1st Chiropractor Visit

This exotic 9 year old Arabian mare is in training to prepare her for a home of her own. Previously rescued by Cowgirl Spirit in November 2005, she now requires more advanced skills to be placed in a new home.

1st Chiropractor Visit

Postby stardreams on Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:25 am

Zoe has had quite a few challenges with her body which led to the desire to have a chiropractor assess her. For a number of months she's had issues with the saddle, with her neck, with bending, and with a rider on her back. The question of "pain" has been there. When saddling her up a few days ago, it was quite noticable that she was afraid of the pain to come when the saddle was placed on her back. Although she tried her hardest to be good, her fear was apparent.

Zoe watched with interest and nervousness as Ace took his spot as first to go. Who was that lady? What was she doing to Ace? We walked around the property and took our time to relax and take in the quiet environment. Zoe's turn came and we walked into the arena. She was quietly nervous but trying to pay close attention to what was being asked.

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The chiropractor put lavendar oil on her hand and offered for Zoe to sniff it, which left a bit on her muzzle. The rest was spread gently over her face. This vet certainly had one very kind, compassionate, and patient touch. As she started on her neck, it was mentioned how tight the nuchal ligament was and pointed out that she keeps all her tension in her neck. Some adjustments were made. Notice was given to her forhead tissue and how she could be having headaches. Zoe completely relaxed her head into her rubbings.

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The chiropractor moved onto her back. As she ran her hand down on both sides of her spine, she hit the sore area with very little pressure and Zoe's back dropped - dropped - and dropped further. It broke my heart to see how sore she was :( It was mentioned that she had more likely then not, been this way for quite some time. This would partially explain some of the difficulty in behavior and fears that she had.

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Some final adjustments were made, and something quite interesting was noticed. For the first time, Zoe's tail relaxed straight down. Not held out, or out to the side, but actually relaxed down.

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Since Zoe was so relaxed and giving with her body, acupuncture was suggested to help with her healing. Zoe was amazing at holding herself together - when she'd become a little nervous or unsure she turned to her handler for comfort rather then taking matters into her own hands.

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It was suggested that Zoe be given atleast 3 - 4 weeks off from carrying anything on her back, not even a saddle. Nothing. She needs to continue her lunging work and stretching her head "long and low" to help stretch out her back and rebuild some muscle. Hill work was suggested and welcomed, as well as any ponying that was desired. This all was wonderful to hear, as Zoe would be able to continue her training just in a different direction. She'll be reassessed again and receive the clearance before she carries a saddle again and moves forward with her saddle training.

It was also suggested that Zoe receive massages, focused mostly on her back, once a day - or as often as possible. Arnica gel has been picked up to help with her healing to use along with the massaging. It's not hard to find where she's tight in her back, it's a knot.

I hope her healing is quick and she is back to being pain-free as soon as possible.
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Postby Juliane on Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:44 pm

Poor Zoe - I had no idea her back injuries were so extensive, especially when Dr. Hannah mentioned the torn back muscles. I hope Zoe recovers quickly and that all this massaging, lunging and Arnica gel will help her!

Hey, I forgot to ask you, but I was wondering, would it help to have two lines on Zoe when lunging her? Kind of like driving reins, but asking her to bring her head down? I know that she knows how to do it on voice command when she's paying attention, but I can't help but wonder if the driving lines would help, even though she can't wear a surcingle/saddle yet.

This is from when you were lunging her for the first time with both lines on back in December 2005:

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Postby maefly on Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:10 pm

I don't like to see driving lines without a saddle or surcingle of some type. It's too easy for a horse to get a foot over the line and get tangled up. I'd say if you're just walking it would probably be okay, but it doesn't take much to get a foot over a line when they're moving fast.

Would a surcingle bother her back like a saddle does?
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Postby cat_67 on Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:35 pm

In a way it's good news that her rearing/flipping was pain based. Once that problem is resolved and you find a saddle that fits her perfectly, I'll bet that's the last you see of that behavior.
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Postby stardreams on Wed Nov 21, 2007 11:57 pm

Ground driving is a great idea!! I was considering doing at this last Sunday, but it seemed we only had one lunge line with us, although I didn't ask. Yes Yes!!

The chiropractor mentioned absolutely nothing on her back (besides a winter blanket of course), so all option including the surcingle are out.

I personally do not like ground driving with the driving lines through the stirrups nor the surcingle. This is my own preference, and the training method I've used over the last many years. I never teach a horse to ground drive with anything other then driving lines attached to them (preferably to the halter first, and later to the bit), then will move to having the saddle on or lines through the surcingle. For myself, I prefer having free movements with the driving lines - but you are right, you do need to be careful. It's very easy for a horse to misunderstand and spin themself around and get tangled in the lines. I would never suggest an inexperiences person attempt to ground drive themselves without another person there with them.

This would be great for Zoe!!!
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Postby Juliane on Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:18 am

Hey Susan, I'm in Oregon now, but if you stop by to work with Zoe, I left a set of driving lines in the tack room in the barn if you want to do that with Zoe :) Let me know how it goes!
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Postby Juliane on Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:07 pm

Here is the report for Dr. Hannah regarding Zoe's back:

11/16/07 Farm Call

Julianne Hanley

Subjective/Objective:
Zoe: 10 year old Arab mare, chestnut, DOB: ‘97

History/Presenting Concern: In July, flipped over backward under saddle then a gain in trailer, had a rider previously that was very unbalanced/tense,

Bodywork Treatment:
Chiropractic: C5r, T6-9, T/L, L3/4, L/S, significant muscle spasm over entire thoraco/lumbar spine, drops under mild pressure, especially over thoracic spine (at white hair region).
Acupuncture: bai hui, pishux2, local lumbarx2 + estim

Assessment/Plan:
One month with no weight on her back, exercise in round pen or pony on trail ~ 5 days/week 30 minutes or so to allow her muscles to heal and strengthen. The goal should be to have no/minimal tension so her muscles can stay soft.

Massage daily, if you can find a massage therapist in your area to work on her weekly or every few weeks that would be great as well.

Recommend re-evaluation/treatment in 1 month before starting back under saddle.

Please call or email with any questions or concerns.

Dr. Hannah Evergreen
206-940-8589
info@evergreenholisticvet.com
PO Box 1494
Monroe, WA 98272
Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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