Saturday, November 3, 2012

There is no placebo effect in horses

The chiropractor finally came and adjusted Trilogy on Thursday, and I am hugely relieved (and I assume he is, too).

When I first got Ana, I heard about various folks using a wide variety of what seemed questionable practices on horses.  "Woo-woo" is a good way to describe my impression of a lot of them, and equine chiropractice was right up there with some of the woo-woo-iest.  Seriously?  Chiro on a horse?  Y'all be trippin', yo.  But, Ana's significant one-sidedness--she cantered incredibly crooked on her left lead, with her head up high and cocked to the outside--had many people suggesting I try it.  Oh, FINE.  I shall try a bit of woo-woo.

Dr. Butch Quay came and did an initial eval on her, and it was like John Edwards doing a psychic reading.  Without me saying anything, he looked her over and said, "I see.  So she is very crooked when she canters?"  Me: "Yes."  Doc:  "And she can't maintain a circle going to the left--she falls in on that shoulder?"  "...YES!"  "And this right hind leg is hitchy sometimes?  Stiff, drags it out behind?"  "WTF? YES!"  Then he had me stand on a stool behind her so I could look down and see her two incredibly asymmetrical shoulders.  One was healthy and round and muscular, while the other was very flat and obviously weak.

After that, I watched as Butch went over her and found an area of very tight painful spasm behind her left elbow, among other things, and then he adjusted her--which was a bit odd to see.  For one, there is none of that noisy Rice Krispies snap-crackle-pop going on; because horses have horizontal, not vertical, vertebrae, their bodies react differently.  Ana looked confused, but was willing, and at the end she was markedly relaxed.  Butch then explained it appeared Ana had had some sort of significant shoulder injury years before I bought her, or perhaps had been ridden at length in a saddle with a broken tree.  I was stunned.  He had read her like a book.

I then followed his prescribed orders, and within 3 months, I had a completely different horse.  WTF?  How did this...woo-woo work?  But  Wuhl...  :::throws hands in the air:::  There is no placebo effect in horses.  She felt better and moved better because it works.  Woooooo.

So, when I saw Tril's very obviously crooked back end--the point of one hip is almost an inch higher than the other--and his crooked tail (he carries it off to the side), I knew he would need chiropractic care when I bought him.  Butch was incredibly difficult to find and schedule in May-June, so I finally opted for another chiro who works on horses at the track.  He did a good enough job, but he wasn't as thorough as Butch.

So when Tril started stumbling behind and cross-firing in the last few weeks, I knew something was off and it was time to try and get a hold of a chiro.  I still wanted Butch, even though he had been impossible to schedule before.  But Thursday, he came out, and so did the story of May-June.  His wife, who does all of his scheduling, had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had her double mastectomy in May.  Yeah, okay, I completely understand her not getting back to me after my many phone calls.  We're cool, we're cool.  Yikes.  (She is doing very well now and appears cancer-free.  Woot!)

So with that jaw-dropper out of the way, Butch began his assessment.  I'll post that part's a lengthy blog in and of itself.

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