For as long as I’ve had Ax, he has seen the chiropractor at least once a year (lucky horse!), but after last winter’s Mystery Lameness and the muscle atrophy that came with it, I made him an appointment with a highly recommended vet who includes acupuncture as part of the process. Since then, Ax has been on a six- to eight-week schedule to get his body popped back into place and act as a horsey pincushion. Because he’d been done numerous times before, I knew the magic that chiropractic work did and that Ax responded well to it; what I didn’t know was how in-depth you could look at the horse when combining it with acupuncture.
I’ll be honest and say that during the first appointment with the vet, we’ll call him Dr. L, I was skeptical and a little confused. After asking me about medical history and such, he began the appointment by running a pen cap over various parts of Ax’s body and then knocking on the side of his barrel like it was a locked door. He went on to adjust a few things, told me that he noticed the lameness had traveled up to his shoulder, and stuck an acupuncture needle above the right front coronet band. Like magic, Ax’s entire body relaxed, and an hour later, we were sent off to continue rehabbing.
Two sessions later, Dr. L mentioned a reactivity in what he called “ulcer points.” I watched as he applied needles to certain locations, as Ax stopped moving away from the pen cap pressure, and as he was prescribed a month of herbs labeled “Stomach Happy.” I was unsure about how well herbal medicine was going to make a difference, and sure enough, the holistic approach worked. The anxious and impatient horse Ax had turned into over the previous six-or-so months disappeared and he was back to his calm, dopey self, plus the following appointment saw no reactions to the ulcer areas.
Ax’s session with the most improvement was his second to last. He was battling some right hind lameness that, at the time, I assumed was his hip or something in his lumbar out. (Spoiler alert: we know now that it was is arthritis finally popping up.) Upon initial inspection, Dr. L mentioned that his hind end was definitely “stuck,” and a few adjustments later I could see him holding his hips and hind more comfortably. We decided to add some aquapuncture, injecting vitamin B12 into trigger points, and after two weeks of being too lame for anything more than a walk, Ax trotted out completely sound and comfortable the next day.
After starting some meds for said arthritis, Ax had his most recent, and potentially his best, appointment. While the adjustments and acupuncture didn’t magically solve his arthritis, it definitely has made a difference in overall wellbeing and way of going in the past nine months. He is a much happier horse on the ground and under saddle, and he moves out more and more comfortably after each session. For me, that makes it all worth it.