This post is purely about Dice today, revolving around his visit from the Equine Physiotherapist today. I have been so ecstatic once again with the results our fabulous physio has provided that I couldn’t help myself but to dedicate a small post about todays’ activity.
I was lucky enough to have Dice seen first in the day’s list of horses. Dawn (the physio) has worked with Dice before, so she knows all about his history and the strange situation we have of Dice having both back legs LOADED with pieces of shrapnel – gun shot pellets. It was appalling and shocking when the vets found it on the X-rays and every time I have to tell another person I find it no less shocking now. Unbelievably these pieces do not cause him a problem; or should I say, haven’t yet caused a problem. There are so many tiny pieces that it would be impossible to remove them all.
*As a side note, the vets only knew it was shrapnel because they had seen the exact same thing on a gundog who had accidentally been shot at close range. The though that someone had a gun, and shot – intentionally or unintentionally – my beloved boy makes me so angry. We will most likely never find the cause of it. The owners we bought him off didn’t hack him out and were as shocked as we were. Before that he lived on a race yard as a ‘ponying pony’. So he used to go out to the gallops with the very young racehorses and keep them company. Before that he was hunted by a man somewhere in the north (yes, a man on a 14.1hh pony – safe to say I haven’t taken him!) But the contacts are a bit sketchy at best.*
I digress – Dawn knows all this. She is up to date on all his health, shoeing and veterinary care. So, she got to work. I love to watch her work through the whole horse. She is very good at explaining what she is doing and her knowledge of the musculoskeletal system is so automatic and vast. Cut quite a repetitive story short, she worked all up and down both sides of his body and found the left side had slightly more tightness and a little tension in his stomach muscles and quarters than the right. Overall she was very impressed at his physical self for his age. I could see how much he was enjoying his tighter spots become loosened, his head lolled and his eyes drooped closed.
The biggest revelation of the day was Dawn found the cause of his recent lameness. Something she said she hadn’t come across before. The top of his tricep muscle – so the very top of his near-side (left) foreleg, just where it meets the very bottom of his scapula was a very sore spot for him. He flinched and tried to move away from the pressure. She explained that it most likely was caused by slipping trying to stop or slow from a fast pace on a slippery surface. Mud, for example which we have in bucket loads on the farm. Potentially a rider issue but more unlikely. Not anyones fault, but just a strange spot for a lameness injury; as she said – she hadn’t come across it before.
Anyway, it proved that was it. I took him to the round pen immediately to check and see what he looked like. Half way across the short distance to the round pen, it occurred to me the Left-Brain Extrovert pony hadn’t been out of his stable for a week and half. He grew a hand and started jogging. Credit to him, he didn’t pull on me or try and shoot off away from me (an old habit of his when he gets impulsive and excitable). Something I like to think of as our Parelli Natural Horsemanship training paying off a bit. We got there in one piece and I could not believe it. He left in the air and set off at a leaping canter followed by a fast – yet completely 100% sound – trot. Left and right reins. Amazed!
He didn’t stay trotting for long! He clearly had some pain for a while because he just went into orbit and bucked high and leapt about with the joy only a horse can have when they feel great and are let free for the first time in a while. It gave me so much joy to see him so happy and full of spirit. I love that he has such a vigorous for life. Though I had to watch out that his excitable, leaping energy didn’t come directly at me as he kept turning to me wanting to come to me as he often does. Love that pony!
Our homework has been to do some stretches with both front legs to back up the work Dawn did in terms of releasing his sore spot. Also he should stay in just for one more week while I do the stretches and so he doesn’t go back to the field, go absolutely mad with delight and slip in the mud and start all over again. Very pleased with today. I am very happy my boy is feeling so much better. Getting the physiotherapist out is so worth it. Follow your instincts, in this case I did not think vets and medication was the solution, for once I think I was right.
Mr. Dice enjoying his session with the Physiotherapist.
My Homework: The stretches being demonstrated to me by Dawn.
My favourite picture of the year so far I think. The Flying Pony! A very jubilant Double Dice 😁 You go boy!