Saturday, I was up and out of the house pretty early. J had left the day before to go river rafting with a group from her work, so I was running solo with the truck and trailer. I hitched up on our first try, loaded Ashke without any problems, then headed to Dr D's. Traffic was light and it is a straight shot to her barn, so there weren't any issues. I drive like a granny when I have Ashke on board, so the hour I left myself to drive to her place ended up being the perfect amount of time.
So, I have been feeling like Ashke really needed the base of his neck adjusted, plus I wondered if he had a rib out a couple of weeks ago on the right side and I knew he needed an adjustment in the SI area (although that is a give away, since he always needs adjusting there). He's felt heavy in the front (not on the reins) but like he couldn't lift himself up in the front. His canter has been much better: I felt that he has gotten a lot stronger and it's been awhile since he cross fired on his left lead. That is his go to habit (like chewing your fingernails during times of stress) and he just hasn't done that with me in so long. Of course, in the round pen he was cross cantering all over the place. Nothing like reverting in times of stress.
After Dr D evaluated him, we set him up in the stall and she looked at his hooves. The width of the frogs were all the same (5.25) with the exception of the left front (5.75). I was correct: there was a rib out (C7) on the right side, his withers were off, and the base of his neck needed adjusted (the reason for the slightly greater impact on his left front. Plus, his SI joint. After going over him, Dr D drew blood and set the needles. Then she gave him some sleepy time juice.
His teeth were pretty straight forward: adjusted incisors/molars to maximize A/P and lateral motion and to restore proper balance to TMJ; realign, angle change, balance incisors, slight upright diagonal, sharp, float, balance molars. He had one pretty good sharp point in the back on the right (all the stuff was on the right - no wonder we have struggled with bend). It went quick enough that he was still pretty drugged when she was done.
Then we did the sheath cleaning. Better to do it before the adjustment, so he doesn't throw himself back out. I held his left hind leg stretched out behind him while Dr D went fishing. She got two and a half beans out, but then things got a bit violent. Ashke actually had a fairly significant swing at me with his hind leg. We decided to put a little more juice in him before finishing the cleaning (Dr D thought there was one more bean she needed to retrieve). He got pretty darn drunk pretty quickly, and I held a leg while Dr D went back into the breech (I mean, she's almost shoulder deep at that point). She retrieved three and a half more beans, so it's a good thing we didn't just give it up. All six were still soft, but they were also the size of my thumb nail, so a good thing they are gone.
Dr D started with her next client, who knew me (I guess I'm becoming famous) from WE. I think maybe she was at our open house in January. Anyway, they did the evaluation and then drugged the horse for his dental while we waited for Ashke to sober up. At one point he staggered out onto the gravel floor and peed like a race horse. It would have been helpful if he had dropped out of his sheath even a little bit while he was doing so. He sprayed pee everywhere like a garden sprinkler. No wonder the bottom of his belly is so pee stained.
It had been almost two hours at that point and some of the needles were still pretty tight in his SI area and the places where he was "out". The cool thing about the accu needles is that as they do their work, the horse's body will push them out. Pretty soon there is a small storm of spent needles falling like leaves from various parts of his body. Not so this time. He lost the front of his chest and neck first, then the needles on either side of his poll. But the rest of them were pretty tight against his body. It was probably just as well that we had such a long rest, since it gave them time to do their work. They were starting to loosen their hold when Dr D finally removed them.
By the time Dr D was done with her next horse and the dentist was starting her work, Ashke was sober enough to do an adjustment on. Dr D adjusted the base of his neck (much better flexion to the right after), put the rib back in, and then used the actuator on his spine and SI area. Then she went over his withers as well. At the end of making the adjustments, we asked him to raise his back. I reminded him that he needed to raise it up through his withers and he did so. We could hear the vertebrae in his withers pop into place when he did so. It was a great alignment.
By that time he was mostly awake. I threw him in a stall while I gathered paperwork, paid for the visit and went over our treatment plan. Ashke needs to be on a psyllium supplement like Fiberpsyll or Sand Rid. She could hear sand in his gut. I got it added to his supplement bags on Saturday and will add it to his supps for the next two weeks, in accordance to her directions. I will plan on adding it for the last week of his smartpaks going forward (manually, because that is a much cheaper option than actually adding it to his smartpak).
Dr D is such a wonderful person and Ashke really loves her. He knows that she listens to what he has to say in his body and leaves him feeling so much better afterwards. I felt like the heaviness of the trapped energy in his body was gone when we left her place on Saturday. I am also very happy that I am in tune enough with him to notice when he needs to see her again. I've decided that we will just schedule regular visits every three months to keep him in alignment. We have a tendency to see her during the spring, summer and fall but then kind of slack off until our next spring visit. I think seeing her every three months will help Ashke's healing process and definitely keep him feeling better in his body. I mean, it only makes sense, since we are going to be working on our flying changes as soon as the competition year is over.