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Crooked Horse - Holiday
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hurleycane
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 Posted: Tue Apr 29th, 2008 04:27 pm
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Hey All!

I am posting some pictures and info about my Holiday (Holly) as I think the issues he and I face are well described in the Woody article.  I hope through sharing these, I will get some critical feed back and learn more, experience more and one day acheive more.  

Below are pictures of Holiday taken in March of this year.  What is hard to see is how much he has improved.  A little bit of history on both of us:

I am a fifty+ non-athletic rider.  My goal is to have a good relationship with my horse, learn, study and understand and experience that "good ride" with my horse at home and on the trail.  I am fortunate (and so is Holly) to have a trainer/advisor who is very proactive with advancing a rider and horse and is also a practicing chiro.  Under her tutelage, Holly and I have had some great rides - and though we are far from consistant and prize winning - I have acheived peak experiences that were close to nirvana fo us both.   We are lighter and more consistant and once in a while fun to the point of tears!!!

Holly caught my attention over the net.  He is a grade TWH.  The trader came by this horse through a quarter horse trader who sells horses "en masse" is how it was explained to me.  So no history per sey on Holiday.  His gait videos showed there were problems in his gait - a skip behind.  His stills showed some issues with conformation, possible recent illness and his left front foot looked to have a problem (was an abscess that has since grown out and had a splint on the right that is smaller now). 

In his promo videos I was drawn to what I saw as a Buddy personality: he seemed easy going, interested but not reactive and not too athletic in build.  We got the price low enough that he eventually made his way to me.   His personality is fantastic and no surprises about the work he and I would have ahead of us.  

Initally, I had him for a month or so at another place where he had 3 colics, dropped significant weight and developed more back problems.  That trainer wanted him to "ride through" his pain.  I stopped the rideing and thought he was a gonner till I moved him to his current location with my trainer.    

Once here, he started with an inverted neck, overly sensitive ears, spasticity from his poll to his tail and he HATED grooming.  We did and still do chiro treatments and back rehab with long lines.  For the first three months we did not ride but worked him in lines getting him toround.  Since then, he has gained weight, developed muscle in the hind, shoulders, gaskins, back and neck.  He was coming along fine under saddle then developed new problems which I think are related to the flex tree saddle that had skewed skirts.  The skirts were high on the left and low on the right.  Saddlle has since been repaired and gone - but I cant help but wonder how much of that saddle problem is still in his picture.  

I work him with long slow warm ups and carefully watch his hips to see if they level up.  I also keep an eye on spasticity - one of the tell tale signs that something is out is he will develop a "dip" just in front of his withers along with a tight muscle in his neck on the front right to his chest.  Amazing thing is this dip will disappear as the chiro treatment is being done.  He is holding his treatments for longer periods and today is better than these pictures.  One of his great mile stones in this journey is he now LIKEs his grooming.

But, he is still a crooked horse as you can see even  though greatly improved from when he came a 1.25 years ago.  In the first picture he is in his usual stance; rib cage protrudes to right.  This can be corrected with a little fingertip pressure on the ribs.   On his fore legs he toes out /elbows in (more on left front than right).  His left hip is higher than right hip.  When he gaits, he wrenches his left hock (it pops just before he picks the foot up).  I do not see the wrench when he trots on the lines.  BTW - he does not 'limp' per sey but he does occassionally "jump" out of gait as if he has stepped on something that hurt or had a spasm.  To me it seems to originate in the right hind.  It usually will throw him into a trot.  He some times corrects with a tip of the head to the left - right - left.

In this 3rd picture he is square on his feet behind and the left hip is high.  It does level up with the slow warm ups (on long lines or under saddle or longe), large circles/serpentines each direction at a dog walk then working walk then trot or flat walk. 

I do understand how improving the muscling through loose balanced work will help his crookedness.  I struggle with understanding why the hip is high? He has no joint inflammation or tenderness, no foot pain.  It seems to come from his core/back more so than his legs. 

BTW I am reading The Birdie Book and appreciate any reference to it.

Thanks for looking at these pictures.  I am looking forward to your criticisms, insights and comments!  I hope to post more pics here as we continue along.

Mary Ann -n- Happy Holiday!

  


 





 



 





Last edited on Tue Apr 29th, 2008 09:39 pm by hurleycane

hurleycane
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 Posted: Sat Sep 5th, 2009 03:51 pm
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Always on here looking for answers and hoping to understand and improve.  This thread below has lead me to more insights:


http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/462.html


The above statements regarding this horse pretty much remain true to this day, though recently he has had more good days than bad.   Thing is he does have some very good days where rides are wonderful, his stride is easy (runwalk).  His turns are never good unless on a large circle greater than 60 feet. 


But I think he does have the malady referenced in the linked thread.  What we run into is back pain/spasms etc.  And I think it is all coming from the hip which is dropped to the right above.

