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Wizard Session 71; JR Session 26: Pain in My Gluteus Maximus

April 9, 2009

Nanny Cam for Horses

Every few days, my barn buddy Cathy sends me photos of Wizard and JR during the day while I’m at work. Here’s her latest photo of the two hooligans. I find it very amusing that I can keep tabs on them while I’m in the office- reminds me of the nanny cams that people install in their houses.

Wednesday, 4/8/09

So my wool saddle pad theory was all wrong :^/

I hand grazed Wizard for about 20 minutes before I rode today. The air is cool and lows tonight are in the 30s. From the beginning of the evening, Wizard’s body language was tight. He was ticklish and sensitive about grooming and a little jumpy outside- not spooky, just kind of on edge. When we were done, I put him back in his stall with some Alfa Supreme for 30 minutes. I left the Thermatex cooler on him while he ate, hoping that the warm wool might loosen up his cold muscles a little bit.

I longed JR in the indoor arena. Little yellow fellow is feeling FRISKY! He was pretty mellow at first but when he broke from a trot to a canter, he EXPLODED into playful bucks and once again, I felt like a deep sea fisherman wrestling a marlin. I’ll have to tack him up next time if I want a more serious longeing session- he was in a halter today. He trotted a few times over some ground poles and he was very willing and round. Good boy! Our longeing session lasted about 20 minutes, including warmup.

I put JR to bed and tacked up Wizard. He was still sensitive, even when I put his plushy saddle pad on his back (no more wool for him). I kept the cooler on him and took it off once he was warmed up a bit at the walk on the longe line. The footing was a little hard and dry but Wizard looked pretty good on the longe- I longed him for about 10 minutes, just walking and trotting. I longed him because I wanted to see if he worked out of the tightness I was seeing.

Sarah showed up for our lesson and I explained Monday’s ride. I mounted up and Sarah asked us to do a long, easy warmup at the walk on a very loose rein. After several minutes of walking, she asked us to trot on a loose rein. BACK went Wizard’s ears again! We had not trotted a full circle before Sarah said, “He’s hurting” and asked me to dismount.

I took off my saddle and she ran a line of pressure down both sides of his back to feel for soreness since he looked to be backsore rather than sore in his legs. Back seemed pretty good, but when she got to his left hip and hamstring, she found the root of the cause: a big knotted muscle. This is the same injury the chiropractor felt when she worked on him. I was a) impressed with Sarah’s judgment and diagnostic skills and b) relieved that it was the same thing we’ve noticed before.

Sarah and I walked Wizard back to the barn and she showed me some massage techniques to help break up the tight muscle tissue, rubbing and currying in even circles in the direction of the hair. Wizard let us know exactly how he felt about it by yawning and chewing contentedly. Yawning is seen as a release of toxins by some equine practitioners.

So now that we know that Wizard’s left hamstring is sore, what can be done and how did it happen?

Fibrotic myopathy requires surgery in its more severe cases, but can be relieved with massage, acupuncture, and laser therapy. I plan to call the chiropractor out in the next week or two to see if she agrees with this possibility and to see how she thinks we can address it.

How did Wizard get a sore hamstring? I believe that it’s an old injury but it seems like it gets sore sometimes. On Sunday night, he was playing and galloping in the outdoor arena and perhaps he pulled it in the deeper footing (footing is not as deep indoors). He also has a rowdy new equine neighbor who has been leaving bites on Wizard and they might have been rearing or wrestling.

Honestly, I’d rather work on something like this than a leg or hoof issue so I’m relieved that Sarah diagnosed the issue. Now he just needs a little pampering until he no longer has a pain in the butt :^)

Check out the silly sign I found in a local antique store- it’s now proudly hanging on Wizard’s stall door :^)

The Wizard

4 Comments leave one →
  1. oregonsunshine permalink
    April 9, 2009 10:50 am

    I love the sign!

    I’ve been going through some of the same issues with Casey. He came to me with a hip problem. After many adjustments and some massage, he’s able to work. Our only issue now is that we don’t know how long his hip was out and he seems to have some residual pain memory because he does not like that area touched at all.

    Glad Wizard has two lovely Sarah’s to take such good care of him!

  2. April 9, 2009 6:40 pm

    that sign is AWESOME. Hope wizard recovers quickly!
    btw-been reading your blog for a while- love the stunning photographs and updates on the training!


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