Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I made a doctor's appointment last week. The sort one is afraid to tell their husband about. No, I'm not pregnant.

I made a chiropractic appointment for my horse.

While my non-horse Honey is unfailingly supportive in my equestrian pursuits, he can only take so much.

Though a natural skeptic, I come from a long line of alternative health seekers. It was inevitable that it leaked into the care of my horses. It all started with my grandfather. Born in 1898, in a sod house on the plains of Colorado, Grandpa was from the old school, literally. But when it came to health the man was ahead of his time. It started when he became a vegetarian as a young man--long before this was trendy--and he maintained a lifelong obsession with health and longevity. Grandpa experimented with things like accupressure, health "spas" in Mexico, fasting, and herbs of every sort. You could smell him long before you saw him. One of my favorite memories of Grandpa was him in his 80's, gathering wheat grass to blend into a chartreuse slurry he downed with no problem. A white haired wizard stooped over the blender. We all laughed at Grandpa's herbal adventures. He had the last laugh though, living to the ripe age of 102.

My mother, a registered nurse for all of her life, followed Grandpa's example. Mom has healed a falty gall bladder with weeks of putrid smelling herbs, used all sorts of tinctures, massage, accupuncture, chiropractic care and, my favorite, a device she strapped to herself that emitted a frequency purported to kill parasites living in her body. I've laughed many a time at Mom's expense. Now she's the one laughing.

"Are you going to put the drops under his tongue?" Mom didn't even try to contain her giggles when I told her about the herbal tinctures I purchased for Tango in hopes of supporting his sometimes faulty respiratory system.

"Not exactly. I put it in his grain." I grimace, knowing full well I deserve her good natured ribbing.

Then Chance came along. This horse continues to surprise and amaze me. Recently, however, he has exhibited unusual behavior when loping to the right. While he will innitially pick up the lead, he seems to only be able to hold it for a few strides before tilting his head (counter bending), breaking gait, and/or bucking. He lopes normally to the left. While in my care, Chance has fallen on the lunge line and also in the trailer so my hunch is something is going on in his spine that is affecting movement (and making him cranky). I'm looking forward to his appointment in two weeks and some insight into this behavior. I have, thus far, avoided telling my mother or my husband about it.

Had luck with alternative care for your horses? I'd love to hear about it.

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