(happily humming...) 'On the road again, oh, I just can't wait to get on the road again.'
Getting ready to pull out for a 3 day weekend of rodeos. I was very fortunate to get my first preferences at this little string of rodeos...Cortez, CO, Price, UT and then on up to Herriman, UT. It will actually be a relaxing set. One rodeo each day and then home on Sunday.
I do have to chuckle though...I am on the bottom of the ground at every single rodeo. The last one or the next to last to run every time. Most girls look at that as a detriment. In Moon and I's case...it seems to help us a little. It gives us a track to follow, so to speak. All I have to do is remember to ride to that little bit wider entrance at the beginning of the turn and then let Moon find the track and he banks those turns like a NASCAR. LOL. These are also huge (standard sized) patterns. I checked results from last year and it was times in the high 17's and low 18's that won money. Pretty much what that means is all I gotta do is leave the barrels standing and as long as we don't get stuck in some deep ground...I think we have a good chance at placing. :-D
I had the chiro over to work on Moon and Bugs last night. It's not really my favorite thing to do, having a horse worked on right before hitting the road...I much prefer 3-4 days in advance so their muscles have time to relax and the adjustment can 'set in', but timing just hasn't been on my side lately.
Moon did need a couple of small adjustments to his mid-back, but the big one...and the one that was unusual was the fact that his right hip was out. Usually it's his left. I suspect he popped the right one out because since I changed my riding style, he has really been setting into that 1st barrel and snapping around it. I knew he was a little sore on that hip after the first few runs we made like that, but I sort of expected that since he was using those muscles more. Funny thing is, I always thought Moon turned his first barrel pretty good, but since I've been letting him really get in the ground and snap around it, I realize just how much he was actually 'floating' around the turn before. That hip is the likely reason he didn't set in and really snap around that barrel last Saturday. I thought it was just the deep ground (it really did feel like we were running in quicksand) and he just got stuck a little, but it was probably the hip.
Anyway, he is all fixed up and I put him on herbal bute to help alleviate any muscle soreness he may feel. There will be lots of stretching and hand-walking this weekend to keep him from tightening up. Thankfully, the trailer rides are short. Three hours to the first one, four hours to the 2nd and 3 hours to the last one. It will be a long ride home (6 1/2 hours), but I'll turn him out when I get home and he can walk and graze and stretch himself out. Then the chiro will be back on Monday to make sure he is still in.
I have been struggling with my little sorrel horse, Bugs as well. My farrier flexed him for me and determined that he was #1-tight and a bit sore over the SI and #2-very sore in the low motion joint of his hock. We presumed he was fusing in that hock. As a 12y/o, that would be about right, not to mention that Bugs has had to work through a lot of joint stiffness and lack of mobility due to being grotesquely obese for so many years. Anyway, I was treating Bugs' hock the same way I treated Moon's when they were fusing and he was not getting any better. In fact, he seemed to be more uncomfortable than ever. He almost always has that right leg cocked and it's not because he is relaxing. You can just tell, it' hurts!
Finally though, Bugs has lost enough weight that I could see what the problem was....He has a pretty significant hump in his mid-back and a big hollow spot in his SI area. NO BUENO!!! I eased off of his riding big-time and just had to wait until I could get the chiro out to start fixing him.
Sure enough, he was significantly jammed up in the mid-back (just in front of the SI) and his pelvis was very rotated. Withers, neck and poll needed some adjusting as well. My chiro made me laugh...He looked at Bugs and told me, 'Geez, I should have eaten my Wheaties.' The chiro earned his pay this time. It took a lot of rubbing, stretching and massaging to get Bugs loosened up enough to get anything to move. It's definitely going to take several more adjustments to get Bugs lined out and to get the adjustments to stick. He's in about the same shape that Spooks (the black horse) was in when I first started having him adjusted last year. After so many years of being out of alignment, the muscles just seize up around those areas as a form of protection and it takes a lot of work to get them tore apart and freed up again. Anyway, I had been contemplating injecting Bugs' hock, but the chiro thinks it is just compensatory pain from the hip misalignment and that as we get that freed up, the hock will get better.
Glad to hear that. I didn't relish having to resort to hock injections, but it was either that or just stop trying to do anything with the horse because continuing to ride him was just making him more and more uncomfortable...
LOL...But you guys know me, once I know there is a problem...I have a hard time turning a blind eye. I would have at least fixed him so he could be comfortable in his day to day life, even if he didn't turn into a barrel horse. I think he is gonna though. He runs so much like Moon that it is a little eerie. Level topline, big old long strides, quick footed (which is pretty amazing for a horse of his bulk) and he is really setting into his 2nd and 3rd barrels and turning them. I just didn't/couldn't push him much on the 1st barrel because I knew he was hurting on that side. One thing about Bugs, I won't have to worry about his stifles. Bugs is made so much better through the stifle than Moon is and I can really feel the difference when he pushes off. Bugs feels more in control, whereas Moon just rockets out.
After figuring out how to ride Moon, Bugs should be easy. He is less maneuverable though and while that will get some better, but I don't expect it to improve a whole lot. At least not side to side. He's built like a brick and that will never change, no matter how good of shape his in. All I can do is continue to work on getting his alignment right, get him as limber as possible for a horse of his stature and put him in the right spot to turn and let him handle the rest. It's working on Moon, so I'm hoping it works on Bugs as well.