Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Barometer

I'm happy to report that the pony chiropractor came out on Monday even though it was really really cold. She checked Kaswyn all over and adjusted him, asking at one point about the spot in the middle of his back. She explained that he was reactive and hurting at the place where the thoracic vertebrae end and the lumbar vertebrae meet, but that this wasn't because anything was wrong in that area. Instead, she said that his pelvis was twisted a little bit and that was putting pressure on the middle of his back. Once she adjusted his pelvis, the pain in his back went away. So wonderful.

Otherwise she didn't see anything really out of alignment on him, and that he looked good. She watched him trot and walk on the lunge line after she adjusted him, and said that I could call her in a few months. I decided not to ride him that day but would wait until Tuesday.

However, I was called into a surprise meeting Tuesday evening, so I didn't have a lot of time at the barn. I was able to ride Albert for 15 minutes, and then I got on Kaswyn in a bridle but bareback for ten minutes. He felt really very good. He had plenty of energy, willingly trotted and cantered, and wasn't even warm or breathing hard when I was done.

I'm not saying I had a great ride though, because the footing is currently awful. The arena hasn't been watered or dragged in over two months, and has been extensively used as a turnout due to the freezing weather. Nobody else does any (and I mean ANY) work on the arena, so it falls on me to clean the manure out of the arena. There is a lot of manure in there too, since two or three horses will get turned out in there all day because some of the pastures are not accessible due to ice. And in this weather, the poop freezes and it's not safe to ride through. I didn't have time to clean the poop before the ride, so I had to ride around the frozen piles.

There are other frozen hazards too. Someone decided to dump three buckets in the arena a week ago, and of course now those puddles are frozen ice slicks. Plus the sawdust truck dragged snow into the arena when we got a delivery, and this snow has frozen into strips of ice by the door. The turned out horses have been rolling and digging in the footing, so it's very uneven and deep in spots. I would at least drag the arena but the door is completely snowed in and will not get plowed, and there is no way I can shovel that much snow and ice without hurting myself.

So I had to ride around frozen bucket water, ice strips, and poopcicle piles. There is a little ray of sunshine to this tale of woe, however. Kaswyn's left lead canter felt pretty good despite the footing and limited usable riding area. Once again, my horse was trying to tell me something weeks ago when the left lead canter started to suck. He wasn't saying "I'm lame.", but was saying "I'm hungry and I don't have the energy to move my rear end." Every time this happens I say that the left lead canter is my barometer for how my horse is feeling, and then when the left lead canter starts to suck I always think that he's fine, that he's just being lazy or something else.

Next time I'm going to try very hard not to blow my horse off. When the left lead canter starts to feel bad, I will know something is wrong and I'm going to try and figure it out sooner. I feel guilty for not doing anything about it this time, and I don't want that to happen again. I should know better by now.

Oh, and I used the weight tape again on Kaswyn yesterday. Last week he was 988. Yesterday he was 1018. He's put on 20 pounds in a week thanks to those alfalfa cubes. I can't tell by looking at him, but I can tell by his actions and energy level that he's feeling better. I talked with Marge and she is going to switch grain back to a sweet feed. Half of the horses int he barn are losing weight and not looking good, so she's dropping the diet balancer grain. I really like the idea of low starch and low sugar, but it's just not working for Kaswyn and half of the other horses in the barn. The only horses who look good right now are all small arabs who could probably do fine without any grain at all. We're also going to give Kaswyn Equine Senior. He's never been on it but many people swear it's fantastic for putting weight on horses.

So, to sum up - it's cold, the arena sucks (and I'm sick of dealing with it), Kaswyn's back is fine and is feeling better, and we're changing his grain in hopes to beef him up before the show in March. And I'm not going to ignore my little chestnut barometer again.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear things went well with the chiro. She's good. I was just about to drop you a line and ask. I will get her out to do Hen at some point when I can wrangle the extra money. Hopefully in the spring.

When are we going to do fish? I'm dying to try that place you talked about.
-Z

A Bay Horse said...

Bummer about your arena. Would you consider the chiro worth it? Sounds like you did. I was thinking of trying one with my boy. Any advice on what to look for, what to expect?

Katee said...

That stinks that the footing is so bad. I can't imagine why they aren't picking up piles if horses are turned out. Also, why would any one dump a water bucket in there during the winter? Goofiness! Glad Kaswyn is feeling and looking better.

dressagemom said...

A Bay Horse,

Yes I think the chiro was worth it. This particular chiro was recommended to me, but my original search turned up equine chiros that were either people docs or DVM's. I think I would suggest a DVM over a people doc, but in either case I think they should either be certified or have gotten training for horse or animal chiro. The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association has a searchable database at http://www.avcadoctors.com/. The chiro I used had successfully graduated from the Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy Program. A list of other docs from that program can be found here - http://www.healingoasis.edu/html/successful_graduates-vsmt.html.

Katee,

Arena poop piles are not cleaned because I'm the only one who uses the arena for riding. I imagine that at some point someone would go in there and scoop the poop, but I won't ride in there with frozen poop piles so I have to clean before each ride. Bummer.

 
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