Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Friday, May 7, 2010


May 5, 2010

The vet chiropractor came out on Wednesday. He watched the training horse walk and could tell by the gait that he was not moving freely.

The vet started at the poll and slowly checked his head and neck to see if it was out of alignment. He said all horses are not symmetrical and it is difficult to have them in exact alignment. Feeling the horse’s neck, he could feel a stiffness in the neck muscles, even though the neck wasn’t out of alignment. He thought that the horse didn’t bend easily. Actually the horse is a wiggle worm when I ride, and I have to hold him straight, so I really haven’t had to bend him much. I’m wondering if holding him straight - something he isn’t used to - tired his neck muscles and made them sore or stiff. Holding him straight is not what he is used to do, and by doing so, he had to work his neck muscles, that he doesn’t normally use, to keep his neck straight.

The vet felt back along the spine the horse had no reaction. I told the vet that the horse wants to kick out when he goes in to the lope. The vet felt around both hips and the horse instantly pinned his ears. That was an instant change in his personality. The vet said that the pelvic bone has 2 parts that move independently but at the same time. When the hip is out, one part doesn’t move as the other part moves, causing discomfort and pain. The horse would have a hard time using his hind end to lope.

The vet applied pressure to the area around the hip bone, making sure to only apply hard, steady pressure, without and jerky motions. He held the steady hard pressure for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Doing so, he felt the pelvic bones slowly change position. He didn’t want to try for any longer length of time, as doing so could actually cause the horse more discomfort. He doesn’t want the horse to be sore, which would take longer for the horse to stay sound.

After the adjustment, the horse licked and chewed, and seemed content. He walked fine, and I put him in to a stall, and would put him back outside. The vet said to only give him a light workout the next few days. He said not to do a lot of lope departures while I free lunged him, as working the muscles and hips too much could cause them to be sore again. Also, there is memory in the joints and muscles, and he wants the hip joints to stay where they are and not to try to go back to where they had been.

The training horse was lightly worked in the outside arena on Thursday. I wanted him to get used to being outside around logs and cones, with horses in the lot beside the arena. Next week, I will ride him out there, as I need to get him to work and ride well when other horses are near. I did ask him to lope off once in each direction, and he did so easily, without kicking out.

I’m glad that I saw something in his gait when I free lunged him. I knew he shouldn’t be kicking out with ever lope departure, especially after being lunged for a week with a saddle on. I’m hoping to start loping him when I ride him, if he continues to free lunge without kicking out.

Shaggy had sharp points on his teeth and had his teeth floated. I gave him Thursday off. I had blood pulled to do a Coggins test on him, since we need a Coggins report on health certificates to take horses out of state. I plan on taking him to Colorado with me in June when I do the Centered Riding update clinic.

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