So, the chiropractor was out today. Blue was showing pain in his back and pelvis, his withers (which had to do with the shoulders, not the saddle), his poll, his TMJ, as well as short extension on the left back and front legs.
He explained how the problems in the spine led to problems in the pelvis (something about lumbo sacral? sp?) which was throwing his pelvis either too far forward or too far back (can't remember which), affecting his gait, and also how the spinal problems caused the short extension in his legs, causing him to guard that side, further throwing him off. There was more technical stuff that I can't remember now, but he's going to write it up and send me an e-mail.
He also explained that when a gaited horse's pelvis is out, he may still gait okay going uphill because it temporarily forces the pelvis into the position it should be in, which helps explain why Blue can still gait some going uphill but not on a straightaway.
After the adjustments I could see more jaw flexibility, more poll range-of-motion, much more extension on those two legs, and no more pain reactions to palpating his spine or pelvis. His whole back actually looks straighter and the front and back halves of his back look more even with each other (sorry, I know I'm not explaining that right but I don't know much about horse anatomy. But I think I'm going to make it a point to learn now!) He also licked and chewed after every manipulation, and at the end was so relaxed he was almost asleep.
It was very interesting. The chiro asked us to give him two days off because otherwise he may start guarding his left side again just out of habit, then give him two days of light work, then two days of regular, then call him and let us know how he's doing.
I feel like I at least got an education in horse anatomy, and needless to say, I'm anxious to see if this makes any difference, even if it just means that he's comfortable enough to go through some re-training.
Thanks for listening to my book!