Coming to the realization that there could be something seriously wrong with my horse, I made an appointment with my equine chiropractor. I explained to him that Radar had been racing in southern California for three years and that he had made quite a bit of money but was retired after the suspensory ligament injury. He checked his leg and thought it had healed well. There was a bit of thickening, which is to be expected, but he didn’t seem bothered by it too much.
Moving on to his back, he discovered various stuck or out of place vertebrae from Radar’s poll to his tail and he had a couple of ribs that were out of place. For a horse who had raced as hard as he did for three years, none of this was unusual and Dr. Mike was able to get everything back into alignment. What really shocked all of us, however, was the discovery that there was a vertebra in his low back that was flipped on its side. While the doctor was able to adjust the bone and get it back in place, he said that this was obviously the reason for his explosive behavior on both occasions. In fact, he said he couldn’t believe anyone was able to get on his back at all, let alone ride him. That understanding alone should tell us the kind of heart this horse has in him. He was obviously in some serious pain and yet he continued to train with barely a complaint. Who does that? Yes, this horse was special and I somehow knew that the first time I laid eyes on him.
After it sank in that there was a possibility I would never ride this horse again, I asked my chiropractor what our next steps should be and whether or not he felt there was a future for Radar as something other than a pasture ornament. Considering he was able to right the wayward vertebra, Dr. Mike felt with the proper strengthening exercises, good nutrition and some massage therapy there was a possibility Radar could be ridden someday—assuming that vertebra stayed put in its proper position. If we couldn’t keep that bone in place, then there would be no future for Radar as a riding horse.
After his major chiropractic adjustment, I left Radar alone for a couple of weeks for lots of down time and an opportunity for his muscles and ligaments to adapt to new bone positions. As the days wore on, he seemed better to me, his eyes were softer, and he didn’t exhibit the agitation he displayed just weeks earlier.
Once I began putting Radar back to work on the lunge line, his sporadic lameness issues came roaring right back. Some days he would be off on his right leg, and the next day it would be his left. He wasn’t earth-shattering lame, just slightly “off” and it was never consistent. I continued working him with an eye toward strengthening that back, but the leg lameness thing was driving me absolutely crazy. It was time to put a call in to the folks at Evolutionary Hoofcare. We needed to get to the root of this problem once and for all, and I believed that these were just the guys I needed to get the job done.
Come back next week to learn more.