The horse has been pinning his ears and being nasty for the last few weeks. He pins his ears and makes bad faces when you approach his shoulders or try to rub his belly. I have been thinking about calling a chiropractor for a few weeks and got a number for one in the area. The last straw was yesterday, he was almost impossible to bridle and once I got on him he started balking, spinning, and tossing his head. Generally the reaction came when I applied leg to him. We rode for a little while so that I could experiment and see what he was reacting to. It really seemed obvious that my legs were causing him pain. I could see a look of panic in his eyes. I had a chiropractor out today and it went well.
When I first got out here, the horse was rude, angry and didn't want to be caught. The chiropractor started to work on him and he was pinning his ears and making a lot of ugly faces. He tried to kick when the guy was working further back on him. He worked along his spine, on his hips, his legs, shoulders, neck and head. His spine seemed loose and free until you got near his hips. It was much tighter there. His hips were causing him pain and it was interesting to watch the horse react to pain on one side, but be fine on the other side. It was obvious that the horse was out of whack. The horses right shoulder was really out. I wondered if that was causing him to drift on the right side all of the time! It is probably also why he pins his ears when I dismount and pull the saddle to the left! The neck was another place that had a lot of pain. There were two places on the left and one on the right side towards the top. Making those adjustments got Sabumi pretty angry, but he was quick to calm down. When he adjusted his upper neck, the horse was a bit surprised and stretched to the left. The most interesting adjustment was his poll and head area. The chiropractor showed me how when you press by his left ear, he was fine, but even slight pressure by his right ear caused him to drop his head away, pulling back in pain with pinned ears and fear in his eyes. The adjustment was quick and the horse pulled back right after in surprise. After a moment thought he calmed down and dropped his head. He started licking his lips and became very relaxed. He was less tense and rather than looking around excitedly, he focused more on the people right in front of him and was kind and gentle with everyone. I was really amazed at the transformation.
After the chiropractor left, we turned him out for a bit to graze. I watched him closely and he seemed to be enjoying himself. The most drastic change I saw was that when I walked towards him, even from a distance, he pricked his ears and moved a few steps towards me. He was easy to catch and very friendly. This was a complete 180* from less than an hour before!
The next few days will be days off with some longing. Mostly I am supposed to focus on grooming and rubbing the horse. He is very anticipatory and pins his ears and kicks even worse than before when you go to touch his ribs and belly. As soon as you touch, he relaxed and puts his ears forward. It will take a while to get him used to the concept of being pain free because he was out for so long. We will call the chiropractor in about 4 weeks to do another adjustment and he should be 'right' then. I think it will probably take 2 more visits to get everything just right because of the horses attitude and his 'high impact' behavior (ie., turning around ina one horse trailer, crashing into the fence, etc.).