(Continued from Part III: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Insight)
Starting fresh in spring once again, I discovered while stronger and trail-sound, my horse was still arced to the right, and I found my own weak right sacro-ileac muscles exhausted from trying to keep the two of us in a straight line. Given the force that his right side hit the door and the following struggle, I decided Hootie had earned a little luxury, and found myself a good chiropractor who also did accupuncture. She had already seen a few horses at work, and I was curious to see what would be uncovered.
As it turned out, the (not-so)old man was not done showing me just what a brave soldier he was: In addition to the damage wrought by his violent battle with a doorframe 8 months earlier, Dr. Ganser uncovered ribs out of place, and wither issues likely dating back to his racing years. So she poked and pushed and stuck her needles in, and he stood happy as a clam trusting us to continue to make him feel better.
The first visit left me floored at his now considered amazingly wonderful behavior under saddle for the previous 4 years. While his owner in the 7 years between his track life and me was petite and by means a burden to carry, how in the heck had this horse hauled me around for years without pitching me into the rafters? By rights, he should have been. I can thank my lucky stars that his drive to put 100% into his job kept me in the saddle, and sped his rehab.
We took a clinic with Carol Popp to get some homework on flatwork to help him improve, and his second visit to both Dr. Ganser and then Carol got the same response : “I cannot BELIEVE this is the same horse – look how FAR he’s come along!”. And he was truly not the same horse from the previous summer, and closer to being back to his old self – with a newer, happier spine and ribcage to boot!
But try and try, he just wasn’t quite straightened out. I was still working just a bit too hard to keep that pesky right haunch underneath us. By now I was fully convinced that alternative medicine had a lot to offer, and I dove deeper. Trigger Point Therapy – I remembered having that done to me. It had worked pretty darn well. Hadn’t that wacky chiropractor I saw so long ago said that one could repair the skeletal system, but the body would still see itself as broken until those currents were re-aligned? Maybe my horse needed his re-set buttons hit.
So the next time the Trigger Point Therapist came by Whimsy Brook, I just happened to have moved Hootie there, and put him on the list of patients for the day. More poking and prodding and a very, very content Hootie through all of it. Perhaps its because of his racing days, or that as all thoroughbreds he is prone to every sort of random injury imaginable, but my horse to this day remains a wonderful, trusting patient. I was excited to get on and see the results – and found for the first time, he was straight, and I was just along for the ride. Success!
Hootie is still on the patient list, as true to his character he is always into something. I’m still on flatwork and cavaletti, and it remains to be seen if his feet will ever intentionally leave the ground all at once while I’m on him. But he is in good weight, content with learning dressage, and back to bounding around his paddock like a 2 year old. So we’ll see where this road takes him – I’m happy if I just bought more years down the trails in comparison to the horse I had 2 years ago.
So there you have it – my personal dive into the world of alternative and eastern philosophies regarding equine medicine. Next will be on to some of the other farm cases, and far better explanations to the methods behind the madness than brought up at the moment. But hey, everyone has to get their feet wet somehow!