Pampered Pony

So, I’ve been trying really, really hard not to let the worst case scenario take over my brain. Some days it works. Other days, not so much.

I’ve begun trying to get to the bottom of his hind end ouchy issues, starting today with the massage therapist. This lovely lady is a friend of a friend’s, and thankfully, she is doing this in exchange for some pictures of her cute little Appaloosa gelding. I had to restrain myself from giving her a full body tackle hug in thanks…I figured injuring the poor woman before she even got a chance to take a good look at Image was a bad move.

I got to the barn and groomed Image within an inch of his life. He is finally showing signs of truly relaxing — he gave me all kinds of happy pony faces when I hit itchy spots, which he hadn’t truly done before. He especially likes having his belly rubbed, which was adorable and a little weird, all at the same time. Then again, he is my horse, so it’s not a surprise that he’s a little, uh, quirky.

He’s mostly shed out now, except for that last stubborn area over his barrel. He is such a shiny black color when he isn’t bleached. The vain part of me wants to scramble for a fly sheet to keep him from bleaching out this summer. The logical part of me knows how ridiculous that is and is forcing the vain part of me to deal with the fact that my little black horse will be a little kinda-sorta-maybe black horse come September.

I finished grooming just as R, with my coworker L in tow, arrived at the barn. They were promptly greeted by the Welcome Wagon — Bruin the little brown mutt, Angel the black and white Pointer/Heeler cross, and Annie the goat. Yes, Annie the goat. She and Bruin are best buddies and they run around the farm all day. It makes for good entertainment, that’s for sure. Annie promptly put herself in the middle of R, L and I, and started inspecting everything she could get herself into:

Helper Goat is helping. Sort of.

After letting Annie inspect her work, R had me walk Image for her. She quickly discerned that his movement was definitely off by watching his hips — his right hip dropped quite a bit lower than his left and his stride was short behind. So, she got to work, starting at his neck and working her way down his body, one side at a time. Image thoroughly enjoyed it, leaning into R’s hands and relaxing to the point that he was nearly asleep. She did find three “troublesome” spots — both sides of his wither were VERY tight, and will take a lot of work to loosen up (bells went off — wither ouchies + saddle = kaboom? Maybe…). He also had multiple tight spots on his rump area that will take a few sessions to get out, especially on his right side (compensating for his left? Not sure). Other than that, there wasn’t anything that set off warning bells for R. Image was a perfect gentleman for all of it, including the spots that were ouchy. The most he did was step away from her pressure if it was too much for him. He really is a good, kind little black horse.

After she was done, I walked him out and he was definitely freer in the hind end. Woo! I did a mental happy dance. R wrote me up a quick outline of everything we did, and scheduled another appointment for the 18th, before the chiropractor comes out.

I did ask her advice on what sort of work, if any, I should be doing at this point. She confirmed that the in hand walks were a great idea, especially because it’ll keep him from stiffening up again. She showed me some tricks to help keep his problem areas a little looser, including how to curry those areas to get the blood flowing during grooming.

It was an extremely informative session and I am left feeling much less in the dark (even though nothing was really figured out) about what is going on with this goofy little horse. He looked so relaxed after the session that I was seriously contemplating looking for a place to get a massage, myself! Then I realized: my horse has had more massages than I ever have…and he’s only had one!

We took a walk down the trails after R left, and he happily walked beside me, his eyes bright with curiosity. We even saw a deer, and he didn’t bat an eye. I, on the other hand, spooked about ten feet sideways. We must have startled it out of hiding at just the right time…I was turned towards Image, taking a picture, when he suddenly picked up his head and stared to the side. The deer ran behind me and scared the bejeebus out of me. Image looked at me like I was nuts.

Which ain’t too far off the mark. Hah!

Just as the words “what are you looking at?” left my mouth, the deer ran behind me. Aiieeee!

We turned around and moseyed back home shortly after that. One heart attack a day is enough for me, thanks. I gave him some cookies and turned him back out, where, for the first time, he chose to stay with me in the paddock instead of immediately walking off to go harass/play with/bully Gus or Rodger.  It wasn’t for very long…but just long enough for him to press nose into my cheek before wandering away. Damn horse made me tear up. Bah!

My allergy meds are kicking in, so I’m going to drag myself upstairs. I’ll relay today’s escapades, tomorrow!

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