Sunday, November 25, 2007

Check out with the Chiropractor

Every quarter, I take Brego to my vet to get checked out and visit the traveling chiropractor. My vet is very good, but the chiro is pure genius. I get chills watching him work, seeing the obvious enjoyment in Brego's face, and knowing that tomorrow Brego will move noticeably better. My chiro is also very knowledgeable and opinionated in all things equine, including not just osteopathy, but dentistry, hoofs, saddle fit. He's worked all over the world, for some very big name riders, so I trust his opinion a lot.

Last time I saw him, he said Brego was "fine" but he wanted to see him bigger. After my dressage instructor freaked out two weeks ago about how big he was getting, I thought that he just might be big enough for my chiro. I was also concerned that all the heavy work Brego has been doing this fall would tell through his joints and I would get a lecture. I did get a lecture, but it was not quite what I expected.

I got there just in time to see the horse ahead of me get worked up. My chiro gave a tongue lashing to the poor Andalusian owning people, about how the saddle didn't fit, he had poor teeth, his jaw was a mess, his sacrum was a mess, etc.

Yikes! What would he say about my perhaps not quite big enough, hard working boy?

The first thing the chiro said to me was "Is this the horse you brought before?" Surprised, I said, "Yes, you've seen him before." I thought for sure he would have remembered Brego. My chiro has remembered individual cracks in horse's hooves before. He looked him up and down and said, "I had to look twice, I can't believe how much he has changed." He then went on to comment on his musculature, his coat, his conditioning, how it has all improved and congratulated me on making such a difference in a short amount of time. This is very high praise!

He took pictures of Brego to compare to the originals since he couldn't believe how good he looked. He told me that what things he did find in the exam were typical of any horse in work, nothing to be worried about, just bring him back to maintain him. He made a point of telling me to keep doing what I was doing, Brego was looking great. Oh, but he could be a bit bigger. :)

That's when I dropped the bomb that Brego was jumping. To say he was disappointed would be an understatement. He then gave me the lecture about how he was too heavy, it would crush him, he's not meant to jump. I told him I was jumping 2'6". Then my vet jumped in to say that was not very high. My chiro wavered and said, "Fine, it's good for his brain, but no higher!" Well, there ya have it. Doctor's orders. We are officially capped at 3' (which is a bit higher, but come on, Brego canters around a field bigger than 3' without jumping anything).

He also gave me some good tips on trimming Brego. His feet are a constant issue since they tend to be very flat. Although he is completely sound barefoot, he still has a lot of flaring from two years ago. Finally, I asked that they measure his height, since he seemed larger, and draw a new coggins with his new show name, all ready for the Spring 08 season. Brego measured out at 16.3 3/4 hands. Which means he's grown, either skeletally or muscularly, about 2 inches since I have owned him. Go, Brego!

It was a relief to a get a clean bill of health after Brego's recent back stiffness and to get validation that the diet and conditioning program were working well to get him fit but not overdoing it. The last thing I want is to tear him down when he is still pretty young. Brego will get another day off and then we'll start some light hacking. Perhaps I will even get to finally try that KK Ultra bit!

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