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Wednesday, January 13, 2010


The lesson went well this afternoon.  We worked through half halts - bilateral and inside leg to outside rein - mostly at the walk, then transfering those lessons to the trot.  Not a spactacular lesson to watch, but very demanding for horse and rider. 
My trainer and I joked and laughed about my experience at the reining clinic on Saturday - especially my observation that western riders train their 2 and 3 year olds with a bunch of crap attached to them, and then take it off as the horse gets more broke, while English riders start with nothing but a simple bridle, but as the horse matures we put lots of crap on them.....
And then....diaster....actually, I haven't decided whether it's a disaster yet.  Going to the left at a trot, Farley took so funny steps with her hind - avoidance - and didn't want to come under herself and through her back.  Eventually I would get her underneath her self and the funny strides would go away.  The trainer pointed out that she thought her stifle was a bit sore.  Oh NO! 
This is my current knowledge about stifle injuries:  They are career ending for an endurance horse. 
After some discussion I managed to calm my heart rate enough to hear what she was telling me:  that it didn't look like an injury, just soreness.  Her reccomendation was a bit a bute for a couple days to help with inflamation, and asked if I had gotten her "adjusted" (chiropractor...) recently.  My trainer is all about sound horses and taking the time to do things correctly, so I trust her opinion.  Her feeling is that Farley is just experiencing the normal bumps in the road for muscle soreness that you get when you are completely retraining the horse how to move. That is my feeling as well - that this isn't serious and perhaps has to do with the reining clinic on Saturday - and with a little time of easy work and rest it should  go away.  I'm giving it 3 days of bute and 1 week....and if it isn't better we are seeing the vet!  But I think she'll be just fine.  In the roundpen yesterday she wasn't lame or moving funny, it's something subtle I can feel under saddle. 
Back to the trainer's "adjustment" comment:  I have seen signs in the barn announcing when the chiropractor will be in, so I know that her barn does use one.   I've always thought it was a bunch of hogwash, but I read blogs and opinions of people that swear by regular chiropractic visits for their horses.  I used to go to a chiropractor as a teenager and I'm still not totally convinced whether it helped or I just grew out of my problems (or more tolerant to the pain!).  My trainer is not pushing me to do chiropractic work, but now I'm intrigued.  Anyone have advice?  Or is time off and rest for the horse just as effective?
Comment Follow up from previous posts:
Funder - Yep, based on your suggestion I'm considering a mobile device.  I like the idea of an iphone (I'm a Mac person), so now I just need to find out if my company's IT department can set it up to recieve company e-mails.  My current phone is a company phone and there is a program will they will pay the "work" portion of a personal phone, so it might work out well - they pay for calls, texts, and e-mails, and pay for the remainder of the services.
Heather -

Check out my blog - Boots and Saddles!


  1. I've had one productive chiro visit and one "they're fine" visit. It's way too long to type up in a comment, but I'll email you if you want the whole story. The horse I had adjusted loved the experience, and I think she was more relaxed/comfortable afterwards. I'd do it again.

    I had all of my horses checked the next time a chiro was in town, and he said they were all fine and didn't adjust them or charge me.

    If you can afford it, I'd recommend you get Farley adjusted. If it doesn't noticeably help her, your bank account is smaller. If it helps her, YAY!

  2. On the chiropractic for horses, I thought I would comment. I have used Chiropractic services on my horses for a number of years. I have had situations where I saw no change and I have had situations where I saw a huge improvement. We had a horse that was lame and the vets could not make a diagnosis, even after various tests, several rounds of anti inflammatories, xrays, and the whole gamut. The vets final diagnosis was give the horse 6 months and see how he is (because they couldn't figure anything else out). We sought the help of a "qualified" chiropractor. She came out and by the end of the session, the horse was 60% more sound. She came out for two more sessions, and by the end of the third session, the horse was 100% and being used again. The chiropractor worked on the shoulder mostly as that is where the injury seemed to be located. So, my opinion is that it can't hurt, especially if nothing else is working. I find that the horses really do respond well overall but it is important to find a qualified person. And why wouldn't a horse like a little massage?? I know it feels good to me!!

  3. Mel-

    Your trainer probably knows her stuff, but after working with board certified equine surgeons for a while that specialize in orthopedic surgery I've learned it is IMPOSSIBLE to say a lameness can be localized to one part of the leg over the other. That's why people invest so much in nerve blocks, MRI's and X-Rays for their ponies' legs. If I were you, I wouldn't focus on the stifle at all and instead give her a couple weeks off with a few days of bute and then reassess. If it's still around, it's time to get thee to a veterinarian in order to pinpoint the exact cause. It may be a stifle but it may not.


  4. I love all that good stuff. When Gen was in show mode he would get his Chiro twice a year, a message once a month and yearly acupuncture. Chiro was the most expensive of those services and by me it is anywhere from $125-$250 for anyone that is any good. I think that it might be worth a try for Farley. Having never been adjusted myself I don't know if any discomfort is involved, but I do know that all 3 of my horses that I have gotten it for have loved it, and the old paint would not have been sound without it. A good Chiro can tell you exactly what is out of place and how that impacts movement. They can also tell you what to do to help it so that it will not happen again as frequently. What have you got to loose besides money? I can't imagine it will hurt Farley in anyway. All it can do is maybe help you. And if don't have to use it ever again.

  5. I love my chiro (who is also a long time endurance rider) but I don't use her on a regular basis. Only when we are having problems.

    She helped me a lot with Kezi and discovered that Kezi had an old injury on her neck that was sore.

    I think when used along with a good vet, chiros are great! Just as long as both the vet and the chiro are open to each other and know when the other one needs to be the one to see the horse. My chiro was a vet for a long time so I trust what she says when she refers me to a vet.

    If you do try one, ask around to make sure you get one that comes highly recomended, not just the one your dressage barn uses.

    Good luck!

  6. I would suggest only using a chiro that IS a vet. My husband is an equine veterinarian and also an equine chiro. He goes to chiro appointments on a regular basis that end up to be laminitis, colic, abscess, neuro issues, etc.

    I also have to second Elly's comment... you cannot diagnose a lameness by watching the horse go, despite what some people insist on. If you could, there would be no need for blocks, rads, and other imaging that is so widely used. ~ Amanda


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