Wednesday, March 24, 2021

treating yo'self

And, obviously, by "yo'self" I am clearly referring to "yo'horse." Because why on earth would I ever indulge myself with any sort of creature comfort when those resources could be spent on my horse instead?! 

creepin on the shetland herd next to his temporary paddock
Case in point: I've been hobbling around the farm for a literal month at this point since my latest ankle calamity (in case you forgot: I dismounted directly onto a jump pole, and cckrtch'd the fuck out of my poor long-suffering ankle....). But, have I seen a doctor? Attended physical therapy?? Done literally anything other than brace the ankle, gird my loins, and carry on??? No, nope, and definitely not

only jusssst a little bit like that random sketchy guy hangin around the children's playground
Meanwhile, during this exact same time frame, my horse had a spa day, got his (joint) oil changed, and - as of yesterday - enjoyed some chiropractic massage and acupuncture from his favorite wellness practitioner. 

it's amazing how quickly these old buildings come down!
So. Uh.... Yea. Self care isn't exactly one of my strengths lol. Tho --- in fairness, major components of my day to day mood and mental well being are directly connected to the time I spend with my horse, and the satisfaction I get from this lifestyle. 

onto the main story: charlie getting spoiled!
In this roundabout way, I convince myself that Charlie Care -- investing in his quality of life -- thus indirectly serves my own interests too. Sorta kinda I can rationalize anything.

he luvs this attention so much tho
Lol for real, tho, for better or worse I like to take a holistic approach to Charlie's wellness. Obviously I'm a big believer in the benefits of typically invasive western medicine practices like joint injections etc. When the Shit hits the Fan, I'm calling out the DVM and shelling out for prescription grade medications. 

obvi it's always recommended to have the barn manager on hand supervising the adjustment!
For day to day maintenance, tho? I like to try out alternative therapies like massage, chiro, PEMF, acupuncture, etc. For a couple reasons: 

1) My horse fucking loves it; 2) It's a lower cost way to routinely check in on my horse's overall condition with professionals who know him well; and 3) It gives me more confidence that we're correctly distinguishing between physical issues and training issues in our regular work.

fairly standard array of pokey proddies
The practitioner I keep coming back to again and again over the years is this chiro / acupuncturist. She's a former DVM and very well known and respected throughout the region. She used to work on Isabel back in the day, and was one of the first people to meet Charlie after he came home to me. 

marinating
So, obviously this appointment had to be a key item on Charlie's Spring Tune-Up Checklist. The basic hypothesis being: we had a pretty low key winter around these parts, punted his annual maintenance from what would have been a fall appt to the springtime (a couple weeks ago now), and we're now starting to gear back up again.

more stabby jabbies -- in the neck here, and also some down on his pasterns / heel bulbs
The chiro confirmed that Charlie had more pronounced soreness in his back than we'd normally expect, and said it was more apparent on his right side. This is most likely the result of compensating for his hocks. Tho ya know, it's also possible my asymmetric style of riding lately (thanks to being #crippled again) isn't helping. 

deep in thought
We talked a bit about the realities of a sore back. Basically, the gist is: in horses, a sore back rarely if ever resolves itself. Rest does almost nothing for it (in most cases), mostly due to the compensating nature of their way of going. The only real solution to a sore back is to work on it -- through physical therapies, correct riding, and in more extreme cases, medical interventions like muscle relaxers. 

so focused on his favorite wellness practitioner haha
Charlie's not getting any muscle relaxers this time (much to his chagrin -- I swear Charlie is an absolute junkie), but he's getting all the rest of it. 

like a pig in clover lol
Theoretically the joint injections will correct the underlying root cause and need to compensate. The chiro should help ease everything back into alignment, and the acupuncture stimulates the nervous system and relieves pain. Or at least, that's sorta my working understanding haha. 

lol that's one way to stretch your back, charlie!
Then the rest is up to me: actually riding my horse, and riding him properly. Getting back into more normal dressage schools will be part of keeping him healthy happy and comfortable by building all those big important muscles he needs to support his bronto-self LOL. 

an right onto his next appointment -- he's a busy pony!
And just to complete the package: Charlie's first farrier appointment of spring happened to fall at the perfect time -- hopefully early enough to get in front of the crumbling hooves that will come when the grass is up. Maybe this year I'll finally be prepared lol

We went ahead and put leather pads up front earlier than in previous years too. Honestly Charlie is just more comfortable in the pads -- and hasn't had any issues with thrush or whatever. And I'm comfortable when Charlie's comfortable, so there ya go. 

Ooh. And. We also got the season's first stud holes drilled 'n tapped. Maybe -- jusssst maybe -- now that Charlie's getting all tuned up, I'll actually pull up my big girl britches and put this amazing thoroughbred to good use LOL.

Anyone else ticking things off the list?? Doing your own variation of spring cleaning? Treating yourself or your horse?!? Stamping out the mental gloom by sprucing up your favorite pony???



23 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry that ankle is giving you hell and hasn't done the proper thing and just healed itself perfectly already.

    Still waiting on flowers to pop here so I can be like Charlie and smash my face in them - less eating of the flowers though.

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    1. Lol Charlie is like drunk on the scent of grass rn (even tho there’s still barely any above ground) he’d eat anything! Here’s hoping everything bursts thru and starts growing for you soon too!

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  2. I hate to be THAT person, but . . . . homie, your ankle. You gotta get that checked out. I know American healthcare is a nightmare, but, worst case scenario, you take the dine & dash approach.

    Not sure if you spoke to your chiro about the last trail ride you and Chuck had, but I wonder if doing that more often might benefit his back?? Seems like a low pressure, fun way to get him working "correctly." I really do like the idea of either chiro or massage regularly for horses. It makes it clear as day where the weaknesses are, and you can track progress. Pretty much everyone at my barn has received their injections by this point, but I might shell out to get one of the cows a good massage session.

