What I Learned from Nursing Homes

I wish I could be the person that works at an assisted living place or a nursing home. Due to communication issues (and no memory cells on the behalf of Jim or my mom) they forgot I was coming on Friday and I spent a lot of time waiting and observing at their facility this weekend.
That is good because I learned about the flow of the place and saw first hand how the staff interacted with the patients. I saw the facility in the early morning and late in the day. I talked with a lot people that lived there. I was immersed in a world where I was seemingly the only one without a cane, walker, or oxygen. Not that I can’t use any of those things on any given day with my mobility problems.
I learned that if I worked at an assisted living facility I would be a better person. Why? The staff goes out of their way to be kind, to be considerate of others, and to be cheerful. I need to incorporate all those things into my day. Why don’t we try to do that in the corporate world? Would we not be better off for it?

The person at my work who is cheerful brightens a lot of people’s days. I am more likely to be the grump or the complainer. I am going to take what I learned at Clermont Christian Living and try to apply it to my life. To be kinder, happier and warmer. It shouldn’t be hard but I know it will be. But how much richer I will be if I succeed.

Family Matters

My mom with her youngest great-granddaughter, Lexi at a recent visit.

My sister died the year my daughter Amber was born (1982).  My father died in 1991 so it has been just my mom and I for quite some time.  Of course, I am lucky to have my girls and their families as well.  But in terms of my original family it is just the two of us.

My mom has been remarried, to the OB-GYN that delivered me, yeah, that’s a little crazy, for over 15 years.  She now lives in an assisted living facility in Denver.  Her husband, Jim, is moving in with his elderly sister. My mom doesn’t really understand why Jim is leaving her. Although moving does make sense from Jim’s perspective as he can stay with his sister and not incur the cost of an apartment.

I am off today to Denver to try to get my mom situated and little more secure.  Ally and Jordyn will go with me for this fast trip.  It will be nice to see Amber, her family and for the cousins to get to see more of one another.  Ally is seriously pregnant so it certainly will be her last trip before baby Kendyll makes her way into the world.

It is so much harder than I thought it would be to have elderly parents.  My parents took care of me, and then we kind of co-existed side by side.  My parents and then my mother were available if I needed them.  But now she needs me.  She has dementia and her eye sight is failing (macular degeneration of the retina).  She gets confused and agitated.  And the lady who would never dream of going out without make-up, lipstick and her hair done, has trouble getting dressed each day.  I miss my mom.  I am sure she misses her old self, too.

This trip will bring some hard decisions about her care.  There will be papers to sign and things to change.  In the midst of all of it, Jim will have his 95th birthday.  If I am lucky I will be doing as well as he does at age 95.  He bought himself a brand new Infinity SVU.  He drives it proudly if not erratically.  He is continuing on with his full life of computers, cameras and cars.  My mom is stuck solidly in a new world that she did not design nor desire.

I don’t know if it is time to bring momma home (my home-not hers) to Texas.  I could see her more and observe her care better.  I don’t think she is ready but how do I know?

I know she is alone in an assisted living facility with no family and no friends.  She is fortunate to have Jim visit her along with some terrific long-term friends/care givers.  But is she lonely and confused?  I think so.  Is moving her away from her husband the right thing to do?  I don’t know.

My mom loves me.  She loves her granddaughters and great-grandchildren.  She doesn’t necessary remember who any of us are by sight. But once we remind her, she gets it.   I hope I can bring some cheer to her this weekend.  And leave her filled with a little of the love I feel for her. 

I pray that God helps me know what to do for her and when.

To Move or not to Move

Looking across from the road, new drive to the left and “barn” straight ahead.

Moving to our little home in south Texas, was an easy decision at the time.  I was working in that area and commuting from Houston to this little town.  I was paying board for my horses to stay with someone else.  It took awhile to find the right place (or the best of possible choices) but then once decided it moved quickly.

We have been here five years.  Long enough for Lauren to go to high school and start college.  Long enough for me to change jobs and now be commuting back to Houston over 100 miles a day.  It was long enough for a menagerie of four horses, six dogs and million cats to make this little farm home.

Honestly, Lauren and I had no idea what we were doing when we moved here.  They say God protects fools and small children and maybe we qualified on both counts.  We made some good decisions and have certainly made the most of our little place.  When we bought it there was a 1400 square foot house, a 12×10 shed, a dilapidated green house (like one you grow plants in) and almost six acres of farm land with no trees except around the house.  No fences.  No barn.  We did not own even a riding lawn mower.  I pretty sure the farm land only included a crop of Texas gumbo mud.  Sun flowers pop out in the late summer but no edible plants have ever come up.  Certainly, no grass or pasture has ever been established there. Mud is our top product or dirt during the drought years.

