Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tricksy things, those ligaments.

Ok, it's early days, but I need to get something out of my system.


Whew! So, uh, it appears I have a new horse.

You might recognize him :-)

The chiropractor came out on Monday and did a full workup on Willy, including extremities and soft tissues. I was very impressed with how thorough she was with us (over an hour) and she was great about explaining things and answering questions. Willy has never had chiro work before but he took to it suprisingly well, though he certainly wasn't the model patient.

The culprits? The ligaments at his pole are very tight and he has a touch of scar tissue in there as well but the biggest culprit seems to be his temporomandibular joint (TMJ).  [I could go on here about how I suspected this but didn't really know enough or where to turn and how it's disappointing my vet never even mentioned it...but I shall refrain]. In fact, he didn't display any headshaking until she started working those two areas.  Then, his head went bonkers for quite awhile while Dr. J worked  but he also did a lot of yawning, dropping his head, and other signs that we hit the spot. It seemed like he could only enjoy it for so long before it became too much and he would move away and look for distractions.

Overall, it seemed to already make him feel better and she was sure the headshaking would resolve within a few weeks. I was shown how to work on those areas and I will definitely be doing so. I'm nothing if not dedicated when I have something to accomplish!  It was very strange to have such confidence of a resolution after months of uncertainty. I can't quite trust it but my ride yesterday (day 3 of soft tissue work) went a long way to making me a believer.

He was not just better, he felt better than ever. We had some of our best trot work. I didn't want to ask him to work in a frame for too long, just enough to test out how he felt. I had to force myself to stop because he felt so good. We had gentle communication through the reins again!  He was also much happier to work long and low. We spent a good bit of time just walking outside to loosen up at the end and I was giddy.

When I got home, I didn't say anything at first as I was unpacking my bag etc. Finally, Alex said "Oh go on and tell me, you're practically levitating!" Hee hee. So ya, I know it's early days but...



Anonymous said...

Sounds great! TMJ issues can sometimes be a sign of misaligned incisors - many vets and equine dentists don't pay much attention to the incisors. I use a very good natural balance equine dentist who uses only manual tools - no power tools, and pays a lot of attention to incisor alignment and side to side jaw excursion.

RuckusButt said...

Thanks Kate, I'll keep that in mind. We are sure the float I had was the precursor to the headshaking, since it immediately preceeded onset but there was probably some tension there before. My vet did a hand float but I really can't speak to whether he would have paid attention to incisors. I'm hoping to arrange an equine dentist (as opposed to a vet) at some point but they are hard to come by around here.

Jason said...

Sounds promising ! We both hope it works out and your "new" horse does whathe should.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Whether the practitioner uses a hand tools or power tools is irrelevant IME. What matters is the person using the tools. If they are good and know what they are doing your horse will get a good float. If they don't, regardless of the tool, your horse will get a bad float. It sounds like your poor guy got a bad floating job, regardless of the fact that hand tools were used.

Laura said...

So glad that the chiro has helped. I hope he continues to improve! :-)