Tuesday night after work the boys had their first ever visit with the Chiropractor. I don’t know why I waited so long to have this done. Maybe I thought it would be really expensive, maybe I thought it would be too difficult to decide who to use, who to trust. I have always been a firm believer in the benefits, I just never went out and made an appointment. I am so glad I finally did. There is a guy I have known for many years, he is around my age and just finished school to become a Chiropractor. He is from my area and is an eventer and also happens to be a very talented rider at that. I thought I would try him out since he is fresh out of school, plus understands the functional needs of an event horse. Sometimes it is better to go with people with years of experience, and other times it is good to have people fresh out of school since they have new ideas and maybe try a bit harder.
We started with William and he gave him a good full body exam, looking over all his joints and muscles, poking, pulling, pushing, and prodding. William was fairly quiet and well behaved, although embarrassingly enough at one point he did kick out at him when he had his hands around his belly. He said Williams' back and hind end are really good. No issues there although he did do a few adjustments. He said he has also has a great topline, but that his issue lies in his muscles in his neck and shoulder. They are extremely tight, way tighter than normal. His shoulder and ribs were good so there is no issue there.
He explained that when he gets his head all high and tight (like he does when I ask him to canter or he is stressed) that it is jamming his spine and that is why he would be feeling discomfort. So, what I need to work on is concentrating on long and low – and working him over trot poles. He told me to keep riding him and ride him often. He needs to build his belly muscles up so that is neck muscles can relax. He also suggested doing rein back so long as he keeps his head low. He said if I want to canter and am worried about it, to canter on the lunge with side reins so he can’t carry his head high. Basically, he advised from now on, for the time being, do not allow him to be head high at all as we need to stretch his neck out. Avoid any arguments that may cause him to raise his head and neck up. Also, continue doing carrot stretches I have been doing on both sides. I am to contact him mid January and we will see when he can have another adjustment.
Archie was next and stood perfectly still like he always does. He really enjoyed being worked on. He has such impeccable ground manners; he does have that going for him. With Archie he explained his back is actually ok and everything else seems good, but he has a lot of muscle atrophy and muscle loss, possibly from stress (I’m wondering since I took him off ulcer meds). He does not have a hunters bump and his spine is fine. It is slightly showing because he has no muscle over his back or topline. He said his neck and shoulder look fabulous so there is no worry there. He said to give him a month off and just feed the hell out of him until he is almost fat so he can use that fat to convert to muscle when I start riding him again. He said do a lot of collection work to build those muscles once I get started again.
I see a real benefit to using a Chiropractor who is also a rider, and an eventer. He not only could asses the horses physically, but he could give me some very useful tips on feeding and exercise to help fix the problems we are facing. The good news is there is nothing “wrong” with either of them that he could see. No cold back, no sore back. This is good news, the bad news it will likely be a bit longer of a road to have them both in the shape I would like for them to be worked properly. I feel a huge sense of relief knowing for sure what is going on with them both now.
I now need to figure out a way to put even more weight on Archie. He is in good weight but we need to add some fat without making him more energized (since then he runs around his field like a dinkus). I am going to put him back on some ulcer treatment and am thinking perhaps a muscle builder, along with more feed. He is currently getting Roughage Chunks and Beet Pulp. When eventing he was getting Fat n Fiber also, so I may have to go back to that. I will have to explore my options. I am going to use my friends Back on Track back pad on Williams neck for the time being. Lots of homework to do!
Williams new neck warmer LOL
Has anyone tried any sort of muscle builder supplement or have any suggestions on very fattening feed – preferably not a sweet feed? Your ideas are appreciated also.