Sunday, October 10, 2010

Return of the Chiropractor

Well, I was going to play some Twilight Princess for awhile on this rainy Sunday morning before settling into my pile of schoolwork for the day, but my Wii remotes are being finicky. So I figured I would write a blog post instead. Lucky you!

I'm about to start Week 3 of classes. So far everything has been on the edge of manageable - I'm not quite ahead, but I'm not quite behind either. Bit of an uncomfortable place to be at in the first few weeks, since it invariably gets worse (Week 4 is when everyone usually starts to get nervous, and by Week 6 the majority of people I talk to in a day declare that they are having the worst week ever). So I'm spending quite a bit of time on my reading and homework and notes and such. Good thing I have no social life!

Gene, the chiropractor, finally came out to work on McKinna yesterday and I am sure glad he did! She had four major issues going on, all directly related to things we have noticed lately: first, a torque back near where the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae meet, complimented by a pelvic rotation. That's where our mysterious loss of "it" was coming from out on the XC course. Her hind end was just way out behind her, and there was no way for her to get up under herself. He said the tweak in the back is pretty common among horses being asked to come up to the next level of collection and lateral work, since there's quite a bit of flexing in that area. Hmm...lately we've been working on more 1st level stuff....

She also had some tight muscles in her hind end from dealing with the skeletal kinks.

Then, she had quite a bit going on in her ribcage, which was the main cause of all her wither grumpiness lately. He worked quite a bit on her withers and ribs from both sides, doing things to have her really stretch out the muscles on each side and something with the ribs to get her to release. She was NOT pleased about the rib adjustment and gave him a really nasty look, which I had to laugh at. She's very guarded about the chiro work, but she's very expressive in her face. It's clear when she hasn't quite released whatever he's working on, because she has this very unimpressed rude look on her face. When it does finally let go, she licks and chews and turns her head towards him. If he's in the middle of an adjustment she doesn't like, she'll turn her head around to him and poke him lightly with her nose. Funny horse.

The last major issue, the biggest one, was in the middle of her neck on the left side. He said he actually had to use manual manipulation on that one, which he only has to use maybe twelve times a year. Usually he uses stretches and holds to get the horse into a position, relaxing the muscles until he releases and when they recoil they make the adjustment themselves. On this one he had to actually do the release himself. Gene said that pretty much the only time he has to do manual manipulation is if he's working on a horse after a severe crash, or if it's a really really old problem. He said this in McKinna's neck felt like an old thing, something she's probably had as long as we've had her.

That, he said, is a big part of why I can never get her to soften and bend as well to the left in her jaw and neck - she wants to tilt her head instead of just turning her face and neck.

She had some small other stuff in her atlas/axis area and lower neck, but those were the major four. It must be because we've begun stepping up the level of work so much, because normally it's just a few pretty minor adjustments and she's on her way. By the end of the session, McKinna was a pretty happy, relaxed girl. Gene actually got a few big yawns and eye-rolls out of her after one adjustment on her neck.

He even said to give her three or four pretty light days, which I've never had him suggest before. He said she needs time to get that hind end all sorted out before we start asking her to collect again with the dressage work or jumping. I asked if a gallop in a few days would help, thinking that it's sort of the exact opposite of collection, and he said that would be ideal. So we're going to go for a little gallop on Tuesday or Wednesday :) Doctor's orders!

So I am glad we finally managed to coordinate our schedules for the appointment. It sure appears that McKinna needed it. We'll give her the prescribed easy few days, go for a gallop on Wednesday, and then ride in a Pony Club jumping lesson on Friday. I'm curious to see what differences I notice when we take work up again.

Alright, that's all for now. I need to go spend some good quality time with physics, ecology, evolution, and creative writing...

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