DOC'S LIFE OR DEATH DECISION
A REHAB WITH A DEADLINE
Doc is a 20-year-old Quarter Horse gelding who has had three careers: on the track until he was 7 or 8, competing in the jumper ring and in eventing, and then working as a school horse, teaching kids and adults to ride and jump. I met him in August 2006 when I moved my horses to the barn where he lived and worked in a busy lesson program.
This winter, deterioration in his soundness led his owner, in consult with her veterinarian, to decided perhaps the most kind thing to do for Doc was put him down. The problem was, Doc didn't seem like a horse who was ready to go.
I felt that with some really focused soft-tissue work, a good chiropractic adjustment and the right kind of physical therapy, his movement issues could improve. read more
INVITE YOUR HORSE INTO SELF-CARRIAGE
THE TTEAM BODYWRAP
When my 25-year-old gelding got some deep scrapes on his back playing a bit too exuberantly with his turnout buddies, I had to take a couple of weeks off riding him to let them heal. But he's an old guy with a long back, and it takes consistent work to keep his back up and his joints limber so he stays sound and supple for his student riders.
When I ride him, I concentrate on lifting his back and asking him to step under and push. To continue this, I needed to be able to entice him into some version of self-carriage while riding wasn't an option. Longing, on the line and at liberty, promotes circulation and gets the joints moving, but he is pretty adept at managing to keep from really lifting his back and carrying himself. I didn't want to have to resort to one of the restrictive training aids that many people incorporate into their longing work. read more
DESERT HORSE RECOMMENDS:
A Healthy Horse the Natural Way
Catherine Bird's A Healthy Horse the Natural Way is one of a select few books that I repeatedly recommend and loan to clients. The book was off my bookshelf so often that when I finally found one at a used book store, I snapped it up so I would have a loaner copy. For a clear, concise and effective overview of a range of healing modalities - massage, aromatherapy, homeopathy, herbs, flower essences - it can't be beat.
The massage section is exceptionally well illustrated, and the chapter on essential oils gives horse-specific information that just isn't available in other resources (unless you're lucky enough to also own Catherine's self-published book on the subject).
You'll see this book recommended in several categories on the new Desert Horse Bookshelf simply because it's one of the very best resources I know of on several alternative healing modalities. The author is a veteran human massage therapist from Sydney, Australia. (She's been doing therapeutic massage long enough that in the early days she frequently had to explain to potential male clients the difference between therapeutic massage and the massage parlor kinds of services!) She's also a gifted aromatherapist and one of the pioneers of using the modality in work with horses. read more