Wednesday, June 21, 2017

poke a dope

A couple weeks ago, Charlie got his second appointment with my favorite equine chiropractic / acupuncture practitioner.

She used to treat Isabel for me, and actually in her former life as a DVM she did the vet work for the breeding program that produced Isabel. Meaning - it's actually pretty darn likely that she had delivered Isabel herself.

dopey ears 4 lyfe
Anyway, you may remember she came out to treat Charlie back in January. That was a useful appointment in getting a deeper understanding of Charlie's current physical condition. And especially in how all his 'little things' kinda combined together to make for a horse who.... Well. Carried the years of track-life around in his body.

see the needle? 
When Charlie first came home from the adoption facility, we wanted to focus on his muscles during the process of letting him down from the track and rebuilding him in a new form. My vet felt like he was predominantly a muscular case, and that while chiro may help him, I'd see the most benefits from massage.

there's another one!
I went ahead and did a chiro appointment anyway bc I was having trouble finding a massage therapist, but already knew this chiro practitioner and was eager to get her professional opinion. Since then, tho, Charlie's gotten into a routine with a new equine massage therapist (whom he LOVES).

and a couple down the back of his hooves
She's been pretty fantastic for him and is generally a cool person all around - even coming out to hang and watch Charlie go at Jenny Camp last month! During her last session with him, tho, she was a little concerned about some of his sore spots and felt like it might be time to bring the chiro back in.

and down his hind legs
Which seemed about right to me - it had been about six months anyway and Charlie has physically undergone pretty significant changes during that time. So we got something scheduled and the chiro was able to give the horse a fresh assessment on how he's doing.

plus the standard slew of 'em around his SI
Long story short? The big guy continues to do well. She was very happy with how much better he looks now compared to January. Which like, me too. Meeee too. lol....

my understanding is that this is a pretty common application for sport horses. also note charlie isn't standing square here - but you can see the definition of his spine in the dust rubbed up by the chiro
And like last time, she didn't really find any major spots of concerns. Charlie's got some stuff, ya know? Some wear and tear, some weak spots. His hind end has a lot of work to do developmentally, and he's got some other issues that you might expect in a horse his size with his history. Nothing serious, nothing that changes our course of action with him.

Just... ya know. Continuing to help him develop in a manner most likely to keep him sound, strong, and happy.

She was also able to rule out concerns about any other nagging worries. Didn't find any evidence at all that the horse is ulcery (always a nice thing to hear), or that there are saddle fit issues. And seemed to think the current hoof game plan (leather rim pads) was solid.

more in the legs!
She was also likewise not particularly concerned about Charlie's status as King of the Dings, as evidenced by his frequently lumpy bumpy legs. Charlie sometimes whacks a leg while weaving - creating big old bumps that take a long time to go down.

Those bumps often freak barn mgmt out (to them, everything looks like a catastrophic soft tissue injury) but the chiro kinda echoed what I and my trainers have thought: if the bumps aren't interfering with his soundness or ability to do what he does, then it's probably nbd.

marinating in his needle soup while watching is buddy Tip get adjusted
So all in all, it was a good check in. The chiro was able to work a bit on the areas that concerned the massage therapist (mostly Charlie's poll). And she was able to provide a solid check-in perspective on how Charlie's doing 10 months post track, and 9 months of being in my care. The verdict? He's doing well!

It's always a long road with these OTTBs, esp for one who was on the track for so many years, but so far, so good.

My game plan is to keep Charlie on a fairly regular massage schedule (ideally that's every month, but sometimes it's more like every 6-7 weeks) with chiro/acupuncture treatments more like every 6 months to a year barring any immediate treatment needs. Personally I just kinda like the idea of managed maintenance through body work, and the horse certainly seems to enjoy it.

Izzy always got more chiro vs massage, but I also didn't really know a massage therapist anyway. Maybe she would have done well with both? Idk. Does your horse need any one form of care over another? Or do you do all the things? Or none of the things?

Only when a need crops up - like a lameness or injury? Or are you more on the maintenance schedule like me? Do you like checking in with the professional practitioners on your horse's condition and care? Or maybe you prefer to forge your own road, or rely on your BM or trainer's opinions?

30 comments:

  1. Awww I'm happy he's looking good! I'm technically certified for equine massage, so I massage Amber as often as I can. But sometimes it's not enough, you know? I'd really like to find a good equine acupuncturist especially after I've gotten acupuncture and it's really helped me. But I'm also super nervous because Vegas has many quacks. I do believe massage helps more than chiropractic work - I've seen an s-curving spine on a horse fixed with some pointed massage and the horse traveled much better after. But I also know that sometimes, you just need your stuff adjusted, so I want to look for a chiro as well. We'll see what we can find :). And of course, our horses get the best... Here I am wanting to throw money at people to make sure my horse feels loose and happy but I won't go to physical therapy to get myself fixed... LOL But such is life as a horse owner!

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    1. ha yup that's so typical..... like i still 'favor' the leg i broke over a year ago and am super uneven from side to side bc of it. but do i get physical therapy? nope. but charlie? he gets whatever he wants and then some lol...

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  2. Glad to hear Charlie keeps feeling better and better! I am firmly in the camp of if I can afford it then yeah, I will 100% use trusted equine masseuses and chiro/acupuncture. I know how much those make a difference for me personally (not that I ever pay for those kinds of treatments for myself anymore...) so stands to reason it would make Phoebe also feel better. When I first got her she mainly had massages, sometimes as often as every other week. The masseuse and the chiro both felt that she would not be able to hold any chiropractic adjustments until at least most of her superficial muscle issues had been worked through. Now we have sort of flipped in our needs, the superficial stuff is mainly gone and chiro/acupuncture is what gives us the most benefits. Of course this is all subject to change as Phoebe continues to develop and change in her body.

