Friday, March 4, 2016

Our new equine chiropractor

This past week, we used a new equine chiropractor for the first time in several years.

Both Panama and I loved our former chiropractor -- Rondo only needed to be adjusted once or twice, but Panama has had a recurring issue in his hip and TMJ for several years now, and has needed to be adjusted about every six months.


Our chiropractor was much loved at our barn, and would routinely have half a dozen or more horses to adjust every time he came, no matter how frequently that was.  He would be honest and not charge you if your horse didn't need to be adjusted, and he was quick and fairly gentle.  The horses loved him.  Panama loved him so much that one time when we were riding and the chiropractor showed up, Pan went right to him and nosed his shoulder while he was talking to the owner of the horse he was actually there to see.  It was perfectly obviously that he knew he needed an adjustment and was asking the chiropractor to help him!

Unfortunately, our chiropractor had to take time off for health reasons, and wasn't sure whether he was coming back or simply retiring.  A couple of people have looked into other chiropractors, but so many of them are twice or more what our old chiropractor cost, and don't come with even half the reputation.

Finally someone scheduled an appointment for this past Tuesday with a new chiropractor that I've heard recommended by a couple different people, so I decided to try him out.

I liked him, and more importantly, both my boys seemed to like him -- and he seemed to be able to help them.  He was more thorough than the old chiropractor, adjusting everything (whereas the old one only seemed to adjust something if it needed to be adjusted).  I got the feeling that Panama was a little annoyed at first with the thoroughness, but that he ended up enjoying and benefiting from it.

Panama was first.  The chiropractor found soreness in his right SI joint, some stiffness in his left SI joint, and stiffness in his left TMJ -- all normal for Pan when he needs an adjustment.  He went through adjusting everything, and Panama relaxed and seemed to enjoy it.  He was even letting his lower lip hang, which he pretty much never does -- he's an intense, energetic little horse that loves being handled and ridden, and lives in constant anticipation of such enjoyments.

Rondo, who usually doesn't need adjustments, has been acting up for a couple months.  It started out with him having difficulty tracking to the right, which is his favorite direction.  He didn't want to circle to that direction, and was constantly trying to spin out to the left.  Last time he needed an adjustment, he was having trouble picking up his right lead, also usually his favorite.  This time my leaser thought it was attitude, since he stopped spinning out to the left after some correction, but he had also started throwing some small temper tantrums and fits of pique on the trail with her (a departure from his usual enjoyment of trail rides).

The chiropractor found a lot of soreness in both SI joints, and went to work adjusting him.  There seemed to be less bothering him in the front end than Panama, but the chiropractor was still equally thorough.  He also explains what he's doing and why, particularly if you ask questions, which I really liked.

On the chiropractor's suggestion, I turned both horses out together after the adjustment.  Unlike our previous chiropractor, who said to wait 24 hours before riding, this one says it's good to do something with them so that they know they don't hurt anymore -- you don't want them to go right back to favoring the previously sore areas, for fear of muscle memory picking it all back up again.  My horses did seem to enjoy the turnout!

The real test will be how they're feeling next time they're ridden -- whether they demonstrate any of the old issues.  Well, on Panama at least -- I'm not entirely sure whether this was at the root of Rondo's behavior, although there's a fairly good chance it was.  I should find out in the next couple of days, since at the very least, both horses should be ridden tomorrow.  Fingers crossed that they'll be feeling better, and this new chiropractor will get the gold stamp of approval from both horses!

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