So, having been unable to see Skye for four days, I found her today back to being a little more uncertain and skittish. Only a tiny difference, but it was there. A hesitancy about being caught in the field, which has come from no-where. My lead-rope seemed to have gone walk-about too, so I wonder if she’d needed moving or catching without me and got a bit worried by it. At any rate, I brought her in and thought that if we worked before the McTimoney visit it would release some energy and let her relax for the treatment.
Not so much.
It definitely was a better idea than doing the treatment straight from the field (she’d have been too impatient), but there was such a lot happening on the yard that even though she relaxed quite well she never really switched off her “alert!” setting. There was road surfacing stuff being tipped out of trucks just outside the arena, vehicles, fast motorbikes on the nearby road, and even the sound of a lawnmower, god forbid! Horse wasn’t especially alarmed by these things, just very looky and keen to investigate. Which I mostly let her do. But the lookiness persisted into the bodywork visit. Which wasn’t the end of the world, but I’d have liked it for her if she’d enjoyed the massage a bit more. I’m sure as she becomes more familiar with this stuff she’ll be happier with it. And I’m glad that she showed us what felt strange, by stepping away, fidgeting, or lightly stamping a foot.
But all that is by-the-by, the real reason the four-day break was mildly frustrating is that her posture seemed to have dropped a touch in the interim. Just goes to show, they really do need that consistent work. I suppose the four days off for her is like me having four days of sitting writing or sewing rather than walking and volunteering. It doesn’t seem a lot, but it has a huge impact on your posture and general feeling of health.
Anyway, it was an interesting session! Lots of good done, I hope.
I can’t remember everything, but I’ll make a list of what I can remember for future reference:
- Bit of tightness in muscles behind poll, especially on left-hand side.
- Struggles to bend to right-hand side, through body and neck.
- Trapezius and rhomboid very tight, likewise. I’ve read that over-development or tension of the cervical trapezius can “lock” the scapula somewhat forwards, so this might have contributed to her being so heavy on the forehand. These muscles loosened up as Rachel worked. They’re a place for emotional tension though, which Skye neatly demonstrated today. She wasn’t convinced about the treatment and, as already noted, was having an impatient and slightly tense day, so she stood with her head somewhat up the entire time. Didn’t relax it down like she normally does these days. At any rate, we’ve removed some tension there so hopefully over the next week or so she’ll find it easier and easier to offer that reaching neck posture. She can do it well when standing and walking, but we want it next in trot.
- Brachiocephalic and shoulders overdeveloped, obviously, nothing we didn’t know there.
- Didn’t learn anything new to explain why she occasionally stumbles on the right fore (the one she seems to put more weight through), though I accidentally caught a bit of video footage of her doing so and it seems to be that the toe goes into the ground too soon. So I guess she sometimes isn’t lifting that leg high enough to accommodate the length of stride. Like when you get tired and drag your feet. I couldn’t say why it happens though.
- Dorsal processes of withers into back were laterally curved relative to one another. Like a gentle “S” shape, if you viewed the spine from above. I don’t know enough about it, but I’d guess muscle imbalance pulling things out of alignment? This improved for the session too.
- Back wasn’t too bad, though the right-hand side (beneath where a saddle would sit) showed spasm when the loins of the same side were worked on. Was the spasm coming from the top edge of the latissimus dorsi? Or the thoracolumbar fascia? Or the longissimus dorsi beneath? I’m unsure. This eased too. Left-hand side was okay, if I remember right.
- Pelvis unlevel, left hip dropped. This levelled up quite well during the session, but I’ll keep an eye on it.
- Left hind stepping short, in part due to the above (though which came first, who knows…). She has dragged her left hind toe a few times, so now I know why. Left hamstrings very tight and knotty, think this was the worst area. Which I suppose means that she’s been pushing off with that leg strongly and putting a lot of weight through it, but not been able to let it travel very far under the body, hence the stepping short. This is the leg that has an old injury to the cannon, which could have been related. Hopefully now that it’s been released a bit she’ll be able to step through better, and begin levelling up her musculature.
- Right-hand gluteals quite overdeveloped. Left slightly wasted. The muscle imbalance makes the pelvis look uneven still, so I need to look for bony landmarks when keeping an eye on her.
But, it’s all good news really. There was nothing especially shocking or surprising found, just the usual stuff you might expect from a horse who has been moving on the forehand and in a compensatory way for years. Rachel seemed positive and said I was doing the right kind of work with her.
So, my task now is to continue as before.
Walking, straight lines, poles, reflexes, stretches, proprioceptive bandages, a little bit of lunging, etc. Attempt long-lining again, as straight lines and that “seeking” posture really are the thing. It will be very interesting to see if she has a moment where she realises it might be possible to comfortably reach forward and down in trot. I’m hopeful for her.