Paige has seen her fair share of the spotlight here on the blog lately between being pregnant and the only horse I ride with any frequency (frequency…hahahah) during the winter months. I’d like to say that Copper has been enjoying his time off since his mystery lameness/winter, but he tends to be the time of horse that seems, not necessarily happy, but more mentally and emotionally well adjusted when in work.
If you’ve followed my blog for long, you’re probably aware that, for the last several years, Copper has lost lots of weight during the winter months. I’m glad to report that that most certainly hasn’t been the case this winter, and in fact, he’s heavier now than he was in the summer/fall of 2016.
In previous years my strategy has been to separate him from the mares (hay hogs that they are), pour high quality grain plus a weight supplement at him, and keep him in with the mini donkeys. This worked better than NOT separating him from the mares, but he still struggled to maintain weight in spite of the amount of grain and free choice hay he was receiving. He’d had his teeth checked and floated, but that only seemed to allow a small improvement. He didn’t show any symptoms of having ulcers and my vet dubbed him “rangy” and said that I’d just always have to push the food to him.
The answer to the question that has haunted me for the last three years? Chiro. Here in SWVA, we’re slowwwww to catch onto any “new” theory/technology/ideology, including chiropractic work for horses (and hell, probably humans too for a lot of people around here…). My vet kind of snorted when I told him that I was going to try it and see how it went, but I’m glad that I tried it, because this is what my horse looks like right now you guys:
Both times that the chiro has come out, his jaw (and his hips…) has been out of alignment. I’ve always thought his weight loss was directly related to being able to chew long strands of hay, but while his teeth weren’t the issue, it seems to be his jaw. So, despite the fact that he’s not a fan of the actual chiro visit, the after effects are enough to have me scheduling it for him on a regular basis.
Sorry for the ugly screenshot, but do you see that crease between his hips? As you can probably also tell…he was kind of wild on the lunge line the other day. As in, I dropped my lunge whip (which I usually need…) to hold the line with both hands because he was a bit of a rocket on a string. I lunge him in the same area/field that we ride in that has been empty the last few weeks, so once I got his attention focused back on me, I stopped him and unclipped the lunge line to let him really stretch his legs. Crazy horse cantered around like a fool for a while, then saw the mares at the top of the hill and went to talk to them a bit before I brought him back in to feed him and put him in his paddock.
I am having a psychological battle with myself though. Previously friends who know Copper have made statements like “he’s only behaving for you because he’s not at 100%” regarding his transition from bronc to solid citizen over the last couple of years when he hasn’t been at full weight/fitness. So now I’m questioning that logic myself…can I only have his mind or his body (rotfl at this sentence…), but not both working together? Will he launch me to the stars once he starts back into work (providing we figure out the long running NQR…)? I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I’m glad he’s cute and chunky.