As I mentioned yesterday, Freedom is having acupuncture treatments to see if they will help with the mild hind end lameness that he’s been experiencing.
I could see that acupressure massage helped him and acupuncture is supposed to have a more profound effect.
Freedom was treated by Carol Gifford, a holistic veterinarian who mostly treats small animals. Before treating Freedom, Carol traced the Bladder Meridian line with a plastic instrument (here it was a plastic syringe). Because he was so twitchy (he is a red head) the second time she treated him, she evaluated him by looking for changes in temperature along the Meridian. Both times she found sensitivity at B13, LI11 and based on this chart, around B35.
The needles used are very thin and flexible. They come pre-sterilized in paper strips like band-aids. Carol used a plastic tube to help insert them. Freedom was mostly pretty good about the process but on the right side, he was too fidgety to tolerate having the needle placed. It’s a spot that I’m going to try to massage going forward.
Once the needles were inserted, Freedom spent about 30 minutes chilling on the cross ties. For a horse that used to weave incessantly it was cool to see him relaxing to the point of drowsiness. He also started to lick, chew, yawn and shake his head — all signs of relaxation and release.
So, what were the results?
The first thing I noticed was that he was very sensitive in the areas around his hamstrings. This is an area where he typically holds tension. His muscles were not tight, which they can sometimes be, but the were reactive.
When I took him out for a ride, he initially seemed off — not lame really, but almost slightly wobbly. That lasted only a short time and then he felt a lot better and much looser. The most remarkable change, however, was how much he stretched down into the bridle. It was almost as if he had a greater range of motion and was exploring it. This was particularly true at the walk and the canter. He had never wanted to stretch like this at the canter before.
Freedom has now had two treatments and the results were similar both times.
In between treatments his muscles seem looser, and the desire to stretch under saddle continues. He still is coming out of the barn a bit stiff but for shorter periods of time.
Definitely, he must have slipped on the ice this winter. I’m lucky it seems to only be a strain of some kind (since he works out of it pretty quickly) and from what I’ve seen so far, the acupuncture gives him some immediate relief and over the longer term, keeps his muscles from holding so much tension.