In Charlie's case, formulating a comprehensive hoof care plan, handling dental work, treating for ulcers, evaluating his dietary needs, and a few other veterinary odds and ends came earlier on The List than body work.
You know how it goes. And everyone's list is probably ordered a little differently, based on each horse's pressing needs.
|that face tho|
I don't disagree in the slightest, and have been a little hesitant about doing chiropractic work on a potentially body sore horse. My thought process being: if he's got other issues going on, other sorenesses, foot problems, or compensatory issues... he's not likely going to be able to hold any adjustments anyway. And they could potentially make him more sore in the near term.
|god this angle makes him look so skinny :( red circle intended to simultaneously distract from that, and also point out the array of needles around his SI joint|
|needles errywhere!! he also got a couple down his hind legs, but i didn't get pics|
But then they spend a little time with Charlie, realize that he's a pretty easy and laid back dude, and ultimately settle on "Yea this seems like a good horse, you guys will probably be fine."
|a particularly ouchy spot. while we did discuss saddle fit and corrections thereof, she didn't find any indications of a major problem. phew! that's..... way farther down The List haha|
She thinks he'll develop well tho. Estimated that he needs another 300lbs (dear god, poor skinny horse) and that I'll have my work cut out in helping him build muscle and strength under saddle, as we're starting from a place of fairly distinct unevenness.... But all in all actually seemed to quite like him.
|i can't promise that this line overlays his spine 100%.... but it's close enough to see the lateral unevenness|
For me, personally, the most interesting finding was how uneven Charlie's shoulders are. She had me stand up on her foam block thingy to take a look (and the above picture) myself. It's.... fairly dramatic. One side is definitely higher than the other too.
She reminded me that a horse's shoulders are attached to the body by muscle, not by bone. And that you can't do much about the lower part of the shoulder, but you can help develop the muscles in how the shoulder ties into the body. For instance, she said that when people say their horses get taller with good, correct dressage work, they're actually not wrong - as the muscles holding the shoulders grow.
So Charlie needs a lot a lot a lot of work in building up those muscles, and in helping him become more even from side to side. This perhaps explains a lot of what he feels like to ride - his shoulders are fairly stuck and he's not very balanced laterally.
It also made me think about how Charlie holds himself in regular, day to day life:
|if charlie is grazing, he is grazing in this stance. always.|
And am curious about what happened first: The tendency to stand like this (and underrun that one heel) led to the dramatic difference from one shoulder to the other? Or did his shoulders become uneven one way or another and over time he gradually compensated by standing like this until it has become his habit?
It doesn't much matter what came first.... bc I'm working from the hoof up AND the shoulder down... It's just verrrrry interesting to me. Like I still don't know the answer to the riddle, but the pieces are clicking together.
So. Anyway. Charlie had his first chiro/acupuncture session. And did well with it! I'd like to keep him on a fairly regular schedule, tho will likely explore regular massage too. All budget dependent and whatnot, obvi haha.
But body work like this always proved with Isabel to be effective in checking up on where she was physically, and what the implications were for her training and health/nutrition needs. So I'm hoping it will serve equally well in Charlie's physical transition too!