Sunday, October 19, 2014

head shoulders knees & toes (knees & toes!)

Izzy enjoyed a chiropractic adjustment this weekend. We did a full work-up last spring when I first prepared to get into a lesson program with her. The idea was to ensure a fresh start, since learning to event would be the most physically demanding work Isabel had done in years. 

the unsuspecting victim 

So yesterday's session was a nice way to circle back and see how her physical situation may have changed - for better or worse. Plus I had a few concerns: namely, believing her right hind doesn't work to its full ability, and other regions (like her back) have had to compensate. I also worried that these issues are compounded by a less-than-ideal saddle fit. 

she was, uh, a bit out. ya know. here and there

This chiro likes to get straight to work on her assessment *before* asking about specific concerns. She prefers to approach the horse with an open mind, and then check in with the owner to compare notes. Part of me is a bit skeptical of this method, but I felt oddly validated when she zeroed in immediately on the exact spot of Isabel's back that I constantly fuss over. 

dr feel good at work on the sacrum

Isabel's hip was wayyyy out on the right (half an inch difference), which popped out her sacrum on the left - thus accounting for the sluggish right hind and left side back soreness. So hey - at least I'm not a total hypochondriac!! Yay?

trust me, i'm a doctor

Anyway, the chiro had Izzy figured out pretty quickly. 

Chiro: 'how old?'
Emma: '13.'
Chiro: 'ahh yes, 13 going on 5. I see.'

this foot

She also noted how guarded and defensive the Princess is about people moving around her hind end, and that Isabel will try to anticipate what you want, and then fake it instead of actually, ya know, working for it. 

that foot

So for each adjustment, she'd have to wait for Isabel to finish her fake lick-n-chew (Izzy is not stupid by any measure) and then actually give and release. 

all the feet!

She recommended that I actually get Izzy to stretch her head UP and back for our carrot stretches. She says that the long and low under saddle is good, but that since Isabel wants to carry her head up so high - that's the direction I should ask her to flex for stretches. I guess this will help keep her more supple?

'i am skeptical' - isabel

After all the adjusting was finished, she looked at my saddle, complete with DIY shims. While she understood the reasoning behind the shims, and agreed that they improved the contact between Isabel's back and the panels, she didn't like that it was two separate pieces. She said Isabel needed consistent contact across her back - not a lot of independent pieces distributing weight differently. 

So I had her look at a new saddle pad that I just picked up, but haven't written about because I haven't used it yet. 

unconventional shape, difficult color to keep clean

And the chiro LIKED it. Plus Isabel went all soft-eyed and yawn-y and low-headed when we put it on her. To me, this matters a lot. Isabel always gets wide-eyed and scoots away from me when I come at her with the saddle. I see worry and anticipation of pain, but other people kept telling me she was just being a mare. 

But the chiro felt that this saddle pad had all the ingredients to work very nicely for Isabel. She recommended that I ask my bio-mechanics trainer too (they know each other), and ride around in it a bit, but felt optimistic. Score! So definitely stay posted for more info on the pad. 

'i'm freeeeeee!' - isabel

Anyways, all in all it seemed like a good time for Isabel. She got the rest of yesterday off, plus the thumbs up for today's show. We will see what kind of difference it makes under saddle.


  1. Interesting! I've always thought bodywork helps horses a lot. Definitely let us know what kind of difference you see!

  2. Suzie loves getting her bodywork done - a lot of people I know think its a bunch of hokey, but it DOES work.

    1. i know a few ppl who are skeptical too (including izzy's owner), but isabel enjoys it so much that it's a nice thing to do (when there's room in the budget) regardless of outcome. however, i personally agree that it probably does help

  3. I had to laugh when you described how she fakes the release. I have one that does the same. Funny mares! Hope the new pads works out :)

    1. thanks! yea she is a tricksy little girl :)

  4. We keep an eye on my mares hip too, she tends to get 'out' there first and it screws everything up! Glad your girl got pampered :)

    1. that's pretty much what i'm thinking now - issues originate in the hind end and undermine the rest. but how to fix??? hm...

  5. Chiro is forever interesting. I never tell mine the horse's issues and he usually pinpoints exactly what I'm feeling. It made a big difference for my pony, one of them anyway but he isn't so easy on himself!

    1. ok interesting - i guess i just assumed for safety's sake that the chiro would want to know any problems up front? but maybe not? in any case, i want to be proactive about isabel's maintenance and am glad that she likes the chiro :)