Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What Do Wednesday: Bodywork


Another Wednesday, another episode of me asking my followers and readers for their input. I love it!

I actually have a weekend update, but I'm saving that for later this week. If you're a stalker you may have seen the videos on youtube already or the pics on FB, but for those who aren't, here's a sneak peak...

My two fav non-humans
Why yes that is my rather insane horsebeast standing still OUTSIDE on a freezing cold (8*) day in which I decided fuck the temperature, my horse hasn't seen the sun in two weeks (literally) and it was very sunny outside, albeit cold as fuck. It was fun actually and he was mostly well behaved for a cooped up red nugget. More on that later.

What I am really here to talk about is bodywork.

Specifically equine massage, but I am also curious about chiropractic care as well.

I will FULLY admit, I have gone many years thinking chiro and massage is complete hokum and avoided both like the plague when the old ladies at my barn scheduled a visit from one of the voodoo magic wizards. Not to mention, each treatment was a solid $100+ and I simply could NOT justify spending that much money on something I was not familiar with that required repeated visits. In my mind, how good could something be if you had to do it every 2-4 weeks and costed an arm and a leg?

Totally close minded- I know, but I still was just like NO. This is dumb, no.


I knew it would be *beneficial* but to WHAT extent? Did it immediately relieve pain, but not keep it away? Would I have to keep paying hundreds of dollars on top of everything else I paid for, every month? Would there be long term benefits? I simply didn't know and was not willing to bet on it.

I know I know how dare I, what a horrible horse mom, chiro/massage is THEE BEST, I am depriving my horse(s) of the BEST care possible, they're athletes too etc etc etc

I've heard it all before. But excuse me for not having unlimited amounts of income to dump in my precious ponies, Judgey McJudgerson's.

However, after years of balking at the idea, my mind has been changed.



I give all credit to Amy, who worked her magic on my broken body with the art of massage. I LITERALLY felt relief instantly and the benefit of that session has (mostly) stayed with me for weeks. I could use a tune-up, but my massive pain is obliterated and all it took was 3 little pressure points that she found with her magic voodoo hands.


Lately, as in the last month or so, Bacardi has shown the smallest hints of NQR-ness on occasion. Its nothing to completely lose my shit over, but its concerning nonetheless.

Specifically, on the lunge line tracking left, it looks like it is physically impossible for him to bend comfortably. He canters with his hind end on the inside of the circle while his head, neck and chest lean outwards. Its...unique. 

I thought at first it was from him playing hardcore outside and maybe slipping in the pasture and having tweaked it. But then it stuck around a few more weeks. However when riding him, the inability to all of a sudden not bend left easily is evident, especially at the canter. *I* personally feel it in his hips...but who knows really where it is. It could be his hips, back, neck, shoulders, hocks, ankle...who the fuck knows with horses. 

Things I wish horses could do when injured/NQR

Again, not to saying this is like life ending shit, just feels slightly off. Of course I am worried, because he is my special, very injury prone child, who has made leaps and bounds in every department,...but also because I know when I hurt, I am a grumpy bitch.

This lead me to thinking really deeply, reevaluating a few things. My saddle is not perfect, this I know. But I have taken every step I can afford to make it right. Hopefully Baby Jesus saddle will fit him perfectly and be the big key to ultimate comfort. I also have taken steps to make sure his nutrition is on point, his feet are cared for, we stretch before and after rides, our tack fits well and I even use BOT products religiously (other hokum I used to believe was just completely worthless) This all seems to help. But when the temps are this low, I know I feel creaky and old, I am not surprised the NQR is cropping up here and there.

But maybe this is our key to success...

Thank you DJ Khaled


...Shelling out lots of money in massage and chiro.



Joking aside, I am willing to spend some money exploring this to see if my assumptions are correct. 

In the meantime, I have taken to lightly massaging his neck  after each ride, where he seems to carry most of his stress & B has responded to it in a way that only supports my line of thinking. I am no professional, but Bangor and I learned a little from Crossfit in regards to self massage and what helps assuage sore muscles and I applied that to B.

He REALLY responded positively 
Quite evident that he enjoyed whatever it was that I was doing to him (fancy fancy terms I don't know), so I did what every horsewoman does, ASKED MY FRIENDS.

I eventually was connected with an equine massage therapist, who doubles as a farrier, in our area that I would have never found without asking around! 

We had a lovely chat and she is scheduled to come out next week and work on my red pony. She is extremely affordable and takes as much time as needed to address any issues she finds, and gives you tips on what to do between sessions. At $50/session...I can deal.

So dear readers, here's where you come in....in regards to body work, what do? Do you believe in it? Do you not? Why? How often do you/your horse get it done? Feed me your secrets!

