Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chiro and New Shoes

This was a big week for Charlie. Despite being back in full work, he's continued to have intermittent stiffness issues and pain in his back and right side, so I decided to have a chiropractor/acupuncturist come out to evaluate him on Monday.

As I suspected, Charlie's right side was completely locked, especially in his hip and poll. The doctor wasn't too concerned, but she immediately asked if he had fallen at any point, as that's what all his signs were pointing toward. She said when horses fall, they put out their noses like we would put out our hands to catch ourselves, so they end up hitting their hip and wrenching their neck/poll at the same time. According to her, it most likely it was on the ice over the winter and he's just been compensating and making himself more sore ever since. I immediately thought back to that time in January when he spooked in the snowy driveway and went down when I was hand walking him. I'm sure that's what did it. I just hadn't been riding then or I probably would have noticed something a lot sooner.
Porcupine Charlie
Anyway, Dr. Edwards was great. She used both chiropractics and acupuncture to relieve Charlie's tension, and though it was an expensive visit, I think it was worth it. She worked on him for over an hour and as she did you could see Charlie relaxing. The bad news she looked at my saddle too and, after some examination, she said it fit well but the angles were actually a bit crooked. In all my saddle shopping - looking at gullet width and wither clearance and overall shape around his shoulders and everything else - I hadn't thought to look at whether the flaps were angled evenly. So I'm currently saddleless, unless you count the old western one. The doctor said absolutely don't use my English one unless I want to see her again on a regular basis.

Days off are for sleeping in!
After his chiropractic appointment Charlie got a few days off, per doctor's orders, but today I did a light bareback ride to see how he felt. Immediately I noticed him stepping out more animatedly. He also seems much more willing to bend to each side and sidepass, which is nice to see. There is still some stiffness, but I think whatever is left is from atrophy on the ouchy side (and the uneven saddle caused some unevenness in his back muscles too).

After our ride the farrier was out to put shoes on. Charlie's feet are really good and were doing well barefood, but I just think he goes better in shoes when I'm riding more regularly. Not as short-stepped. And over the summer I plan to be out and about and doing a lot more riding, so shoes will be more necessary. Charlie was nosy as ever, wanting to be in everyone's business and see every step of the process, but that's Charlie. :)

Charlie loves watching the goings on

This farrier is really great, and I'm starting to see that more and more. It's so hard to keep moving around and switching people, and I wasn't sure I'd find one I liked as much as my guy in RI. But Dave is honest, fairly priced, easy going, and super good-natured. He knows his stuff and does it right. And Charlie loves him, which is always a plus :)

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