Sunday, July 23, 2017


When last we left our intrepid hero, he was off on the right front and right hind, with the chronic issue of swinging his right hind in, instead of swinging the leg straight forward, like he has been doing since we started riding with Amanda. Amanda saw it during our lesson on Tuesday and I texted Dr D for an appointment for the weekend after our show. We weren't able to show because he was off on Sunday morning of last weekend.

Saturday morning, J and I got up early to take Ashke to see Dr D. We were at the barn by 7:30, had him loaded (after cold hosing the tear in his skin across his chest - which we have no idea how he managed to tear himself open there) by 8, and arrived at Dr D's early, like a little after 8:30 instead of 9 am. We pulled up and I unloaded him, figuring I could move him around in the mowed field until Dr D came out. When he got off the trailer he dropped his head and I saw it. There was a vertebrae that was out of place in the middle of his back. Sliding my fingers along his spine highlighted the subluxation. We hung out in the field for a few, then I took him to the round pen to play.

Dr D came out to start her evaluation after Ashke was fairly warmed up. He was floaty trotting and then finally gave me a slow, easy canter on the correct lead (rather than the cross lead he likes to do in the round pen). She didn't see anything wrong on the circle. I gave Dr D a run down of the past four weeks (mattress escapade and sparring with the other gelding), what Amanda had seen in the arena during our lesson, and what I thought was going on. I also showed her where I could see the bump along his spine. We moved to the side of the barn where I walked him out and back, then trotted out and back. She said she could see how his right hind was moving incorrectly and he seemed tight in the neck.

She did her accupuncture evaluation and I could see that Ashke's back was super tender where the bump along his spine was, and from that point all the way back to his SI area. When I asked her about it (while she was working on him) she said it was probably from tightening muscles against the pain. The ribs on both sides that connected to that vertebrae (the T16) were sore on both sides of his body. When she looked at his frogs, the right front and left rear (opposite pair of what it usually is) were being used less evenly, probably due to the bone bruise on the inside of his right front. She did something with his front legs and could tell he was shifted out at the C6 and C7 to the left. And his SI joint was a mess.

Dr D pulled blood and got some vitamin B in syringes and began to set the needles. It's pretty cool to watch the needles either push their way out of his body (where there isn't as much restriction) or suck in tight (where he needs the help). We sat and waited while the needles and his body did their work. She couldn't adjust him until the needles had freed up the energy enough to allow the muscles to release their hold. Pretty soon the needles were hitting the stall mats like falling rain. Dr D climbed up on her step and began to move his spine and SI joint.

I have to tell you, my horse understands English and everything I say to him. Dr D needed him to move his left foot back about a half step. We both told Ashke what we needed,  and he moved that foot back half a step. Then I asked him to stand up on his left hind, so he did, but rested his right hind. We all laughed and told him to stand up square and homeboy did. Dr D moved the base of his neck, after talking him into lowering his head so she could do it in the correct position. I heard it pop when it went into place. Next, Dr D used the accuator to move the vertebrae down his spine, then adjusted the SI area so that both hips moved freely. Finally, she ran two plastic needle covers down over the back of his haunches. Before she did so, I told Ashke he needed to lift his back all the way through his withers. He did so and we could hear everything snap back into place. Dr D double checked her work, but everything was back where it needed to be.

I know there are a lot of people who scoff at both accupuncture and chiro. I have used both on my own body to help heal a ruptured disc at my L5. I know that it helps Ashke. He trusts Dr D and will share information with her that he might hide from me because he doesn't want me to be disappointed. However, as our relationship has progressed, I am more and more aware of what is going on with him. I missed the T16. But I knew there was something wrong. He was happy and moving well when we were done.

Dr D said it was a good thing I didn't try to ride him. The vertebrae that was tied up (restricted) was one that would have caused him to buck. And his back was super sore, so I'm just as glad I didn't try to force the issue. She is pretty sure that the reason he was out at the T16 was due to the mattress escapade (as she put it): when I came off I held onto the rein, which is a continuous loop, and he kept rearing. The combination of those two things was enough to twist his back out of whack. So, lesson learned: no more monkeys jumping on the bed.

We loaded up and headed to the barn. I dropped him off, talked to Amanda about what Dr D found, then J and I headed home. We changed, got lunch and then headed for Colorado Springs to pick up a Thule cargo rack for Antiope. (Costco car buying program gave us a coupon for 50% off one accessory up to $400). As we were getting ready to go, Skittle begged to be allowed to go with us, so we decided to try out the car with the dogs. When we got south of Castle Rock the traffic slowed to a standstill and I decided we would not be taking I-25 home.

We forgot to put a blanket or bed in the back for the dogs to lay on.
Skittle insists on sitting on J's lap.

When we got to the dealership, we brought the dogs inside and waited while they processed our order. I had called ahead and asked about the rack, being told that they could install it while we waited, but we discovered that wasn't the truth. It was in a box and they weren't real excited about putting it together for us. We opted to take the rack home in the box, but that kind of crapped our dogs' style.

 So hard to share.

I opted to drive home through the mountains, taking 24 to Woodland Park, then turning north toward Deckers. It was much cooler, being about 71 rather than the 95 we had been driving in, and the mountain road was awesome to test out the handling of Antiope. And let me tell you, I was pretty freaking impressed. She handled the winding roads very well and had plenty of acceleration. 

A few miles out of Woodland Park, I took a turn off with National Forest access. We drove back away from the road, got out and let the dogs run. J and I hiked up the trail with them about fifteen minutes.

 Running dogs.

 Exploring dogs.

Big rocks in the distance

These were so cool.

There were a bunch of logs laid up against an opening in the rock.
J climbed up to look.

The huge rocks formed a ring around this space.
I feel almost an obsession to go back in climbing shoes and get into that space.
It feels sacred.

We hiked around the outside of the rocks and finally came to a spot I thought would get us inside. J climbed through and ended up next the to leaning logs. Climbing the logs was the only way to get in. Well, or free climbing the rocks around the outside, which we didn't have the gear for. We didn't go inside because we weren't sure how we would get out.

Berkendorks were not the best choice.

Walking around the outside.

There was more than one reason why I was drawn to these rocks.

On the way back, through the winding canyon into and out of Deckers, Skittle sat in the front seat. It was so funny to both J and I when we realized that she was leaning in advance of the curves in the road. She was watching the road and would brace herself depending on which direction the road was curving. Very smart doggo.

 She loves looking out the front window.

And sticking her head out.

Being Co-copilot doggo

It was a great way to spend the day with J and the pupperinos.


  1. Reading about that adjustment made *me* feel better. I have seen the benefits of both chiro and acupuncture first hand, and I'm glad Ashke responds so well to both :)

    1. Now that he is under consistent care, he "moves" back into alignment easily and quickly. From my own experience, that means his body is beginning to hold him correctly, rather than reverting to his "old norm". I can't tell you how happy that makes me.

      And how glad I am that I didn't try to show, even though we were there, we were dressed and were ready to go. I'm very happy that I listened to him, even when he is being subtle.