As an example, today when cleaning his feet he snatched the right hind from me rather quickly.  Palpation of the muscling just 2 hands forward of the point of hip found a raised hard  knot which when pressed sent fasiculations up the spine to the whithers.  This is the same hip which drops at times. 

To help him - I took his leg by the hoof - brought it up and as high into the flank as he could do and held it till he sighed ( a few 20 seconds or so).  Then kept it flexed and high and brought it behind him till he sighed - Then sequentially lower and lower repeating this 2-3 times till his foot was on the ground.  The lump was reduced, no more fasciculations and he could easily pick up the foot without snatch.

I have an Xray of the opposite (left) hind that I had done not so much because he was off - but because I was noticing a worsening asymmetry.  Left hind  pastern and foot are larger than the "weaker" and sometimes shorter striding right.  Vet found him sound to flexion on this left and the Xray found a possible bone chip and ring bone on the oblique views.  Not sure how or when this injury happened but he has no limp or pain on that side.

Here is the link to those Xrays: http://s263.photobucket.com/albums/ii144/hurleycane2/Rads%20Left%20Hind%20Aug%2009/

 
Now I think I am understanding that though the hip at times seems to have leveled up, if the sacrum and pelvis are misaligned,  it can never be corrected.  ANd that would explain how the back pain and short striding on the right hind keeps recurring.  

But if it is the sacrum  -  I am wondering though if we can even possibly help him compensate?  IOW if I am asking for nothing other than slow runwalks and am mindful of his comfort - will working him in this maintenance manner with chiro, massage and simple rides be to his benefit??  SHould I add backing exercizes?  Stepping over poles? ANy other stretch/massage techniques?

My next step will be to consult with a lameness specialist to get a definitive diagnosis. 

My eyes - though trying to be educated - may be missing something else.

I will try and get current pics as well.

Thanks Dr Deb and all for all your insights and guidance.

 

 

 

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Sep 5th, 2009 11:18 pm
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Hurleycaine -- Please, let's get away from having the story of your relationship. This is not the board where we do that. I don't have either the time, or the interest.

What you can do is ask me ONE question. One question at a time. Just one. Do not report all your ruminations on my writing. Keep those parts to yourself. But if you have a question, then you can ask a question.

I understand that you are interested and enthused, so if you need to go on and on about your horse or all that you are learning, then there are other places on the Internet where you can girlfriend up and get that satisfaction there. Here, because I am so very busy with all the other questions and all the other work that I have before me, I appreciate the clean, straightforward, stripped-down type of post. Thanks for cutting me some slack. -- Dr. Deb

Annie F
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 Posted: Sat Sep 5th, 2009 11:38 pm
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"I understand that you are interested and enthused, so if you need to go on and on about your horse or all that you are learning, then there are other places on the Internet where you can girlfriend up and get that satisfaction there. "

And wow, don't we need to do that sometimes...LOL

I'm about to pose a question on another topic and I had such a fun ride today, when my question arose, that I was planning to gush for a few paragraphs at least about my horse and me, and how special she is, before I asked it. Mary Ann, thanks for eliciting this reminder from Dr. Deb to get down to business :-).

(And what a beautiful color Holly is!)

Annie F

hurleycane
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 Posted: Sun Sep 6th, 2009 01:09 pm
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My 4/29/08 was a pretty tedious post.  And as well was yesterdays.  So my short version is this:

Holiday's right pelvis is at times lower, right hind will short stride, right foot and pastern are smaller.  Turns to the right are stiff.  He grabs the right side of the bit.  Right back spasticity comes and goes. When present it is a hard knot appx two hands forward of the point of right hip.  WHen pressed, this knot sends faciculations up the spine to the withers.

The spasticity is the symptom of the problem. 

My million dollar question:

If the problem turns out to be a pelvis that has slipped out of position, are my efforts (massage, chiro) for rehab to even sympathetic casual riding (slow runwalk being the max effort) going to be futile and wrought with unending expenses and discomfort for the boy?

Thanks and apologies~


 

hurleycane
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 Posted: Sun Sep 6th, 2009 01:14 pm
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Annie - Thanks for the humor - I love a good exuberant read!  He is an ivory champagne - pretty when washed - has a pearlescent sheen like an opal.   I saw it as a negative when I bought him - as you can see he is usually dusty and soiled!

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Sep 6th, 2009 10:58 pm
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Hurleycaine -- you just need to go and learn how to ride. As for most people, it is a brand-new thought to you that there is a connection between how you ride and how other people who rode your horse before you owned him, and the exact particular physical development of the animal.

