Shorty had a visit from an equine chiropractor today. At first, he wondered why the heck she was up on a mounting block, pushing his neck around, but when she brought out hay to get his head to stretch, he decided he really liked her. When she first touched his tender left stifle he tried to kick her, but eventually he settled down as she continued to work with him and started to enjoy himself as she eased some of the really tense spots.
She made some major adjustments- even I could hear bones creaking. There were a few moments were it looked like Shorty was enjoying himself; licking, chewing, sighing, stretching his head out inquisitively. All and all, it wasn't a bad experience and Shorty seemed none the worse for wear. Time will tell if it was a worthwhile experience.
Truth be told, I was warned by my veterinarian about the "evils" of chiropractors. According to my vet, one person "pushing" on a horse will not influence the bones to move; even band saws barely get through the muscle! I see her point; Shorty has a very thick neck, but pushing on a live muscle is probably very different than sawing through a dead horse's muscle during necropsy. When I asked if hiring a chiropractor would be a good idea for Shorty, she responded, "Well, it won't HURT him to have it done, but don't expect any major results. Just don't let anyone hammer on your horse's head."
I decided to search around and ask some of my horsey friends about who they recommend. I finally called a woman that came highly recommended by a fellow certified riding instructor. I'm glad I called her out; she didn't slam my horse against a wall and hammer on his head (which is basically how my vet made it sound). If you are in the Cleveland area, feel free to contact me through my email address for her contact information.
I'm tentatively scheduled for a "check-up" in four weeks. According to the chiropractor, it is pretty common for the alignment problems to resurface after a few weeks because the muscles will pull them back. A tune up will reshape the horse as the muscles adjust to the new alignment. Shorty will have tomorrow off from riding (but he will go for a nice handwalk) and then we start fresh on Tuesday. I'm not expecting him to suddenly start picking up his right lead canter, but I do hope he will be more comfortable to the right and able to bend a bit more without falling in on my right leg. I'm exited! Yay progress!