Ideas besides chiro - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-09-2012, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Ideas besides chiro

For starters, yes, ideally I would like to have the chiro out...but it's not in the budget right now.

The horse is about 15 hh at most (I haven't measured yet), and most likely a foundation QH, she's built like a Mack truck. Basically, wide and compact I know all horses bend, but with her body shape (think sausage roll vs, hot dog) bending seems to be difficult for her.

Dally is finally to the point that I think she can start being ridden (we had some groundwork basics to work through first). When I first picked her up, she had NO bend. I don't think anyone has ever worked with her on this so I've been working on bringing her nose around, lots of circles (leading & under saddle), leg stretches, etc. She is getting better (i.e. a little looser), but she is still quite stiff. Doing bending excercises on the ground seems to be the worst, she's ram rod straight thru the poll, but I think that's mainly lack of teaching than discomfort. She's starting to bend her neck to the sides a little, but seems to have no interest in going more than 3/4 of the way. I've checked for muscle "knots" or areas of pain, and nothing has really jumped out as being out of the norm.

When under saddle, I can finally get her nose to bend to the side. Definately more to the left than the right when standing. At the walk, going right or left doesn't matter. Beautiful circles, wraps herself around my legs, stays balanced, the whole nine yards. At the trot, we start to lose the right side again. Not to bad, unless I'm really pushing her to move out.

When riding, it's pretty much all circles (big & small) I don't keep her on the rail very much. In the larger circles, I've been trying to get her to move out more which is proving difficult as well (fairly certain that was a BIG no no in her previous life).

My question is this, other than massage (which I'm also doing with her), stretching her legs out before riding, and circles any other thoughts on getting her looser? Oh, and I can't bribe her with treats on the ground to bend, she won't touch 'em.

"Just because I don't do things your way, doesn't mean I don't have a clue"
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-09-2012, 01:15 PM
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Honestly it sounds like she just needs more training on what you want. More work at bending and suppling at the trot.

In my opinion, a chiro is not needed unless the horse is having trouble bending due to some physical discomfort or pain. Since you didn't mention any of that, as long as you are looking for signs and see none, then I wouldn't think a chiro necessary.

I would continue working on flexing and bending around objects and leg. He just needs to be taught that you expect the same supple movements at the trot as at the walk. It takes more skill and balance to remain supple at higher speeds. The fact that he moves better to the left doesn't surprise me either. All horses have a stronger side, and his right may just be his weak side.

Honestly I would keep working at it. Practice it with your normal routine and see where that gets you. If, of course, at any time you notice he simply CANT bend, instead of just doesn't know how, then you will indeed need to call a chiro.

Until then, practice, practice, practice. I bet he will come around.

** Don't be the rider who gallops all night and never sees the horse that is beneath him **
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-09-2012, 01:16 PM
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I think having the horse move their head around while standing still is not as beneficial as doing it while moving. And, doing it correctly is also important.
if the horse just brings their nose around to their shoulder (or your toe) by tilting the head, (bringing the nose up to the side, so the ears point to the other direction), then the value of the stretch is much diminished. for the horse to release in the poll, the face must stay vertical, so that the bending happens in the first two joints of the neck, the atlas and the axis.
To facilitate this, when you aske the horse to bring its' head around, you also ask the horse to step under with its' inside leg. In the saddle, you will feel the hind end step over sideways while the front end does not move. this is the disengagement. That stepping under will help to loosen up the horse, connected with a correct stretching of the neck.

I should have said, that when you ask the horse to do a correct stretch , it will lead naturlly into haveing the hrose step under and disengage. you can assist the hrose by helping them get the idea with a light leg on, but after a bit they will connect the rein to bending and stepping under and disengageing on their own.

Last edited by tinyliny; 07-09-2012 at 01:18 PM.
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-09-2012, 04:48 PM
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I always start with the feet. Is she shod? How do her feet look? Any telltale signs of onset of ringbone, contracted heels, high bars, etc etc?

I feel like a spammer because I post the link to this video a whole lot, Holistic Horse Works has free videos on youtube that you can use yourself, also as a diagnostic:

HolisticHorseWorks - YouTube
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-09-2012, 04:57 PM
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im hoping to get chiro for my gelding soon but he needs it his back is out, but i streach his head to his sides (i do for all my horses) with carrots, and now they all will bend when i scratch their sides. it has helped a lot for my horses.
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