It has now been six weeks since Echo first started having the vet look
into her lameness. She has had three doses of shock wave treatment and has been
turned out every day, but has done no more exercise than that. She now has
lateral extensions on her hind feet, at the recommendation of the vet, and is
starting to look like she is moving a little better behind.
She has also had two physio treatments; in the first, the physio found
she was very sore on her right side (the right hind suspensory is the more
damaged) and she loosened that off quite carefully. She came out to treat her
again on Wednesday and found that she is still sore on the right side, although
this is now much more localised.
However, the physio watched her trot up and didn't really think there
was much improvement in terms of her lameness. I think this suspensory injury
has probably been the problem all along, which means that it is pretty
deep-rooted. She has had a good deal of rest over the last year and that
doesn't seem to have worked. I am mulling over the possibility of surgery,
although I will wait for the vet to reassess her before I make any decisions.
However, I have been thinking over the last few days about a slightly
more...holistic approach to her problems.
Some of the people at my yard have become very interested in a lady
called April Battles, and I have spent a long time this evening watching her
videos on youtube. It really is fascinating. I haven't completely got my head
around it yet, but she seems to suggest that a lot of hind end problems start
off further forward and that problems in the first eight ribs, where we think
of as being the horse's shoulder, can be the root of many hind lamenesses. I
can't explain it really without getting it wrong, but the thing that is really
interesting is her 'Yoga for horses', which she uses as both a diagnostic tool
and a treatment. It involves releasing the horse through the areas that will
often be tight and the areas that cannot be loosened by any kind of surface
Here is the long video - it's really really long but well worth watching if you have time.
Now, I know Echo's problem is medical and will need fixing, but I can't
help feeling that I am going to have to do a bit more if I am going to get her
sound again. I have been watching videos from my lesson a couple of months ago
and really looking at the whole of her body and how she is moving and I know
it's easy to tell with hindsight, but she looks terrible! I could hardly watch.
So, I am planning to do the yoga stretches in April Battles's video
every day for a month. I will take some photos along the way so you (and I) can
see if there has been any improvement. Everyone at the yard who has been doing
these has said that it really is working. In the longer video, she talks about
measuring the horse from the centre of the poll to each corner of the mouth - I
am quite interested in this, as Echo's bridle always looks a little odd - I
wonder whether (as April Battles suggests is the case with lots of horses) she
has different lengths. I am also thinking of getting her a new bridle. Perhaps
I am going soft, having been out of the dressage world for so long, but I am
struggling in my mind to justify my clencher noseband and fairly tight fitting
bridle. Echo's comfort has to be my priority and so I shall look into better
I've been having a careful think about the whole blogging thing, and as
I really enjoy writing about our (lack of?) progress, I will keep doing it. I
have been a bit put off writing on the internet in general recently, as it has
been evident that people's agendas for reading are not always that positive. I
think, with blogging, you need to feel that you can write what you want to
write - when it seems like you can't, it becomes a less pleasant experience.
I'm aware that I sound a little cryptic and that explanation was rather convoluted...but
I was just feeling a bit 'on show' in the very public world of blogging -
people can be rather judgemental and in the horse world everyone has different
opinions on how things should be done.
I don't claim that what I am doing is right - in fact, I will often ask
for advice from all of you, as I regularly don't really know what to do... I
have learnt a lot over the years from reading other blogs and asking questions.
I really hope that if someone has any queries about what I'm doing they would ask
- either in person if they know me, or via the comments section on here. I
moderate comments, only because the internet is a funny place and, hiding
behind the cloak of anonymity, people can say some mean things. In the end, we
are all just trying to do the best by the horses that we love.
I don't know if I've fully made the point that I intended to...but
enough of that.
Tomorrow we start the yoga and we start long-reining - so I will
endeavour to take photos and tell you all about it.
These are the exercises I will be working on with her for the next 30 days.