Otis’s Rehab – Weeks 2 and 3

There wasn’t much to report last week with Otis’s rehab and it was very much hanging in between treatments, so I thought I’d leave you all in suspense until today.

I was still doing a combination of long reining and hacking out in walk when I last updated you; I wasn’t overly happy with what I was feeling and that was playing on my mind a lot.

The on the Thursday of that week (ten days ago now) he had his red light therapy session. I won’t go into huge detail as a blog on that is in the pipeline, but since the red light I have noticed that the sidebone hasn’t had heat in the area (which there was on the Thursday) and the treatment enabled me to solve the conundrum.

  1. When trotting, Otis didn’t feel limpy in front, but generally all wiggly.
  2. His exercise sheet kept slipping to one side.
  3. He responded to pressure over his sacro-iliac and the right hock was “active” during the red light therapy.


I’d solved it! His pelvis, which has always had a tendency to slip, had rotated and dropped. I hypothesised that a lack of muscle tone had meant that a little slip in the field or slight compensation for his injury, has just caused him to get out of alignment.

Typically, I only came to the conclusion on Friday, when I rode him after the red light therapy, and that night he lost a shoe. So the weekend was out, not that I would have done much now I’d twigged the problem, but it would have been useful to have been able to long rein him gently.

Anyway, I waited until first thing Monday morning to speak to my farrier, because I know how much I appreciate being able to switch off at weekends and not think about my diary. He couldn’t come until Wednesday. My next port of call was to speak to my vet/chiropractor friend, who could come out on Friday to see Otis, but she agreed with my theory and felt it was definitely worth checking his alignment.

I’ve kept Otis on this supplement of natural anti-inflammatories, and once he had his shoe put back on I long reined him Wednesday and Thursday as he was definitely a bit bored of his time off. He was up to no good on Wednesday as halfway through our walk, he decided to take me down a very narrow, overgrown footpath. Bracing myself like a tug of war champion I managed to stop him, and we had to rein back out of this mess! Thankfully he’s remembered his manners since then.

Friday’s Mctimoney treatment found good muscle tone – not surprising really as he’s all flab at the moment – but his pelvis has rotated and dropped. This took two corrections because he’s so flexible, but he did show signs of release. To help stabilise the pelvis we need to build up more muscle over his hindquarters, which I guess will mean lots of hill work being incorporated into his rehab.

This morning was the first time I could ride Otis since his treatment, and I feel so much more positive! His trot felt more normal, none of that strange disconnected feeling I had between the right hind and left fore. Was there a slight limp in front? Possibly? But it was very marginal and certainly not every stride.

My next job is to email the vet, tell him my research, progress, and find out how he thinks I should continue but I feel it will be longer hacks, plenty of hill work, and bring in more short trots. 

Otis also needs his hind shoes putting back on, so I’ll speak to my farrier about that too.

But I feel a bit more in control of our journey now. I have a couple of questions for the vet, have got some answers, and can plan the rehab with another chiropractic treatment in April. 

Unfortunately I’m not really sure of the success of the red light therapy because it coincided with the lost shoe and the McTimoney treatment, but it is interesting that I’ve not felt heat in that foot since, so it’s possible that the red light reset the cells (I’ll explain the theory of it more in that blog post) and the foot is in a better state to start increasing the workload.

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