Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sofie Meets The Chiro Lady, and The Post-Purchase Exam

In our ongoing quest to pour more money into our little grade Paint mare, we made an appointment with a local vet who does chiropractic and acupuncture, as we were quite sure that Sofie still had some "issues" (who doesn't?). It was quite an experience, but it turned out to be a very good one.

We went out to the barn a little early to catch, groom and longe Miss Sofie. Then I grazed her on the lawn while we waited for the Chiro Lady. While we were waiting, a big stock trailer containing a mahogany bay Andalusian mare pulled up. Her owner had hauled her to the barn to have blood work done, because her overweight horse with a thick winter coat was sweating occasionally. "See? She's sweating a little right now," the overwrought woman said as her FAT, FUZZY mare stood in the BRIGHT SUNLIGHT. It was a real OMG DEAD HORSE WALKING DIG THE HOLE ALREADY moment, if you know what I mean.

Crazy Andalusian Owner liked Miss Sofie, however. She looked her over and said she was a nice little horse. So then I said, "Well, wanna trade?" No, I didn't really. That would be disloyal to my little grade Paint mare, who is way more interesting than a freaking gorgeous expensive Andalusian.

So Crazy Andalusian Owner took her pretty, pretty mare away, and I led Soapdish (that's one of her nicknames) into the barn so she could be made uncrooked (or de-crookedized? I like making up words). The Chiro Lady asked some questions (age, occupation, history, etc.) and then ran a capped pen all over Sofie, which she tolerated fairly well. She did not like it when Chiro Lady started messing with her head, and got popped in the face when she started throwing her head too close to Chiro Lady's face. "You can throw your head, but you can't throw it into my head. That's rude," said Chiro Lady.

Chiro Lady honed in on Sofie's worst areas, and the first area she worked on was the sternum. I knew she'd had girthiness issues when we first got her, but it turns out that the sternum is an acupressure point for hoof soreness. Sofie had a fit, dragging me around the aisle, biting at the Chiro Lady every chance she got, and generally violently protesting being messed with in that area. Chiro Lady eventually got it adjusted to her satisfaction and moved onto a specific part of Sofie's neck (C7, I believe...whatever that is). More violent biting-and-dragging-me-around reactions. It was way worse than her cranio sacral/myofascial release sessions...and she really, really doesn't care for those.

Then Miss Sofie had an epiphany ("Hey...that feels better now. Huh, maybe they aren't just torturing me for giggles...") and suddenly became calm, sweet and Sofielike again. Chiro Lady dragged her big stepbox over, and Sofie looked at it like "Huh, that's a weird mounting block type thingy. Oh well." Chiro Lady said, "She's not afraid of much, is she?" and climbed onto her big stepbox thingy. The rest of the adjustments were minor and Sofie stood relaxed with a hind leg cocked.

Chiro Lady was very nice, and extremely thorough. She manipulated Sofie's legs, bending them all sorts of ways that I didn't think horse legs could actually bend, did neck stretches and wiggled Sofie's butt around. Basically, we got a post-purchase exam thrown in with our chiro session.

Yes, we never did a pre-purchase on Sofie. She was cheap, we knew she was going to be a project (how much of a project, we had no idea, but hey, we learned a LOT), and in the end, we just didn't want her to fail a pre-purchase, because we really wanted her. In the end, I think that decision was right, despite all the expert opinions that say it's a terrible idea. We would never have bought her if we had known how bad her feet were, because we didn't know they could be fixed in a few short weeks. Sofie was meant to be my horse, and no hoof testers were gonna stand in the way of that.

Chiro Lady had nothing but good things to say about Miss Sofie. She said she was very flexible, her legs were in good shape with no damage from being pounded on pavement and hard ground for ten miles at a crack, and she had no back issues. She will probably need a couple more adjustments, but Chiro Lady said that whatever we are doing is working, and suggested stretching her shoulders and encouraging her to stretch down on a long rein under saddle (which we are already doing and will continue to do). Also, Chiro Lady was pleased with Sofie's weight. All good stuff.

1 comment:

  1. As an equine massage therapist I see a lot of sweet horses like yours that attempt to bite when you manipulate a very touchy area. The way I explain it is like when you have a piece of glass in your skin. It hurts like hell getting it out, digging around in the cut but you get immediate relief once it's out. Exactly like you explained your girl trying to bite the lady but once she was done she relaxed and cocked a hind leg.