Monday, December 1, 2008

MiKael Meets Richard............Working with Legs

Part 1

Since the first horse I began getting help from Richard happens to be my herd sire, Scandalous Legacy, I think I'll bring things up to speed with this horse first. Checking back through this series I see that I've never really posted about the collaboration between Richard and me on this horse.

I'll start off with some background to better complete this picture. It would be normal for me to say this has been a long, slow journey considering the rate it's taken me to get things accomplished in the past. And it has been a long slow journey to this point. It took me 2 years to get this horse even going forward properly after his 6 months stint with a local trainer.

From there it was considerably more time before I ever got the horse going correctly for western. An accomplishment not many really saw. I didn't get the opportunity to show the horse because I was managing horse shows. The horse did get shown by someone else at one show winning the open western championship but that was it.

Then the twins came along and some other life stuff and Legs got put on the back burner. It wasn't until this past year I could pick up where I left off....... well that was my hope anyway. ........but that's not exactly what happened.

The arena I was riding in had the worst footing I've ever experienced. Instead of being flat, it was riddled with high spots and lows, slick spots and deep spots. It turned out to be a nightmare for any horse.

Why Legs had a particular problem with it, I can't really say...only that he did. I found myself with a horse that needed lots of chiropractic adjustments and we still struggled to make progress. The horse also began to have problems with his shoulder for the first time in his career. What should have been a simple process legging him up turned out to be working through some major issues.

By the time I got to Angie and Richard's the horse was improving but things were coming along every bit as slowly as they had during my attempts to fix his issues after that stint with the trainer. While I was frustrated with this situation, after my experience with Dandy's EPM, I think maybe I was used to things taking this long. Since Legs had an injury as a foal that has affected him, I guess I just figured it was reasonable that he take the same kind of time to resolve issues as Dandy.

At any rate, that's the pace we were at until Richard entered the scene. Since then, that rate has dramatically changed. Not only has the progress improved probably exponentially for this horse, he is coming along much faster than the "normal" horses that Richard has worked in the past.

I'm not really going to go into the technique that Richard calls boxing. While Richard has said it's ok for me to post about whatever happens with my horses, both of us believe that boxing is one of those things that could really cause a lot of damage in the wrong hands.

It would definitely be one of those things where a little knowledge could be dangerous. Since I don't consider myself to be an expert on the subject, I don't feel I'm qualified to explain it. I'm simply going to leave it at that except to say that boxing is what Richard has used to bring Legs along in record time.

Currently the Arabian horse is slowed down right to where he needs to be at both the jog and the lope when Richard works him on the ground. For me under saddle, I'd say the horse is probably a step behind. He is slow enough to be competitive but not as slow as the horse can really go and still be in true gaits.

The horse's transitions with Richard are getting better all the time. Again, when I ride him there is a gap between what Richard's getting on the ground. However, the horse's transitions are getting better too.

I think that gap is normal. I once heard Mike Whelihan say that what you see in the lines you will see under saddle in about 3 weeks. That might just be an accurate description of the progress with Legs with the more difficult things like flawless transitions and consistent slow speed. But in smaller things like problems with a shoulder or leaning to the outside. stalling out, etc, those things move straight over to the ride right after Richard works on them on the ground.

Currently, I am still riding the horse with direct but light contact on the curb bit. I will continue to do so until the horse is consistently going exactly like I want. At that point only will I begin to work on getting that big drape in the rein.

A week ago I had the best ride on Legs since I have been working with Richard. The horse was on the muscle to start but settled in and gave me a really consistent ride with rated gaits and the best transitions the horse has ever accomplished under saddle. Transitions that are comparable to those of his brother, Dandy (whose transitions I measure all other horses by.)

Then life jumped in and slapped us a good one. The following day taking the horse out of the trailer, he evidently slipped in the mud and hyper extended his stifle. Within a matter of minutes the horse was dead lame..............not 3 legged but darn near.

Richard poked and prodded the horse to see what condition his pelvis was in. He even pushed on a couple of vertebrae. There was no doubt the horse was injured. I called the chiropractor to set up an appointment and buted the horse.

The chiropractor came out the following Monday. Legs was the worst patient he has ever been adding further credence to how badly the horse was hurting. The horse not only tried to bite poor Dale, he kicked at him, and bucked like we've never seen before as the man tried to manipulate the vertebrae back into place and put pressure on very sore muscles.

After the treatment a couple of days off was recommended. The residual soreness will be better served by working the horse through it..........not something I am looking forward to. Whether or not that means full work will be determined by the stay tuned...............

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  1. It's amazing how much good a second pair of eyes can do. Having that second opinion or a different perspective or idea is so, so valuable. I'm glad that you've found Richard, MiKael.

  2. Kudos for not letting the boxing method slip out into inexperienced hands. I have no clue what it is, lol, but it riles me to no end when clinicians do things that they make look easy, but become sheer stupidity in the hands of novices.

    Looking forward to seeing how Legs shapes up. I said it before, and I'll say it again...I'm thankful you've found Richard! Sounds like he is for you what Curt's been for me. I think we can all use someone like that in our horsey lives.

  3. Just when things are going well, something seems to happen to stop the progress. Glad the chiropractor could help, and hope Legs will be back in training soon.
    Also, good luck with your surgery, hope all goes well.

  4. First off, I would like to let you know that I really enjoy your blog. This was the first time recently you have mentioned using a chiropractor and I have been fretting about my horse and chiropractor the last few days. I hope it is OK for me to ask you a few questions.
    My horse is a 5yo Purebred Gelding with Khemosabi bloodlines. I have had him since July and have been working on training him for pleasure riding and endurance. For the last few weeks he began pinning his ears when I would approach his sides or pet his rib and girth area or his chest. I had a Chiropractor out this weekend and it really seemed to work well. The following day, the horse no longer pinned or nipped when I toughed what used to be his sore spots. The day after that though, he has begun kicking out when I pet near his upper flank. Is this a normal reaction from chiropractic for the sore spots to 'move'? Is he just adjusting to being aligned? Do you think he need a followup adjustment before our one month appointment?
    I plan on staying off of him until he is out of pain. Does this kind of reaction usually work its self out with time/work?
    I really appreciate your opinion.

  5. Mikael - Come visit me and pick up an award!

  6. Katee, you're right about those second pairof eyes. I'm glad I found Richard too.

    Tracey, yes, I think you're right about Richard and Curt. I'm glad they're there for both of us.

    Grey horse, I'm not sure how long this recovery is going to take but I hope it's swift. The horse will go stir crazy if it isn't. He loves to work.

    Heather, just like with people sometimes chiropractic adjustments do not hold. The tight muscles from the injury will "pull" and "pressure" causing pain and sometimes misalignment. Of that occurs that misalignment is not as bad as the original injury.

    Also the horse can be sore from the adjustment. Using the muscles correctly because the pain is gone can cause new muscle pain.

    If it were my horse having the kind of reactions you are talking about I would get him rechecked. I have had horses that needed rechecked once a week. That horse it took a month before she finally held her adjustment and she needed one more check a month later. Since then she's doing great. It really all depends on the individual.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.

    Victoria, thanks for the award. I have it posted and duly passed onto my fellow bloggers.