Banjo making new pasture friends. Photo by Allison Meyer
Bailey, the rescue horse who was saved from an auction, deemed a killer horse, and who was scared of everything, no longer exists. He has been transformed into Banjo, show name Percussion.
Banjo is nothing like the scared, dangerous horse I?d brought home three years before. He?s fit, healthy, and happy. He?s a beginning competitor and trusted companion.
Over those first years together, we overcame obstacles. One setback that stands out in my mind began with a little playtime in the pasture.
Banjo is a gregarious horse and loves to play. He?s always near the top in any herd?s pecking order, but he gets along well with all his pasturemates.
He enjoys spending hours running, rearing, spinning, play biting, and pawing.
At the time if this incident, Banjo?s favorite pasturemate was a tall, dark-bay 16.3-hand Warmblood. They loved to rear up on their hind legs, then take off at full speed to gallop down the pasture.
So, when Banjo came in from the pasture lame one day, I was pretty sure he?d played too rough.
Have you ever experienced that feeling that something isn?t right with your horse? That's how I felt with Banjo that day. His pain wasn?t obvious at the walk, but I could feel it when I got on.
It felt like he was painful on his right hind leg. I got off. Then I longed him at the trot so I could better observe him in motion. I was right?he was favoring his right hind leg.
I like to use equine chiropractors for issues that aren?t acute or traumatic. I?ve found chiropractic and acupuncture extremely beneficial to treat mild to moderate lameness issues. These modalities can also be very helpful in supporting more serious lameness problems.
So, I called in a trusted equine veterinarian, chiropractor, and acupuncturist Pam Mahonen.
Dr. Mahonen is a skilled diagnostician. She discovered a soft-tissue injury to the muscles in Banjo?s right hip. Also, his sacral region was tight and sore. She gave him a chiropractic adjustment to improve mobility in the vertebral joints. She also applied acupuncture, which involves stimulating points on the body with small needles to correct the flow of energy.
At first, Banjo was unsure of the needles. But he relaxed as they worked their magic. After the treatment, he moved almost normally. Still, Dr. Mahonen recommended phenylbutazone for pain, as well as stall rest. Banjo would stay in his run, with no turnout, for six weeks.
Six weeks sounded like an eternity! But I was so glad to hear that he?d make a full recovery, I didn't care.
It was hard to watch Banjo when his friends left him to frolic in the pasture. But he quickly made new friends with the other horses that stayed in during the day. He relaxed into his new schedule and enjoyed napping in the sun.
After six weeks of stall rest and a few more visits from the Banjo was allowed to go back to work. For the first two weeks, he was allowed only to walk. Then I slowly moved him back into a full work schedule, including the faster gaits.
Our patience and vigilant care paid off. Within a few months Banjo returned to his healthy, happy self.
For more information about equine chiropractors, check out this article at Equisearch: http://www.equisearch.com/horses_care/health/alternative_therapies/alternative-therapies-for-horses-2/
If you want more information on rescue horses or you want to locate a rescue near you, please check out?AHomeForEveryHorse.com. Equine.com and the Active Interest Media Equine Network have joined forces with the American Horse Council?s Unwanted Horse Coalition to launch A Home for Every Horse Project.
This project helps find homes for America?s 170,000 to 200,000 horses in need of care and shelter.
Here's how it works:
? Begin the search for your next equine partner atAHomeForEveryHorse.com. You can search horses waiting for homes at nonprofit shelters across the country. Browse by rescue horse, or find rescue organizations in your area.
? Visit the site?s ?Services? section to learn about your local rescue organizations. Find out how you can volunteer, donate, or simply spread the word.
? Look for upcoming stories on?EquiSearch.com related to horse rescue.
If your 501(c)(3) rescue organization would like to join the Home For Every Horse Project, call (866) 467-7323, ext. 100. Equine.com is a part of Active Interest Media Equine Network.