A visit from the physio

Last week Henry finally had the physio come out for a visit. I had contacted her as soon as I worked out what his issue was and got him booked in, but our covid lockdown meant that we had to reschedule.

I’m not sure if I have talked much about this physio before, since this is only her third time visiting us. She is a human qualified physio who works locally to us, who also did an animal physio course in the UK so she is one of the few certified animal physios in WA. This is very important to me, as I feel like truly qualified professionals are more likely to pick up underlying issues and look at the whole picture. Maddie is also a qualified saddle fitter, works with my vet to rehab horses, and runs rehab programs from her property. Basically, she ticks all my boxes in terms of qualification.

Last time Maddie came out Henry was so much looser through his body, his stance was better, and he had fewer areas to be worked on. There were still some problem areas, but overall, he was a more comfortable horse. Given that his sore back seems to have largely been resolved by encouraging him to work over his back on the lunge and he has now had nearly a month off I thought he would be similar to last time. I was very wrong.

Henry was so tight in his hip flexors, his quarters, and loins. The right was much worse than his left but both were bad. He was massaged and needled, and briefly looked at his saddle fit. We have decided she will come back once I am riding him again to assess his saddle fit, and she is also coming back out on Tuesday to redlight him and use TENNS on him. I also have some stretches to do with him, and I plan on doing some ground work with him over the next week or so, because the horse needs a job (that’s not belting around the paddock like a total twit). Maddie thought he could well have torn a muscle given his reactivity. It would make sense given how he was seemingly fine one moment and not able to trot the next.

While Maddie was working on him, I explained what had happened originally when he first hurt himself. Maddie was saying that she recently read some new research that shows trotting uphill causes extreme pressure through the quarters and can cause muscle sheering, and that walking or cantering uphill would prevent this. Maddie was going to dig the article out, and I might go search too, as trotting up hills is something we do a lot of for fitness and if it’s going to cause injury, I need to know about it! If it is the case I am going to have to change our fitness work, as most of our trotting is up very steep hills, which would only add to the risk.

One thing that was reassuring was he wasn’t at all tight around his wither where the saddle sits, where he currently has his sores. This was reassuring but doesn’t help me work out what caused them in the first place, especially given he didn’t seem to have any issues under saddle prior to the issue becoming apparent to me. Hopefully having Maddie look at my saddles will help resolve any further problems.

I am so glad Maddie came out to assess Henry, and that we have a plan moving forward. Given his current rate of healing for the sore, I think it will be at least another week until I am back on board. Once I am I will arrange for her to come and look at my saddles and do any follow up physio he needs. Anything for the pony really. I need him back feeling tiptop ASAP.


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