Wednesday, April 04, 2012

chiro notes, and how what we do for our horses helps us as well

This morning our equine chiropractor was set to arrive at 9:30 a.m. The horses and donkeys were all out in the field, happily grazing in the cool of the day. They had spent a good part of the evening hanging out at the barn due to some rain that passed through.

When I went out to get ready, I called to Keil Bay that his chiropractor was on the way and he was going first. For any new readers, Keil Bay is a 16.2 Hanoverian gelding who adores body work. His favorite thing on the earth other than eating is having his chiropractic adjustment.

He looked up instantly from grazing, took one last bite, and headed up to the gate. When the chiropractor drove up in her truck, Keil Bay and I were waiting at the barnyard gate for her. Keil waited with me as she parked and when she opened her door he greeted her with a polite muzzle.

I suspected Keil had a number of adjustments to be done today. He has a few telltale signs that he gives when things are out, and I'd seen several of them this week. She watched him move and then went straight to his pelvis. He relaxed and let her do her work. At one point he went into a sort of trance, lengthening his neck to full extension, licking and chewing. He was out from his pelvic area all the way up to his atlas. There have been a number of huge herd gallops and spooks in the past two weeks, with some fancy footwork happening. In any case, he really needed the work today and as usual he was extremely grateful for it.

Cody went next and although he didn't have quite as much out of whack as Keil did, he too had some big adjustments made. Cody is our PSSM Quarter Horse and he has been a bit off the past week or so. My guess is that the spring grass, plus less work due to daughter's broken toe, plus me cutting back on magnesium and vit. E to check effects have all combined with the chiro issues. He's clear now, I'll add back his full magnesium and vit. E doses, and I've already increased his ALCAR. Hopefully daughter will be back in the saddle soon.

Apache Moon, the pony aka Little Man, was third. He almost never has much going on, as he stretches himself thoroughly on a near-daily basis. Who would have figured a painted pony would know the benefits of yoga? He had two things that needed work and loved getting his leg stretches.

Salina went last, as she usually does, so that I can just let her stay in the barnyard when her work is done. She was out in the field but came in on her own just as the pony was being led out. She had several big things out of alignment and stood quietly because although she doesn't seem to enjoy the bodywork the way Keil Bay does, she understands clearly that what the chiropractor does has good results. She was extremely patient today and walked off looking much improved when she was done.

Rafer Johnson helped supervise and held the lead rope for each horse as they went. Redford wanted nothing to do with anyone that drove up in a truck. After his recent gelding, he is still very skittish about anyone coming to the barn. The donkey boys will get their turn next time around.

It occurred to me today, as it has many times before, how much benefit *I* get from the horses' bodywork. I get my own chiropractic work done regularly, and often my out places match up with Keil Bay's. But as I get each horse ready and stand with them while the chiropractor works, I find myself standing square, feet planted slightly apart, and as they get their adjustments, I feel something clear not only in them, but in myself.

I believe that if we live fully with our horses, as partners instead of leaders or worse, dictators, we share more than just time with them. We share energies and emotions, sore places, and successes. When a rotated pelvic joint gets adjusted on Keil Bay, I feel it when it clears.

When he lowers his head, licks and chews, and relaxes totally, I feel that too.

This sharing is part of why it's so important to take care of ourselves and leave the drama behind when we're at the barn. As exquisitely sensitive as they are to our moods and behaviors, especially when those two things lack congruence, it's almost guaranteed that they will absorb and carry anything we bring to them.

When we take what they give us, let it move through our bodies and down into the earth, or alternately up through us and out the tops of our heads, we not only help them clear, we get clear ourselves.

If we have rigid ideas or thoughts about "how things have to be done" with regards to training, riding, or even just being with our horses, we create blocks and this flow gets hung up. Things get stuck. Energy builds up. Explosions happen. Sometimes the horse explodes. Sometimes the human does. Sometimes both. If you've been around people and horses you've probably seen this many times. A demanding handler creates a difficult horse. Sometimes a demanding handler shuts a horse down. That's probably the sadder of the two circumstances.

Today four of the horses who live with me got clear. One donkey helped and for him, that was his clearing. The other donkey needed space and we respected it. No demanding, no expecting, no explosions. They all got clear, and so did I.


Jessica Keener said...

I learn so much from your beautiful community of horses and donkeys and people. Lovely spirits, all. Thanks for sharing these inspiring, wise details of your life.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

What a cute visual - Rafer holding the lead ropes for everyone, and Redford hot footing it at the sight of the truck. The donkey boys are such a hoot!

Things go much more smoothly for Val and I when give up the agenda, and go with the flow instead.

Glad everyone (you included) got adjusted. Sounds like some very fulfilling (or emptying) barn time. :)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...


New header is heavenly!

billie said...

Jessica, I so appreciate that!! Thank you.

billie said...

C, it was a good morning for all of us.

billie said...

The new header photo was taken by husband this evening just after the storm passed over November Hill. It's the view from the back of the barn, looking out over the arena. It completely captures the way I feel when I look out from the barn and also when I ride out there.

(when I saw the rainbow from the house I said: Keil Bay is the pot of gold! the rainbow ends right in his stall!)

Still lovestruck after all these years with the Big Bay. :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Beautiful new header, it just seems to perfectly capture your philosophy about life at November Hill.

The mental picture I get of Rafer holding the rope and Redford heading for greener pastures is priceless.

I agree with all you've said about clearing our bodies and minds and how what we do affects those around us. Great post.

billie said...

Thanks, A. Rafer Johnson's job is to supervise all things equine - he takes it so seriously, never wandering away to nibble on grass or hay. Yesterday he walked with me each time I took a finished horse to the front field and stood at the gate waiting while I fetched the next one in line. He often comes into the arena while the pony is giving lessons, and when I'm riding.

What makes me laugh and think is how very different he and Redford are. In some ways Redford acts more like a horse than a donkey!