Jasper bucked, not just a small buck, he had been doing small bucks a lot lately. He had’nt wanted to canter and as Amy asked him for the third time he abandoned his napping technique and bucked. This buck reached new heights, it was HUGE, Amy was unseated and saw the ground coming towards her. Well actually it wasn’t just ground it was a large muddy puddle and she landed right in it. Amy gathered her senses and wondered exactly what she had done to deserve such a bad horse. Jasper had come from a home where he had badly fitting tack, his rugs were too small, his saddle too tight. He hated being tied and had pulled back and gone over backwards several times before Amy bought him. Now he was loved and really well looked after, but over the 6 months since his arrival his behaviour was deteriorating. Amy would spend her last penny on him and yet he repayed her like this. He was one ungrateful equine and she was drenched and miserable.
That night Amy tried to put myself in Jaspers shoes – he didn’t like being brushed and was very sensitive. He hated being tacked up even though he now had a new well fitted saddle. He had difficulty bending to the right and difficulty going into canter. Slowly her thoughts accumulated and she wondered if perhaps, just maybe he wasn’t bad – could he be sore? Was not bending one way and swishing his tail the first sign? Then came the napping and the small bucks. Was he trying to tell her something, but she hadn’t listened! Finally she had a vision of Jasper SHOUTING at her with that last mighty buck – was he trying to say – YOU WON’T LISTEN TO ME , I HAVE TRIED TO TELL YOU – I AM SORE AND I CANT DO IT!
Amy called me to discuss Jasper shortly after and arrange a visit. He turned out to be very sore throughout his whole back. His muscles were hypersensitive which is why he reacted so badly to brushing. His neck was tight and sore and his muscles tighter on the left side so it was hard for him to stretch these muscles and lengthen them when he tried to bend to the right. Jaspers lumbo-sacral joint, which flexes more in canter was sore and misaligned. His spine was adjusted and muscles released using McTimoney Chiropractic and various soft tissue techniques and massage. He was given a follow up treatment and time to rest and heal. He is now on a gradual fitness and suppling routine and Amy is taking things slowly.
Jasper taught Amy a valuable lesson in communication with her horse. He can still be cheeky, but she recognises the subtle signs now in his behaviour and she will have him checked regularly every few months to prevent him getting so sore again. It is important to realise the only way horses can communicate with us is through their behaviour or performance. It is up to us whether we listen or not. Amy learnt in a large muddy puddle that it is better to respond to your horses whispers than to wait until he shouts!
Susan Sargeant is a registered Chiropractor qualified to treat humans and animals for more than 12 years. She also holds qualifications in Equine, Canine and Human massage. The combination of these techniques together with her knowledge of biomechanics and rehabilitation offers a unique and in depth treatment for you, your horse or dog.