23 comments:

  1. i use chiro/acupuncture on my lease mare fairly regularly, mostly to work on her chronically sore back. she enjoys it and goes better afterward, and it helps me keep tabs on which elements of my horse care and fitness routine are working, and which need updating. that said tho, i don't worry myself sick if budget or other constraints mean we miss an appointment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that you use it to keep tabs on progress, smart!

      Delete
  2. I fully, completely support it. Take my monies, body workers. My horse and I worship you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have used a chiropractor, acupuncturist, osteopath and a massage therapist. Most of those have been for Apollo. He had some NQR-ness that the vets couldn't seem to help (did xrays, flexions etc). It turned out it was ulcers and he also had a few other issues that weren't helping (pelvis was out and one rib was out) - all diagnosed by a chiropractor/acupuncturist not a vet! If it wasn't for the help of body workers he would be retired! So I'm pretty grateful for them. Apollo is seen by a massage therapist every two months (unless we have an issue) and I try to have the chiro/acupuncturist (same lady) twice a year. He's an older dude and I do notice that this really helps him. Just my $0.02.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Had to google osteopath haha. It seems to me vets are good for external injuries and thats about it -_- I'm so happy it all worked for you! I am game to try it for now

      Delete
  4. I've never had a massage or chiro on myself, EVER. And I shell out $$$ for my horse to have it ALL THE GODDAMN TIME. It is a game changer for him. Courage has a lot of lingering physical issues from his time on the track+his conformation and we have a GREAT lady who works on him pretty regularly. I can definitely tell the difference in my riding--he starts to get cranky and stuck when it's time to get worked on again.

    Not all people work for all horses. Cuna never really needed any work at all. There are some practitioners that I wouldn't let near my horse, ever. I'd get recommendations from local friends and see what you come up with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should try it, it really worked a miracle in my injury!

      Delete
  5. As the owner of two very healthy, normally sound elderly Thoroughbreds, I am firmly in the "No bodywork for my horses" camp. I simply don't have the money to shell out for regular work for both of them, and they honest-to-god don't exhibit weird NQR shit. (If they're lame, it's because some direct injury has happened.)

    The barn where they live is ALL about the acupuncture/chiro/massage/lasers/unlocking the chakras (it's all dressage queens), so for fun, I had the chiro work on each horse once. He reported that Moe was totally fine, not out of whack anywhere, which I found difficult to believe- he was 19 and had been jumping most of his life! Gina was reportedly completely out of sorts, which made sense to me. Neither horse seemed to exhibit any changes after treatment.

    At any rate, more power to the people whose horses it legitimately helps, but for mine, it just isn't worth the money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Been in this camp a looooong while and even though I am *trying* out a massage therapist ,I won't be jumping on the bodywork everything train, that is fo' damn sho'

      Delete
  6. I'm pretty religious about keeping the scheduled bodywork up especially on the developing young horses. It's been a large part of my program and has extended my older FEI horse's career (sound and competing at 17-18 years).

    My general philosophy on it is that it needs to be done with a larger picture in mind, my program also specifically goes after the root of the problem versus the symptom as well, massage, chiro and acupuncture help with this. Alongside good equipment, farrier work, and riding.

    It's also saved me from having to inject until much later in their careers on and also avoid using medications.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hopeful that it will be worth it! Thanks for the comment! :)

      Delete
  7. I had my ottb done a few times and I can't attest to long term results because I ended up retiring him due to ringbone, but I can say I did learn a lot about my horse from a chiro. She pointed out that his hind end muscles were crooked and driven up because the tip of his hind end bone on the side of his tail on the right side was cracked off (I guess human equivalent would be our seat bones). Likely due to being shoved in a starting gate or when he was shoved in a van to get taken off the track his last race.

    Had I known he was dealing with that crookedness behind I would have definitely trained him differently in the beginning! So, maybe save for a visit or two and see what you find out. But yes, that is a lot of money just to experiment with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is what I'm looking for for sure! I want to see if theres anything internal miss magic hands can help me with in the long run!

      Delete
  8. I used to believe chiropractic work on horses and humans was total hokum. Then my chiropractor fixed my (then) lease horse's utter inability to canter right with one session. No, it wasn't the slow work over time that fixed this, he couldn't canter right on Wednesday and then he could after her session on Thursday. Boom.

    That being said, I think that equine chiropraactic work is incredibly underregulated and all kinds of hinky shit goes on, therefore I would only trust certain people to work on my horse. People that are slamming horses up against walls to adjust parts of their body? No thanks. Chiropractors that insist you just have to keep adjusting them every 2-4-6 weeks with no expectation that correct work and muscle retraining will eventually reduce those adjustment frequencies? Definitely not. My chiropractor is an equine veterinarian and GP dressage rider and trainer, and I drink the koolaid. But I don't drink just anyone's koolaid.

