Hopefully for good!
Thank you to Cindy for checking in on me, it reminded me that I probably need to get back to blogging!!
Basically, Pony has been off for 3 and a half months. I got tired of constantly posting that nothing had changed....I have basically been playing the waiting game.
Here's a recap for anyone that hasn't paid attention or doesn't remember (and I probably didn't do a very good job being clear with what was going on either!)
May - I noticed Pony's left lead was getting kinda 'off'. It was rougher and more erratic, not very easy to ride. This happened slowly over time so I didn't notice it at first, but I figured that chiropractic was possibly going to be needed in the future, but it wasn't a pressing matter since she was fine!
June - I went on vacation for 2 weeks....my trainer took her on a easy short trail ride but other than that she stood around (she's on a mini pasture...like a half an acre with three other horses). When I came back from vacation, I rode her bareback the first day back and she was great! Super calm, we played with the ball with a few other horses, we stuck to mostly walking though. I took her walking around the ranch and she started pissing me off, lots of trying to trot, not wanting to stand, just generally being annoying. The next day I rode her western...the fun started when I mounted and she flew sideways. After that, she gave me a crazy trot, her lope was a completely erratic gallop. I put her in the round pen and I found out she couldn't pick up her left lead at all. She physically could not get her hip underneath her, she would throw her hips to the middle of the round pen and balk. She came up SUPER back sore. Clearly, since she hadn't been ridden, it wasn't a saddle fit or rider error. I began rehabbing with massage therapy, lunging, carrot stretches, linament gel etc. I tried to ride every few days and I got more and more frustrated with her because she was crazed.....her version of telling me something is painful is getting faster and bracey. So difficult and frustrating to deal with.
July - I had the chiropractor come out. She popped Pony back into place...most notably her left hip was out and her vertebrae right where a person sits were rotated left. Also her neck was slightly wonky. I gave pony a few days off then started riding again. She was an absolute dream, I was amazed at the night and day difference that it made! She felt so good, light and springy, slower than her normal crazed self, and so responsive. It was awesome! After about two or three weeks, we took the horses to go swimming. She was doing lots of crazy trotting in like chest high water (cause she's a spaz) and it turns out thats the part thats hardest on their back...chest high water. So the next day she was sore....and then the day after that. And it didn't get any better. She was back sore, butt sore, tight EVERYWHERE. So I gave her a week off and had the chiropractor come out again. She was out in most of the same places, notably that left hip and vertebrae. I gave her a few days off and started to ride her again, and she was bracey, head like a giraffe, crazy eyes, trotting every few steps and absolutely crazed. I gave her a few more days off, and it didn't get better. I gave her a week of massage and lunging her in a nice long trot, nothing helped. She slowly was able to pick up that left lead again, but she just got crazy when I was on her. Some days she seemed really good when I lunged her, other days she would rip the lunge line out of my hand and be bucking around the arena.
August - All of august I would come out and hand walk her, grain her (I thought she had a selenium deficiency as well, I got her cured of that though, she looks really good and isn't eating dirt anymore!) and try to ride her every once in a while. Sometimes I'd hop on bareback (we could lope in the round pen bareback and brideless, but she acted so funny, she would reach back with her head and ears pinned. At first I thought it was a learned response, I couldn't tell if she was actually in pain or just thought she was in pain. Everytime I rode I would leave feeling so frustrated and upset. Other people offered me horses to ride, but thats not the same!! I rode her once and had the absolute last straw. she was fine walk trot, then I let her lope to the right. I sat back, dropped the reins. She gave me a working canter for about four laps around the arena then stopped and looked at me. I turned her around to the left, and let her lope. It was a PRCA completely crazed gallop around the arena that wasn't going to stop anytime soon. Clearly, this isn't something I was imagining! (There was never any visual lameness, everyone said she looked fine)
September - Finally, I had the chiropractor come out again (visit number 3). After having had about a month off, the chiro was able to very clearly see where she was out, unlike the second visit where she was so tense everywhere she looked off everywhere. So that was good. She was of course out in that hip again, as well as the vertebrae. Her poll was also stuck in flexion. (Chiro said carrot stretches forward and up are really good for horses if any of you do carrot stretches...if you can get their chest against a fence and have them stretch their necks out and up!) Chiro recommended two days off, ride her walk trot today and tomorrow, and add some lope in on saturday!
I decided to do two consecutive weeks of five days of bute as well. Adjustments are difficult because their bodies get used to their muscles working one way, and then the muscles continue to work that way and pull the adjustments straight back out. My theory is that she strained something in her back when we went swimming, and then she was so sore and tight that the adjustments were pulled right back out almost immediately. My goal this time was to let her body accept the adjustment. I am keeping her buted through tomorrow, see how she feels on monday and decide if she needs to be buted next week as well.
I rode her today, and the difference was amazing. (Don't forget, she was buted though) I could feel that she was thoroughly relaxed....it's amazing the difference between her 'relaxed' before the adjustment and after. Before, she would walk trot fine for the most part, it was once you added the lope that she became a fire breathing giraffe.... but I can now see that her relaxed walk trot was much more subtly tense than she was today. She was loose everywhere! She trotted nicely, I kept up an even posting along the rail and she did such a good working trot. Not fast or crazy, just slightly extended. I could feel her swinging through her hips so much more! I'll see how tomorrow goes (walk trot again) and hopefully she doesn't turn into a crazed horse come saturday when I can add lope..... fingers crossed! Wish me and Pony luck!
Basically, I have been so frustrated because it's hard to know if I was even on the right track with it being a chiropractic problem at all! There are so many different things that back soreness and 'I feel an offness' could be! I got so frustrated not knowing what was right to be doing with her (work her through it? stay off of her? chiro? could it be her hocks? stifles? nothings wrong and its just my riding? I anticipate and get tense and then she does!) and it was frustrating to come home from the barn frustrated and then rehash the shitty day!
Which is why I haven't been posting! I have been keeping up with reading your guys's blogs though (until like two weeks ago at least....school started and I started a new job!)
I'm not sure if I've posted this one yet, but I love it! Pony isn't quite sure what to do with me....thats why we get along so well, I'm the only 'person' she's ever had that's crazier than her!
P.s. this off time has helped our relationship! She NEVER runs away when I go to get her anymore, she even nickers when she see's my car pull up sometimes. She will sometimes walk to the gate, and sometimes walk towards me when I have her halter. I put her in the arena to play the other day, and she walked away from me, turned around, and walked right back over to me! She has never done that! She will usually walk towards me as long as I am walking towards her, but she JUST started to come up to me when called or invited. Crazy how it's taken a year to get here!