Suffice to say, Heidi is a seriously competent woman. You don't ride solo around the majority of Australia without some significant know-how and independence, so I liked her already. She was more taken with Uno than anyone else (she's coming to look at him next time - more on that later), but was able to give me some really good feedback on Rose.
Firstly, she found no issue with her elbows, at least she said practically nothing about them. She seemed non-plussed by my description of previous diagnoses. She listened to my description of Rose's pelvic injury and how she seemed since then. And then she said the following:
- Rose's sacro-illiac joint is being prevented from a full range of motion by her brain. After her injury, her brain continued to tell her body that the joint must be protected and not moved excessively. So, she moves while holding her pelvis, and her rib cage, as still as possible.
- Her rib cage was also quite 'stuck' and she was trying not to inflate her lungs to full capacity due to the same kind of problem.
- There appears to be no other issue, no permanent injury or pathology, no symptoms of pain or chronic discomfort. All the same stuff Bec Walshe said.
Jedi was even more interesting. The funny humping and groaning he does when I saddle him may well be due to spasming muscle under the saddle and in the girth area. I cannot for the life of me remember its name....I probably wouldn't be able to spell it anyway! She gave me an exercise to help relieve the spasming, and once again train his brain to allow that muscle to relax. He also has stiff ribs and I will need to do the same rib cage expansion work with him.
Heidi told me about 30% of horses suffer fractured ribs during foaling - the rib cage is so well-developed and the birthing is so quick and powerful, it's not unusual for some damage to occur to the widest part of the foal. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a problem for a horse running around the prairie doing his thing. But stick a saddle and a person on top and all of a sudden there's pain.
Heidi thinks it is highly likely Rose had a fracture of this kind, and that Uno is a prime candidate too. Given the size of both of them as foals this does not surprise me!
What a great experience, and a very genuine person with logical, evidence-based theories. Bodywork has been fantastic for my horses and I still think there's a place for it in my management, but I'm ready to add Heidi's expertise to my bow.
Sam Lyle clinic in a few days - will blog!