    Massage I am more liberal about. I certainly feel better after a massage, and I think it's harder to fuck up or do super weird shit with massage than it is with chiropractic. Sore muscles are sore muscles, and pressure and release on those muscles helps work soreness out. I would be more open to a stranger doing massage on my horse. But I'm also a (cheap) freak so I want to be present for the massage and learn what I can do to alleviate horsey's aches and pains in between appointments, which will be rare.

    I draw the line at acupuncture. Not enough evidence yet, for me. And let's not even talk about chakras or chinese herbs! Not. Happening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chiro is regulated and only DVMs are allowed to gain a license for adjusting. While there are non licensed people practing, it's few and far in between. Individual styles, however vary greatly.

      Delete
    2. Hmm. I've been at multiple barns (in California) which have used chiropractors, and I believe only one I've ever seen was actually a DVM. Many of these were highly well-respected chiropractors, but the vast majority were certainly not DVMs.

      Delete
    3. Chiming in here, in MO the chiro that came out to our barn (that cost an arm and a leg) I know for a fact was not a DVM, so theres that

      Delete
    4. Nicole, I actually experienced positive things with acupuncture in my injured shoulder. Also a technique called dry needling, similar but not the same. I don't see some magical benefit so I wouldn't pay for it for my horse, but in combination with PT, massage and acupuncture (during PT) my shoulder is healing quickly

      Delete
  9. First, I'd like to say that I really enjoy reading your blog! Also, I've never actually posted on a blog before and only doing so because I experienced the exact same thing with my horse. I thought she had tweaked something out in the paddock because she was ever so slightly NQR, she was doing the same thing at the canter and I also thought the problem was in the hips. Had the Osteopathe out to put her back in place which did wonders. Horse was seen regularly by Osteopathe until one day she said wouldn't be able come out for a few months. Asked my vet if he knew anyone and he said that although the Osteopathe might help unblock her, the underlying issue wasn't getting resolved just Like that. I told him she was "out" from the hips and he went on to tell me that when people think their horse is out in the hip area he always looks at the hocks first because that's usually where the problem is. Low and behold he takes some X-rays and she has a bone chip in her hock. It might not be the same for you but thought I'd put it out there just because the situation sounds eerily the same.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't at all have the money at the moment for regular bodywork (for me or the horse...but the horse comes first!) but I wish I did! Mostly just for peice of mind. I've had a chiro out for my pony twice: the first time was a lady who was certified in both horse and human massage and reiki and I used her cause our regular vet who is also a chiro was away. I can't remember how I decided that it was chiro that she needed (or who told me) but at the time Maggie was having some NQRness/lameness in her hind end. This lady spent like 20 minutes on her total, first with the loud clicky thing (I have literally no idea what it's called. They click it at different pint son the body and it makes a loud noise and like presses a pressure point?) and then just holding her hands over different parts of Maggie's body. She spent the longest with her hands over Maggie's right hip and stifle until Maggie let out a huge sigh. After that - NQRness/lameness totally gone. I still don't really know what to think cause I've never really been about all the energy stuff, but I can't argue with the results. Freaking weird.

    The second time was with the regular vet who is also a chiro. I wanted him out at the beginning of last season just kind of to make sure she was good and starting off clean - he didn't find anything ot of whack so it wasn't nearly as an exciting of a visit, but still good peice of mind!

    ReplyDelete
  11. When I bought Ries, his previous owner said he needed routine chiropractor. I did it once and didn't notice a difference. Basically for four years I was like NOPE. Moving up to Idaho things changed. There was a woman who ALWAYS was at our barn doing massages and a fellow boarder told me how much he needed it. It was only $45 so I said sure and ever since then I haven't looked back. This made a HUGE difference in Ries. I think different horses require different massage therapists(that have different techniques). But anytime Ries is NQR she almost always is able to fix it. He is much more pleasant and improves faster.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've never used any of them for me or the horses. I'm actually considering seeing a chiro for myself because I have some bad crookedness and pain going on (I apparently cross my legs way too much!). I haven't tried it yet though. I would love to try a chiro or massage therapist for Chrome because I know his stifles probably cause all kinds of soreness or compensation, but I can't find anyone! I've only been able to find one person that I would have to haul an hour to, is extremely expensive and I can't find anyone who has used him or reviews or anything. Also he's actually mainly a human chiro.... so I have no idea how much he actually knows about horses. :\ So I'm looking forward to seeing if it helps B. Maybe someday I'll be able to find someone to try on Chrome. :)

    ReplyDelete

There was an error in this gadget