The fact that you are interested in "gaiting" does not help. As with Rob V., who like you is a most sincere and interested student, looking at your photos I am going to have to advise forbidding gaiting altogether for the time being. Perhaps forever. If the horse does not trot or canter, then you are going to be doing all your work with him at a walk (a walk in all its ten thousand varieties and forms).

Horses get into the sort of shape yours shows because they carry chronic tension in the long muscles of their back and neck. So that you own the horse for more than one year and that tension is still there is what tells me that you need to go and learn how to ride. Of course he's difficult to turn. Of course he short-strides. The problem is not that; the problem is that you don't know how to fix it -- and these are relatively simple fixes. But they are IMPOSSIBLE fixes for someone who has not had any instruction in actually how to ask a horse to turn so that he turns without tension.

Twice, now, you have "promised" to go see Tom Curtin or Harry, and have not gone. Several times you have also prefaced your posts by saying something like "I am an older rider" or "I am not a real athletic rider." I think there is a connection between those two events, no matter what reasons you may have given for not immediately going to get competent instruction. I think you don't want to make a fool of yourself or look bad in public. Too bad, Hurleycaine; it's either you, or your horse here, isn't it?

So if you care about your horse, you will get up tomorrow morning, call Tom Curtin's number, and make your appointment to be there.

There are probably forty different threads by now in this Forum that would contain dozens of pages of important information relevant to the exact questions you are asking and the answers that you seek. They are here but you do not see them. Neither will you be able to see them until you go spend several clinics with Tom or Harry or Joe or Buck or others whom we recommend. -- Dr. Deb

 

hurleycane
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 Posted: Mon Sep 7th, 2009 01:14 pm
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Me being the problem is indeed a relief.  I do work with a "friend" who has brought me a long long way and thus helped him tremendously.  Her insights and observations reflect those of the good folks here.  In fact, we just had 2 good months of pain free work and pretty good right turns.  Then the spasticity problem came up again.  It was its return that made me worry of the slipped pelvis.

And if embarrassment were the deterrant, the delicious humble pie of each session with my friend and each posting here makes the 'real ride' worth the blush and tremble. 

Several clinics with Tom Curtin...   Check!

 

Last edited on Mon Sep 7th, 2009 01:16 pm by hurleycane

RobVSG
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 Posted: Mon Sep 7th, 2009 09:58 pm
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I just happened to see this.

DrDeb wrote:
As with Rob V., who like you is a most sincere and interested student, 
 

LOL!!!

Dr Deb, you just have no idea. If you lived within a 100 mile radius of my home, I'd be at your house everyday trying to pick your brain about horsemanship. You'd be so sick of me you'd lock your doors and hide when you see me coming.

meant in humor,

Rob

 

Indy
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 Posted: Mon Sep 7th, 2009 10:46 pm
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Mary Ann,
If I lived in Florida, I'd be at Tom Curtin's house a lot. I got a lot out of time time at the clinic I attended. I am wishing I could go to the Harry Whittney clinic in Virginia. Is anyone going?
Clara

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Sep 7th, 2009 11:41 pm
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Hurleycaine -- so OK, if you are obtaining regular help locally, then you must be in a position to tell me how you create the conditions by which you can turn your horse without tension, in other words so that by having turned him you cause any tension that may have been in the long muscles of the back or neck initially, to release.

You see, if you really knew how to do this -- kind though I expect your local helpers are -- there would not be any continuing or recurring problem with the horse. He would not short-stride to any noticeable degree, and he would not be difficult to turn at any time.

So I think there are two problems here -- one is, for whatever reason you are not beating on Tom Curtin's door, and two, you don't know THAT you don't know. Sometimes that is the most difficult thing a teacher has to get across -- the student believes she is really pretty much OK, when in fact the teacher sees that she is very far from where it would be good for her to be.

This is what will be brought home to you when you start attending clinics with people who are not only kind, as your local folks are, but more knowledgeable, or have a more broad-based kind of knowledge and some skill in sharing it. -- Dr. Deb

hurleycane
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 Posted: Tue Sep 8th, 2009 02:30 pm
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Good news...  I know I don't know.  I even know what I don't know.  Still can't twirl a head to save my life.   

To turn him... right and rightly "in the groove" -  I let him know we are going to change - settling in my seat, lift my sternum,  simultaneously turn my head, bringing my torso in the twist (not a lean) which passively engages my left leg and opens my right. 

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Sep 9th, 2009 12:18 am
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Hurleycaine -- might there be anything that you might need to pay attention to, or be sure of having, before you engage all these movements or non-movements with your body? Remember I did not say 'how do you turn a horse' but rather 'how do you get HIM to turn without tension.'

When you figure this out, you will also figure out how to twirl the head. Because twirling the head is a physical maneuver, yes, but its causes or preconditions are mostly non-physical.

It is to get the non-physical, far more important stuff, that I want you to go see Tom Curtin as soon as possible. -- Dr. Deb


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