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A Healing Summer for Me and My Horse
by Mary D. Midkiff

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The Women & Horses Newsletter - August 2007

It certainly has been a different Summer than I had planned. I had this vision of riding, training and showing Redge all Summer but it was not to be.

Have you had the experience of shifting gears with your horse? If you have owned or worked with horses any amount of time you probably have. They are wonderfully unpredictable creatures that can be frustrating and inspiring in equal portions.

After celebrating my mini horse trial in May I thought I was off to my horseís first season of showing. Alas, one week after the show he had a wreck in his pasture and he has been very sore ever since. No one knows what happened but he came in with his back and his entire back end sore as if he had fallen or flipped or spun way too hard and wrenched his whole body. He was not lame or had any sign of injury, just sore.

He was happy to keep eating, looking fine and fit, but he did not want to move at any pace other than a walk or a grazing walk, if you will. I had a holistic vet come out and examine him and watch him move and she agreed something was tight and stiff in his hindquarters. She acupunctured, made chiropractic adjustments, gave him electro-stimulation treatment and finally some ultra-sound. Two weeks after this treatment he seemed to be a bit better and I had her out for one more round of therapy. The second treatment, again, gave him some comfort but basically he was the same.

I gave him time off and rest and realized I was to become a healer this Summer and not a competitor as I had hoped. I decided to give myself some healing as well and ordered a colon cleansing and de-tox package from www.drnatura.com. I did the 30 day cleansing and now starting the de-tox program for the next 30 days. So Redge gave this to me which was a real gift. It has made such a difference in my energy, eyesight, mental clarity and vitality. Iíve even had comments on the vibrancy of my skin! I recommend it to all of you! It was a mild process and not invasive to my lifestyle.

Once I realized what the next few months were going to look like, I took a deep breath and got into my horse caretaker role and pulled out all my tools including Rescue Remedy and my The InBalance Horse Oil plus a super strong racehorse liniment and B-12 vitamins for muscle support. I also cleaned off my magnet blanket and my hand magnets to use as needed.

After a month I called my trusty energy worker, Cali Jansen, in California to help me see inside Redge. Cali has helped me so many times with Redge over the three years I have owned him. Miraculously, even though she conducts her readings from California they always seem to work for us. She said he had been in a major wreck in his paddock and had twisted and rotated and bruised a lot of his body mainly, however, straining a key ligament near his sacrum. She said he is really sore and it will take quite awhile to heal.

Cali worked her magic on him three times, and most of his body seemed healed and healthy again. Mainly she recommended that he needed stall rest for 9 days. As most of you know this is very hard on horses and I took it seriously. I went out everyday and put Rescue Remedy and Arnica in his water and in his mouth as well as rubbing Arnica Gel on his bruises. I also put The InBalance Horse oil on his muzzle and asked the night caretakers to give him more Rescue Remedy.

This plan helped him sanely stay quiet in his stall for 9 days. Other than drugging him, I donít know how else he or any horse stays sane through this kind of confinement.

On the 10th day I took him in-hand to a private turn out paddock with plenty of hay for him to eat. He was next to horses that he could nuzzle. I stayed with him for about an hour to make sure he would not run and buck and play too much and it seemed to work out just fine.

We did this for 2 days with no problems. The third day I was on my way out to the barn when I got a call from the manager saying Redge had jumped out of the paddock, fallen into a mud puddle as he landed, lay there for a few seconds stunned, then jumped up and trotted around. Thankfully he came right to the girl who went out to catch him. He had made his voice heard loud and clear that the new set up did not suit him at all. So much for keeping him quiet to heal.

I gave him a nice warm therapeutic bath and checked him all over. He did not have one scratch on him. Thank goodness he is a very athletic jumper and cleared the fence! The mud puddle landing, however, came as a big surprise, so he was still a bit stunned over that.

We all agreed the next day to put him back in his old pasture with his buddy and just give him time.

As of last week, two and half months have passed and I am still not seeing much improvement in the hindquarter movement so I called a lameness specialist from the racetrack to come look at him. He also noted how sore Redgeís hind end muscles were and agreed that he had done something major in the pasture.

He gave me three options to consider:

1) Do nothing and give him lots of time and we would look at him again in about 4 months;

2) Go ahead and inject an internal blister of peanut oil and iodine into his muscles for relief and to speed up the healing process (he said that this process had been working wonders for racehorses);

3) Send him to Hagyard-Davidson-McGee Veterinary clinic in Lexington, KY (an hour away) to have a complete bone scan to rule out any fractures or damage to his pelvis, sacrum, hocks, pastern and spine. This would cost me about $600.

Reluctantly, I chose the bone scan. We agreed that before we did anymore treatments or therapy we should know exactly what is going on. It is a hard hit on my horse budget, however, I would hate for us to treat the muscles when the possibility of a bone injury exists.

Hopefully once we have the green light that all is healthy with his bones and joints, we will be able to go ahead and treat his muscles and joints for him to comfortably come back into training.

As far as Redge is concerned? Part of him is enjoying his couch potato life right now and part of him is eager to get back into doing active things with me. He is happy, eating well (as always), looks great, content and enjoying his Summer of leisure.

Horses take us to new places all of the time and it is up to us to give them what they need to be happy and comfortable. I have to remind myself and others that the drive of human ambition is secondary to the welfare of the horse. The emotional and mental component is what many people overlook during an injury so stock up on your essential oils, aromatherapy, Arnica and Rescue Remedy. It can come in very handy!

This Summer has also been a beginning for me as I launch my career in Kentucky and surrounding areas. I will be conducting clinics on a regular basis at the barn where I board in Prospect, KY just outside of Louisville. If you are interested in attending or would like to come for private lessons please let me know and we can work out all of the details.

I am also available for clinics in your area. If you are interested please email me at mmidkiff@womenandhorses.com.

Special Note for Riding: keep your elbows soft as you ride. There should always be a bend in the elbow. There are many riders who carry the reins with the elbows stiff and tight and the hands placed down around the withers. This only sets up bracing in the horseís neck and spine and he biomechanically has no ability to come through from his hocks, through his back, neck, poll and jaw into your hand. All of your hinges must be soft and mobile for the horse to be equally as soft and strong under you. He or she simply cannot lift their back to support and carry you if you are bracing against their mouth with a stiff elbow and hand.

Happy Riding!

Mary D. Midkiff

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