Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Equine Acupuncture: Johnny Gets Some
Not usually a fan of 'alternative therapies', I have broken down and had John done with a treatment of equine acupuncture. For 3 reasons:
1. He has stopped rolling all the way over when he rolls. Instead he rolls on one side only and stops himself with a grunt, then gets up. He used to be like a bumbly bug and roll all the way & back again.
2. He has the rush-downhill habit that I have not been able to address with training. I wonder about back pain.
3. He developed a 'sweet spot' on his back; when I would curry there, he would practically swoon and would lean so hard against the curry that it became pretty vigorous back massage.
I know all this doesn't add up to a critical situation but I am interested in prevention if possible. I love this horse!!!!! and if he needs something adjusted, I'm hoping I can spot it in time.
Plus: A vet in our area went over to acupuncture exclusively last year, and I trusted her and was willing to invest in her new career to see what might happen.
She began with an analysis using a wooden stick about 4 inches long and about a half inch wide; she pressed this into critical points to test reaction.
John showed no reaction to any of this initial testing except for one spot behind the poll on the right side. There he reacted clearly: he bobbed his head and waved it around. Every time.
The vet said this diagnostic spot is connected with the left hind and especially the hock. Really?? Right ear, left hock. OK. I am skeptical and willing, 50/50 at this point.
The needles are long (about 4 inches) but they are so slim that John showed no awareness of their presence, their insertion, nothing.
He just stood there and his eyes closed part way.
Then (timing is everything) the horses started to get their evening feed. So the 15 minutes of quiet meditative standing turned in to 15 minutes of greedy salivating dancing with needles sticking out; John was certain someone else was eating his supper.
However we persisted and he got quiet again, then time was up and needles were removed.
As the vet removed the last needle, what do yo suppose happened???
John elevated his left hind leg and hugged it higher into his body than I've ever seen it go; flex, hold, release.
I have another appointment for December 1. The theory behind acupuncture sounds to me half crazy and half sensible, so maybe John will get a 50% benefit at least.
Meanwhile we are getting in some awesome late rides, each one stolen from the chill grasp of Old Man Winter: