Spooks is an absolute pig when it comes to mud...
I haven't seen many horses that love to wallow in it as much as he does. Oh sure, they all like to get down and roll around in the mud...but he wallows and then just lays in it.
He had to have a bath before I could even saddle him.
Today was the first day that Spooks has ever picked up his left lead without me having to employ some sort of stop and roll-back tactic. It surprised me so much that I almost rated him down and employed the stop and roll-back before I realized he had the correct lead off of my cue.
I always start with preparing him and giving him the cue. Just checking you know. Gotta give them the opportunity to do it right to see if they are actually learning anything. LOL
Thinking it was a total accident (although, still a break-through), I let him lope a complete circle, rated him down, trotted for a few strides and asked again. He almost didn't pick it up the second time, but at the last second, he lifted off in the left lead again.
That only took almost a year to accomplish. (Sheez)
Here's the thing...Every since last summer when Megan decided she didn't care to ride Spooks and I took him over, I have been working out different issues on the horse. His teeth (which weren't as bad as we thought they probably were), his feet, I had an old scar on the inside of his hock checked to make sure that wasn't hindering his ability to lift that leg properly, his feed, and his body condition. As I have worked through each 'issue' that I thought was causing his inability to properly lift that hip to engage that lead...I have worked from the ground up. Til the only thing I could think of was the problem was something going on in his hip. It has been in my plans to get the chiro to work on him and do some accupuncture. Since I seem to keep missing her, I talked to my farrier about using his electro-magnetic gizmo-thingie-ma-bob. He uses it on all of his reining horses to alleviate soreness problems.
Last week, I looked at my bottle of DMSO and thought about trying that on Spooks' hips and shoulders. I have done a lot of reading on the uses of DMSO since I broke down and used it on Beretta's knee. I was still a little hesitant to use the stuff on anything but the legs, but finally decided that I would try massaging some of that into Spooks' hips and see. It was nice enough that day that I figured if it made him too uncomfortable, I could wash it off.
Boy, it sure enough did heat up over his hips and he kept looking back there, like 'What the heck is going on?', but he didn't seem terribly uncomfortable. I left him tied up there while I saddled another horse, still no other reaction besides looking at his butt. So I turned him in the pasture. He took off trotting, jumped and kicked out to the side (being a brat) and promptly dropped and rolled. I watched him for a while longer, but after he rolled, he just went to grazing, so I rode the rest of the horses. By the time I got him up for the evening, there was no longer any heat where I had applied the DMSO and he seemed to be walking quite free.
Soooo...I don't know if the magic of DMSO finally helped break up the tightness across Spooks' hips or if everything else I have been doing finally kicked in? A combination? I don't really know...but I rubbed his hips with it again after riding him today and will have to see if he continues to gain ground. I don't think it's something I want to do everyday....maybe once or twice a week? But maybe I won't have to spend another $150 on getting him worked on by someone else.
It's kind of amazing really if this ends up helping that much. I've read all kinds of testimonials about how DMSO has helped people and animals with inflammation, arthritic problems, bursitis, splints, bone chip pain, etc, etc. The heat alone is intense and deep penetrating. One of the claims is that it increases circulation. Since it is a 'carrier', it seems to scavenge and carry the bad stuff out of affected joints as well. Maybe it really did take something as strong as the DMSO to start breaking up the tightness in Spooks' muscles. I know the Vetrolin massages I was giving him sure didn't seem to help much. I'd noticed a mild improvement in his shoulders, but nothing across his hips.
I don't seem to be affected by the 'garlic' taste many people seem to get. All I get is a slight metallic taste. I know one thing...I used it on my aching wrists one time and bam...the pain was gone and has stayed gone. I still use gloves to apply it to the horses though. Interesting that all of these years, I have avoided the stuff because of it's intensity and the warnings about it and now I am finding it to be so beneficial. I guess those 'old guys' knew what the heck they were doing after all. ;-)