|His neck right now is my favorite thing|
Two weekends ago, Dino got his first-ever chiropractic adjustment.
I will admit that for a long time I lumped chiropractic into the "bogus therapy" category. I had no interest in trying it, and had gotten such good results with massage therapy and good saddle fitting that I didn't think Dino really needed me to spend so much money on something that may or may not make a difference for him.
But then I started working at my current job at an equine vet practice, and began learning about what a positive difference chiropractic adjustment made for lots of our patients. The fact that the work was done by a vet that I know well and respect immensely rather than some quack with limited study under their belt helped turn the tide towards giving chiro a try for my old man. Especially as we continue to challenge his body in his senior years, it couldn't hurt to make sure all of his old bones were in the right place.
In short, Dino did VERY well with the actual adjustment! He wasn't out of whack in too many places, just a few spots in his neck and lower back. It was really interesting to watch his reaction to the adjustment - Dino's expression changed from, "Well this is a weird hug..." to, "OK WOW WHAT WAS THAT?!" as she pushed his vertebrae back into alignment. After each neck adjustment, he put his head down and flexed his neck from side to side, testing out his new range of motion. It was really, really cool to watch! The work definitely released some tension as well, and Dino showed some good licking and chewing to demonstrate it.
The vet and I also had a great conversation about Dino's training and conditioning in general. She knows us well and is familiar with the way I ride and my goals for Dino, and basically told me to keep on keepin' on. He has excellent range of motion throughout his body, not just for a coming 22 year old, but in general. Wonder Pony is in fantastic shape, and more than capable of continuing on with the challenging dressage work we've been getting into! It was definitely a confidence boost to hear it from a vet, friend, and fellow dressage rider that our current program is working so well.
I've also picked up The Masterson Method book, and am starting to learn this technique of non-invasive, horse-cooperative massage therapy. I love that the method requires the horse's participation, and the creator admonishes horse owners to use LESS pressure if the horse doesn't seem to be responding. Dino absolutely loved some of the techniques that I've used so far, and others he wasn't crazy about, but I'm excited to work more with him on this! My hope is that it will make him physically feel better as well as help him become mentally and emotionally more engaged and eager to work with me.
We also have a saddle fitting appointment on the books, as all this dressage work has caused my pony to completely hulk out, and our dressage saddle is definitely too snug at the moment. My wallet isn't happy about the potential of having to go saddle shopping if we can't re-work what I've got, but it's also encouraging that even at his age, Dino is still killin' it in training!