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    1. yup, i definitely hear ya on the whole 'subject to change' thing! like over time i've kinda figured out what routines and practices seem to work well for me as someone responsible for managing a horse's care.... but at the end of the day, usually it's the horse who drives that agenda lol. go figure

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  3. I'm on an "as needed" basis right now because none of my horses are.... Doing things 😂 but when they're working hard, a maintenance schedule is ideal! Sounds like you're tweaking the program and finding exactly how to keep Charlie most comfortable -- awesome job!

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    1. lol thanks! and the 'as needed' basis i think is pretty much perfect for most horses. the idea of organizing it into a 'plan' or 'routine' is really more for my own benefit as someone who likes to construct expectations over time lol

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  4. P get PEMF (magnawave) every month, but that's it for now. I used to have him chiro'd as well, but never saw a difference after a session like I do with PEMF. I try to schedule it either after a heavy week or before a show and he loves his sessions.

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    1. magnawave is something i'd REALLY like to try! i've heard nothing but really great things about it. alas i don't know any practitioners in the area but it's definitely on my wish list haha

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  5. I still feel chiro is a little whoo whoo even after having it done to Carlos, but I am a huge believer in massage and physical therapy.

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    1. yea i think that's fair. sometimes i think, at least in the horse world, it's pretty dependent on the individual practitioner too. this particular chiro doesn't really do the 'snap crackle pop' style of big adjustments, rather she does a lottttt of flexing and stretching and testing of range of motion, and then really seems to focus in specifically on the spine itself in a way that almost seems like massage - but, for the bones, i guess lol. i actually really enjoy watching!

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  6. I'd love to get acu and chiro for Q. I'm sure all 3 could benefit, but she's the biggest loon. I wonder if it could help her be less loony as I've known other Arabs that it helped DRAMATICALLY.

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    1. ha you never know! isabel wasn't particularly loony, and i can't really say there was ever any dramatic difference, but i definitely liked doing it regularly for her. the acupuncture in particular was really interesting for her!

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  7. Well, so far neither of them have needed chiro/massage/whatever work - not surprisingly, in that they have no jobs yet. :) From a theoretical perspective, I'm not against the idea, but I'm also very cautious about people doing stuff to *me* that could potentially eff me up for a few days, so I'm likely to be even more cautious when it comes to my animals...

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    1. yea i think that's fair. i've been a little selective about practitioners, usually using those recommended to me by people i trust, or those who i've seen work before

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  8. I REALLY want to get an acupuncturist out to see my pony! Weirdly, I don't think there are many in my area. Murray doesn't love massages, and they don't seem to make him feel any better (and certainly don't make me feel better), so I haven't gotten him very many. But perhaps I'll revisit the idea again this year and see if his opinion has changed at all.

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    1. the acupuncture is actually super interesting to me, and i really want to try some for myself now! the cool thing about it tho is that the horses don't like, they don't have the placebo effect or whatever, so they're so honest when receiving the treatment on whether it's good, bad, confusing, watever

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  9. I would love to have a massage therapist do some work with Carmen- especially around her poll. But they are not easy to find here.

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    1. yea i believe that. we're lucky in this area to have all sorts of horse professionals for sure

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  10. Glad Charlie is doing so well!!! I love massage and Gem sorta tolerates it. She doesn't really like being touched and only puts up with me because she knows she has to. I've not tried chiro on her but I've not been a fan for it on myself. If a vet told me she needed it for a certain reason, I'd do it though.

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    1. yea that makes sense. isabel didn't really love being touched either, tho she ended up enjoying the chiro very much after she figured out what it was all about and that it would make her feel good

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  11. I try to get my horses a massage every three months and chiro twice a year. Have also dabbled in other weird things too. I do want to try that PEMF thing that I keep hearing about :)

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  12. My horses always go sooo much better after chiro. I have yet to find a massage person though. I really need to look into that more.

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    1. i had never really sought out a massage person before charlie, bc my vet felt so strongly that he would benefit more from massage than chiro. turns out i really like doing both for him!

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  13. you are such a good mom. hes really looking fantastic lately. I want to start getting this stuff going for indy but I think for the time being I'm focusing on letting him relax and put on weight.

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    1. aw thanks :) i'm definitely trying! and i know what you mean about trying to take things one at a time for the new guy, that was definitely my approach in the early days for Charlie. tho Charlie actually came to me with some soreness and physical issues that i wanted to address sooner rather than later, but it was still about 3 months before i got that far down the list (omg tho so much stuff for the new guys!)

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  14. Lauren MichaloskiJune 22, 2017 at 6:08 AM

    Who do you use for chiro/accu? I'm pretty sure I'm kinda close to your area, and I've always wanted to get that done for my gelding, but could never find any practitioners!

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    1. I'm unsure about my feelings publishing names online (which might be silly but whatever) but if you email me at fraidycat.eventing at gmail I will happily provide that info!

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    2. Lauren MichaloskiJune 22, 2017 at 6:51 AM

      Sorry, didn't even think about that. That's a totally understandable stance. Will do!

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  15. Little late to answer but I believe in being proactive not reactive. Maintenance is a great way to keep your horse working for a long time. I've already got Aria on joint care supplements and am looking for a bodywork specialist to provide her with massage and acupuncture. Preventing a lot of wear and tear is definitely my goal.

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