I had my favorite bodyworker (chiro/massage/accupuncture/reiki/other neat things) out on Sunday to check the whole herd. Mostly I wanted her to check Apollo but since my current barn is outside of her current driving radius I decided to lure her with three appointments. As for her findings and recommendations for Apollo....I am still kind of in disbelief/shock!
I’ll just do a quick breakdown of her notes on each horse:
He got to go first because he was standing at the gate. His pelvis was out/rotated a little bit. She was able to correct this but would like to re-check him in 3 weeks. She also gave me follow up stretches to do with him. I couldn’t figure out how he did that to himself but then I remembered that he had quite a bad fall on the ice last winter, so that may or may not be the culprit. He was better than I expected for the appointment (he has had ants in his pants for the last month for some reason). I need to teach him to trot in hand...he was SO not into that. For his first time seeing a bodyworker I was pretty proud of his manners.
Mystic saw this bodyworker back in October. She had a few things out (I can’t remember what exactly) and I had some follow-up stretches to do with her. I did the follow-up stretches initially but I kind of let Apollo’s soundness issues take over my life and eventually quit doing Mystic’s stretches. I also had a follow-up appointment for Mystic & Apollo in November that was cancelled due to dangerous road conditions. Well the wonderful news about Mystic is that she was perfectly in alignment and needed no adjustments! Which was pretty awesome considering I kind of crapped out on doing her stretches. The bodyworker did recommend lengthening stretches for her neck (which is definitely in the “short neck” category). The type of neck she has is prone to overmuscling and muscle bunching.
I was apprehensive about Apollo’s appointment. I was hoping to get to the bottom of his soundness issues once and for all. I was pretty afraid she was going to find something seriously wrong.
After the bodyworker treated him in October he had the most lovely canter in all our 7 years together. And then two weeks later he was an absolute mess (I saw him fall pretty hard after trying to get up after a roll...my theory was that he pulled something). The vet exam and subsequent fetlock injections provided more questions than answers.
I told her that he just hasn’t been himself lately and expressed to her my worries lately about if I should be riding him. I mentioned our saddle fit issues and how difficult it is to treat a mystery lameness. She went about her initial exam and this is what she found....
Almost nothing. She did some very minor adjustments but didn’t find anything major. She will recheck him when he checks on Henry but she said he doesn’t really need a recheck (but since she will be at the property anyway). The only thing that she suggested is that I treat him for ulcers. She found some minor stress points for ulcers and suggested this might be part of his recent sluggishness/dullness. That was quite a surprise but is certainly an easy fix. He was previously getting hay twice a day at the other barn, now he's on a rolled out round bale so he can eat 24/7...which is exactly what he’s been doing since he’s been home. She noted that he seemed much happier at his current barn.
Here’s the part that shocked me, I’ll try to quote her verbatim for this part of the recommendations:
“The most important thing right now is fitness. You need to ride him. He needs to build strong muscles again. I know it’s been hard to know what to do with his soundness issues but his body feels fine, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be riding him and working on improving his fitness/strength. Even if he has a bad day here and there I would encourage you to ride through it, within reason. “
Well. That is not what I was expecting.
So I guess my next step is developing/executing a fitness plan for my big boy. He had 48 hours off after his appointment but now we are good to go! I bought him some GastroFX and he’s just started on that. I'll give that a try and if he still shows ulcer signs at the recheck on March 1st I'll bite the bullet and get omeprazole. But I'm pretty much bounicing off the walls with excitement that my instructions are to ride him!