(Continued from Part I: If Only I Knew)
Off from college brimming with new knowledge and insight, ready to tackle the horse world and show my stuff, I landed myself at a job where the view on horse care was below even where I had first starte, and the opposite of where I am now. And for survival reasons, I fell into it. Vet? Vets are expensive – if the horse is lame, they get time off and whatever meager treatment my Equine health classes could offer. Saddle fit? For the rider, maybe – the horses could just suck it up. Lessons ran in 100 degree heat under the sun, or in subzero temperatures. It didn’t matter if myself or the horses were healthy or happy. We were to do our jobs, or we were out, and that was that.
Cue an emergency schooling session on a very stiff, bouncy horse in a saddle sized for a 6 year old. Suddenly, I couldn’t seem to sit up straight. My back was on fire, and I was stuck hunched over calling out instruction, and the thought of sitting on a horse made me cringe. Well that wouldn’t do. Off to the chiropractor I took myself.
I’ll hand it to the man I saw – he was well-informed, and good at explaining. After diagnosing me with a damaged/swollen disk, I was told at the moment I was too damaged to be adjusted. He explained that my body’s neurological system was like an complicated design of circuitry that needed to be re-directed. “Hitting the re-set button and putting me back on factory setting” was the phrase that stuck out the most. So week after week, I went in. We talked about my diet (sea salt, natural vitamins, fresh vegetables and fruits). I experienced what I now know as Trigger Point therapy firsthand. We discussed acupuncture, but my insurance balked at the concept.
I felt better – but after getting a gigantic bill for all the “hooey” my insurance refused to cover, since I was upright and walking I high tailed it out and never thought about it again. I was “re-set”, but surely this sort of thing was a one-time shot, and not necessary for my horses. I knew enough to keep them safe and happy, and what I didn’t know a vet could fill in.
But I was getting frustrated – my personal "fun" horse, Hootie, was starting a mystery lameness. One day it was front, the next day hind. I had a vet check him out, only to watch the man tear apart the 6 week old showing job my wonderful farrier had done, and tell her to do: exactly what it was she already did with his finicky feet. I was more even frustrated that the job I thought I could keep for years was driving me to the poor house, and worse: not leaving me with the money to take care of my own two 4-legged-hayburners.
I took my current job at Whimsy Brook excited to work somewhere where well-maintained horses were the call of the day. Within a few weeks I found myself with a stomach flu – on the job, no less. After trying to tough it out and finding myself unable to even make it to the bathroom in time to empty my stomach, I threw in the towel and admitted I had a the green bug, and it had won. Here began my introduction to homeopathic remedies. I was given a remedy and sent home to ride it out. “It might get worse before it gets better,” I was warned – not 2 minutes later I found myself on the side of the road, heaving next to my car as a police officer happened by and asked if I was all right. “It’s been going around – [insert random acquaintance here] had it and was out for days.” Well that’s just wonderful, I thought. Not only am I sick and leaving early on a job I haven’t even had for a month, and I’m going to be using up even MORE sick days I haven’t even accrued yet! I dragged myself home, stuck my head in the toilet once more, and spent the rest of the day in a not-coherent state in bed. I was utterly doomed, I thought.
The next morning, I woke tentatively. I had no urge to fly to the bathroom. In fact, aside from the usual weakened state that follows any extreme taxation on the body that repeated violent heaving falls into, I found myself literally twitching with energy. Had my new employer slipped an amphetamine into those glorious little white pellets she had thrown in my mouth? Who cared – I was back in the game, and back at work. Even my boss was shocked to see me on my feet. The day after I was back in the saddle and up to full work. Wonderful stuff!
So maybe this place was onto something. Maybe all the chats I had (and then discarded) with my homeopathic chiropractor COULD be applied in small amounts to my horses. If it worked for me, surely it might work on them.
To be continued