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Watch out for the subtle signs

I was in Bolton yesterday and saw one of my regular clients Reggie. He is a very smart little cob who since my previous visit had been to two inhand showing classes and ended up finishing 5th, 3rd and even won one of his classes.

Despite only being booked in for a routine check up, to say he needed a treatment was an understatement.

From the moment we entered the stable to during the treatment, Reggie was not his normal character…

  1. He turned his quarters on us when we entered the stable

  2. He was a little “explosive” during the trot up

  3. He was moving away from me when I was touching his neck and right shoulder

  4. His whole body felt tight on palpation

When I reflect on all the above, it makes total sense as to why he was showing these behaviours, however in the moment it is easy to overlook these signs.

As I continued to assess his body I was drawn to the right shoulder and before treating I said to the owner,

“He is presenting with very different symptoms today and the right shoulder is restricted in it’s range of movement. Has anything else happened since the last treatment?”

And then…

The owner remembered that at one of the shows Reggie got spooked in the trailer and ended up getting his shoulder caught on the bar. He luckily managed to free himself and surprisingly appeared fine afterwards. There was no heat, no cuts or scraps and Reggie appeared okay.

This is when I signed with relief and said,

This all makes sense now..”

And guess which shoulder was trapped?

The right one.

I then started my treatment and something magical happened..

Reggie went from being anxious and moving away from me, to completely still, lowered his head and neck and let go. It was like once the owner and myself recognised and discussed his incident, he was not only ready for the treatment but allowed me into his body.

Thank you Reggie🐴

(Photo kindly given by the owner)

I find these moments tricky to verbalise and write down, however I wanted to share this with you, as I’m sure you can relate or know someone’s horse that has had a change in behaviour, but isn’t presenting “lame”.

The take home message is:

Stop, observe and listen to your animals.

They never lie.

That’s it from me this week.

With love,

Nika x

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