though her daughter and Scrappy can give you all the endurance joy you want in the upcoming years.

  5. I want Q to get chiro now...but I have no idea where to start!

    Maybe you could teach D some simple tricks that don't require much in the way of effort or teach her some phenomenal stretching? Smile. Massage (like Dom's Ozzy). Bow. Shake. I dunno...just something to keep her mind active and your bond just as strong. =)