Monday, April 22, 2013

Chiropractor, Side Reins and Sunny Days

This week was a busy week for Charlie: chiro on Wednesday, farrier on Saturday and getting used to side reins in between everything else. We also lunged in the outdoor for the first time ever (not his calmest experience, but it was buggy, I'll give him that).

My artillery: a shedding blade, side reins, Sore-No-More and No Bows wraps (to be explained)

I was actually really excited about Dr. Katz's visit on Wednesday, but kept psyching myself out leading up to it because I was sure he would take one look at my saddle and say there was no way it fit and that I have to go shopping for an expensive new one....but he didn't! Actually, after trying many different pad options, he said that although the saddle didn't fit perfectly, it was doable and the Lami-cell pad I've been using was doing the best job of removing any front-to-back rocking. The remaining rock was minimal enough that he said he didn't think it would bother most horses, but Charlie is extra sensitive. He showed me how to use a folded No Bose wrap instead (or a hand towel) to raise the front of the saddle a little and even everything out better than any of the expensive pads were doing. I really liked how Dr. Katz was so down-to-earth and honest; he didn't try to sell me anything or convince me to purchase expensive correction. Instead he worked with what I had and I really appreciated it.

My improvised No Bows pad
Dr. Katz did say that Charlie, with those huge withers, is a nightmare to fit (no kidding) and will probably always need some sort of corrective pads but before we go crazy with that we have to make him comfortable enough to work and develop his topline (Pro: now I have a "real excuse" to buy one of the Mattes pads I drool over; Con: my wallet is rapidly thinning!). He also mentioned trying a fleece girth instead of my Professionals Choice synthetic girth because apparently some horses feel like it pulls their belly hair and so that might be contributing to Charlie's grumpiness. I have nothing against fleece girths, but I really like my Professionals Choice easy to clean! For Charlie's happiness, though, it's worth switching it up and seeing what happens.

After the saddle fitting Dr. Katz did a full chiropractic evaluation on Charlie. At one point he asked me to take Charlie into the indoor and walk/trot in hand so he could see how Charlie moved (Ooops, forgot about that part of the eval). I had a brief moment of panic since I hadn't gotten to lunge Charlie before Dr. Katz got there and thought he'd go through the roof or run me over or think we were "playing", but (thankfully) Charlie was well-behaved. We stopped just before he passed his "this-is-boring-so-let's-spice-things-up" threshold. Phew!

Overall, Dr. Katz pinpointed some key areas of soreness in Charlie's withers and hind end, but he got some real good releases and said there weren't any true "problem" areas (I have a short video of some of it but it is still processing, I'll have to post later). For the next month or so I will ride with the corrective padding to try and build up muscle and use Sore-No-More religiously after every workout and then we'll see where we stand.

On Friday we started with some light lunge work again. I'm slowly trying to introduce Charlie to the idea of the side reins so for the meantime they're extended from his rope halter with some baling twine so they aren't tight, just so he gets used to them being there. I'm gradually shortening them each time and then will transition to using his bridle. This was taken with them super loose at the beginning of our session; he's obviously not too impressed:

Finally (although you wouldn't know it today) we did have a few really warm days this week and Charlie definitely enjoyed the time out in the sun. Dan and I got to the barn this weekend to find him conked out and soaking up the sun. It was pretty adorable :)

Grazing is good, but it makes the neighbors jealous


  1. I have a normal mattes pad (no correction pockets) and love it! Just wanted to let you know that I think County sells the correction pads for a little less than other places? Sounds odd but still they sell the regular pads for less so just wanted to throw it out there. :)

  2. that video is so cute, glad its going well

  3. I'm going to try that no bow trick, that is cool!

  4. Love the no bow trick! It's so cool when vets get that most people are "horse poor" and don't have gazillions of dollars to spend even though they are 100% invested in keeping their horse happy, healthy, sound and pain free. If you're doing right by your horse, that's all that matters.

  5. Dr. Katz is so down-to-earth and realistic about horse keeping. I'm so happy you guys had a good visit and that your saddle is ok. :)

  6. Glad things are working out for you guys! Charlie is adorable. Miss you guys.

  7. Happy for you that the saddle gets to stay!

  8. Such a cute video! He is chilaxing! :)