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    1. Thanks yea - realistically there isn’t any specific treatment I can do for the ankle at this point, but it does need some rehab... sigh.

      And yea I talk to this chiro tons about the work chuck does (or doesn’t do lol) in a typical week. Even since the Isabel days she’s always prodded me to do more and better dressage work. How that gets done doesn’t really matter tho - on the trails, in a ring, wherever - what needs to happen is for Charlie to not trot around like a golden retriever in a doggie wheelchair. He needs to actually USE his hind end to carry more weight and build up his back strength...

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  3. Ugh - anklegate pt 2! As a former anklegate sufferer myself, I feel ya on that one!

    Spring cleaning is getting going around here. Fred had a vet check up and has some issues I need to address. If I ever get around to updating my blog, I'll talk about it. Definitely also hear you on treating the pony first and then if there is anything left over, treating myself. lol

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    1. Yes plz update your blog ;) hope things are ok with Fred!! And yea this is actually #anklegate part 3, ugh. I broke it back in 2015, but had a nasty roll this past October. That was better in about two weeks tho. This roll was a little worse (dropping from the height of my horse with my full body weight coming down on the roll) and we are at 4.5wks with still some acute injury. It’s getting better with stretches tho, so we will see. Siiiiiigh ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  4. Last year we bought our own Ultra sound machine. It works great for tight/sore/pulled muscles. I don't know if it would help your ankle but I recommend it.
    This week the horses have the vet visit for their annual check up/vaccines and teeth. I'd love to try acupuncture on Irish and Carmen to see if it helps.

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    1. hm i haven't really looked into any technical sort of therapies for the ankle -- tho i know people swear by things like lasers or whatever for soft tissue injuries in horses.... and yes if you have a chance to try acupuncture it's probably my favorite of all the therapies listed above that i do for the horse -- they all seem to LOVE it!

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  5. The pictures of him getting worked on are so cute! He looks like he adores the attention all the time, even more reason to treat him in all the ways.

    I was amazed at the difference acupuncture made for my mare after her accident. She also had chiro before her accident - I wasn't convinced that made a huge difference for her. Yoshi will probably get some of both at some point, but the current expenses of x-rays, shoes, etc are enough to make me cry a bit, so we'll wait till those are a bit less... regular of expenses.

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    1. lol yea these types of treatments definitely take second fiddle to stuff like crazy complicated shoes haha. for real, tho, everyone i know who has personally tried acupuncture swears by it. i honestly do believe charlie benefits from it too, tho who really knows right**?, but the fact that he enjoys it so much is 100% reason enough for me!

      (**i am convinced there's a direct correlation between charlie receiving acupuncture and then feeling his absolute most forward self. this is based in large part on that time he RAN THE F AWAY WITH ME last summer at a horse show {v inconvenient timing} just a week or two after being treated lol....)

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  6. Lucky Charlie! But Emma, take care of your ankle! I've been doing some stretch classes in an online app everyday and it has really helped with my mobility (in my ankle and all over) which should also help prevent future tweaks. For reals, it would be way worse to have to stay out of the saddle for 2 months cuz you did something serious than to take the week-ish to let it heal now.

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    1. oh man yea i know you've been through the wringer with your ankle too.... i promise i am actually taking care of it, and it did get the rest it needed post-injury. now i really need to focus on the rehab and range of motion stuff now. maybe will download that app LOL

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    2. I've been using OpenFit since Nov - it's got a bunch of different types of workouts (yoga, barr, weights, running), different length classes (10 - 50 min) and both live and on demand options. I am able to fit in a class sometime most mornings, I really like it. The variety and shorter classes keep in interested. And it's only $10/month ish

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  7. I am 100% with you - my horse's quality of life directly affects my own lol it's transitive property or something I think.

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    1. lol yes exactly -- the 'rising tide that lifts all boats' or some such thing ;)

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  8. Oh 100% I avoid the doc as much as possible but yet I probably am putting the vet's kids through college. Our bodyworker has been in Florida since January, and I really think Pammon needs to see her. I hope she gets back soon.
    I bet Charlie will be feeling fabulous after all his treatments and new shoes!

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    1. Lol yep I’m the same way haha. Fingers crossed your body worker comes north soon! And yea I’m hoping Charlie feels like a million bucks, tho he went and spiked a fever after his spring shots so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  9. My guys have been absolutely spoiled this spring and I wouldn't have it any other way. I did finally convince myself to go see a chiropractor when I figured my crookedness was not helping them get any better. Ive had PEMF, Chiro, and MFR out for my horses this year!

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    1. Nice! And yea one of these days I’m gonna have to get some work done myself.... years of repeat injuries to the same leg has got me all jacked up lol

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  10. I tried to look after myself this week and it backfired on me!
    Cisco got an adjustment on Monday and I followed it with a massage for me. Everything felt great that night and when I got up in the morning - for about 20 minutes. Then I made the fatal error of looking at my phone, and when I looked up I couldn't turn my neck to the left! I have no idea how I managed to suddenly tweak it - I'm just getting old, I guess!

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    1. oh no! i hate tweaks like that, they always seem to take days and dayyyyssss to resolve ugh :(

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  11. Poet loooooves acupuncture. I wish I could afford to do it monthly, because I agree with how much of a baseline it tells you! Chiro too. Really, all the treatments. Helpfully they'll help with Charlie's back.

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    1. omg i knowwwww -- i wish i could do it more often too. slowly but surely tho i'm figuring out how to be more strategic about the scheduling, at least

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