(side note, how awesome has the Olympics been this time around? XC was crazy! I was so excited for Michael Jung and Sam though, and Phillip for nabbing the bronze! Dressage has been so exciting too!)
Penn hadn't seen the chiropractor in 7 weeks, and it kind of showed. He had a lot more tension than usual. The vet immediately asked what we've been doing because he was out everywhere. The right hip was down, left was up. The sternum area was twisted- towards the front of the chest was twisted right, the area under the girth was twisted left. Hopefully this clears up some of Penn's girth issues. Neck was stiff too, but the poll was good.
Penn really enjoyed having his poll worked on- he just kind of got a sleepy eye and droopy bottom lip. I wish I would have thought to get a pic of it!
The more important thing: the vet gave me a couple exercises to help him out between visits.
These came with a disclaimer to not do them more the a couple times a week, and for no longer than 20-30 seconds... which is kind of longer than I'd have him hold it, but I'm glad I have a time reference. Basically, you tickle both sides of the haunches on the X I've marked in the below picture. This makes the horse tuck his hindquarters, lift his back, and work the abs (like when you surprise them with cold water on their bum). This is good for horses who seem to have trouble in the SI area (like Penn). It builds the muscle gently, but if done too often will make the horse sore. So less is more approach here. Also, if you try this, be careful, tickling that spot on the haunches might surprise the horse and make him kick at you or run forward. On sensitive horses like Penn, fingers are enough to get the desired response, but less sensitive horses may need something pokey like a hoof pick.
|I've tried numerous times and I can't seem to tickle him like the vet did. I'll have to have her show me again, then watch me do it and correct me! I scratched him all over his bum, all he did was look confused, lol!|
Same idea as the crunches, but single hand and right under where the girth goes.
Modified Carrot Stretches:
The vet/chiropractor does not like regular carrot stretches. She finds that the horses get anticipatory about food and end up doing jerky, twisted motions instead of smooth, correct motions. The head needs to stay perpendicular to the ground, and the stretch needs to be smooth an consistent. She showed me how she does them: Stand with your back to the horse's neck, grab one hand on each side of the halter, and slowly encourage the horse to wrap his head and neck around you, back to the shoulder. Don't pull him into it, but ease him into it.
We had some nice rides after- the canter is a lot more comfortable for him. We had some especially nice transitions from lengthening canter to working canter when I did test practice last Sunday.
Next up, lesson from Tuesday 8/16!