We have moved the little shed next to where we built our (run-in shed with stalls) barn to serve as a tackroom.  We built an arena.  We got a million loads of sand.  Of course, the sand delivery thing was not without angst.  The sand was delivered in a semi-tractor trailer.  My land was never as dry as anywhere else.   The driver thought it was dry enough to deliver the sand.  It was not.  The driver sunk the semi in the middle of my pasture up to the axles. He unloaded the sand.  Still it was stuck. The driver called his friends named (seriously) Bouncy and Bubba and he sent his wife off to get a bottle of Crown Royal (apparently that goes as payment for a job well done here in my town). Bouncy showed up with a dually tractor while the other good ol’boys cut down my fence to give him enough room to proceed.  The dually tractor pulled the semi out of the mud and it was all a big adventure.  Next day, I noticed my arena fence had a new 18 foot hole (used for the tractor to run through) and that I could no longer close my arena except by using ropes to tie it off at foot wide intervals. My front fence had the wires snipped but at least they had hastily been repaired.  If you’ve been reading along, you know we recently got a new fence for the arena and front of the property-this little escapade was why it was needed.  Oh, and we got a new sand delivery man too!

My son-in-law and friends installed giant lights so we could ride through the long winter evenings and cooler summer nights.  We bought, built, and created jumps.  We now have a pretty decent riding space.  We have added fencing, gates and barn lights.

We added a second driveway to get the trailer in and out, and the driveway actually has gravel in it now.  There was a time in the early days when I got home from a horse show to a torrential down pour.  Lacking the ability to back the trailer into my narrow driveway, I took off (with Mickey in the trailer) at 50 miles per hour across the pasture thinking if I moved fast enough I could get the trailer turned in a big circle and back to the concrete before I sunk in the mud.  EPIC FAILURE!!   Yeah, those were great times.  My neighbor finally came with his tractor (not Bouncy with the dually tractor-just a neighbor who took pity on me) and pulled the trailer and truck backwards to the driveway.  He didn’t answer my calls for a long time after that.

Although that certainly wasn’t the first or last time we got stuck, we did learn to have a variety of “boys” on call to get us out of whatever our latest disaster was.  Fortunately, Lauren’s boyfriend, Blake has a big truck with four wheel drive, can back a trailer with ease and has gotten us out of some seriously tight spots.  Like the night we went to pick up Feather from a barn in Houston after she had been on a trailer for three days from Florida.  Lauren picked the EZ Tag lane that was too narrow for a truck and Blake saved us again. Just prior to ripping the sides off the truck and trailer (with who knows what damage to the horse), in the middle of the night, Lauren in tears, Blake crawled across the front of the truck to save the day again.  He proceeded to back the truck and trailer down Beltway 8 so we could go in the wider lane.  Great times abound when we trailer horses.

We had the bathroom that was original to the 1950 house remodeled last year (the bath tub drain had eroded away and water drained outside on the ground-one observant friend told me that wasn’t sanitary-really?).  It has a walk-in shower so my disabled body can be clean (a bonus for all that work with me).  We have upgraded the kitchen and appliances after CenterPoint Energy blew up the entire kitchen with some voltage issue.  We have done a lot of work on the grounds, the barn and the house.  We have made it our home.  But perhaps it is time to see what else we could afford that would be closer to work for me.  I am afraid of starting all this work over in a new place where we do not have a network of friends.  I know that as we get closer to Houston, the amount of land we can afford and the house and barn we will be able to live in will be less.  Maybe we need to live in the little green house until times are more secure or Lauren moves on.  When Lauren moves it will be necessary to re-evaluate this home I have created.  With two of us, it is mostly doable and enjoyable.  On my own, I am afraid it would be frightening and overwhelming.  Obvious answer-Lauren stays with me forever.  We will see how that works.

Lauren with Feather in the arena showing off my fine crop of dirt and great lights.

Children’s Activities

Through the years I have learned that your children’s activities determine your friends.  You may of course have other friends, but no matter if it is hours spent at the barn, the swimming pool or the ball park, friendships are made there and often they endure over time.

When we moved to Florida Amber played soccer and softball.  We were brand new to the community and her dad was willing to help coach.  Immediately, we gained a family.  We are still close with Amber’s best friend from those days, Jenny.  I noticed on Facebook the other day that Jenny, now living in North Carolina, was voted “teacher of the year” (way to go, Jenny!) and not only did members of my family in Texas and Colorado respond but old members of their ball team did as well.  Sports create families.

The Bergs were/are terrific friends and have supported the girls and I through our moves, attended the kid’s weddings and congratulated me on my grandchildren. We have shared joys and great sorrow.  All because we met at a ballpark.  It is that spirit of camaraderie that is fostered by the endless hours thrown together sitting at the games, waiting for the games or traveling to the games.  I am certain that if you do not like someone at the ballpark (pool, barn) you will not like them at your house.  It has been a good test for me.

In Florida, as Amber moved on to college, the rest of us moved on to horses.  Ally met some of her best friends at Wickham Park.  We are still in touch today-14 years later.  I know the whole social media thing helps but we had common loves, common interests and common memories.

Here in Texas, we made our first real friends at the Diamond C Training Center.  We had just gotten Kid and Mickey.  We spent every day there for several years.  The kids grew up with a large surrogate family -it was like having cousins, aunts and uncles.  They learned about competing, sharing and working hard.  Ally had her first job there.  So many of us are still friends today including Anisse, Rachel, Karen, the Herffs, and the Davangs. We still support each either and praise one another’s accomplishments-whatever they are now.

When I had my hip replacement, we needed to move from Diamond C to somewhere I could have daily care for my horses and Lauren could have her trainer available when I was not.  Lauren had been riding with Dianne for a while and we made the move to Whipple Tree Farm.  Ally was less involved by this time-moving on in her life but Lauren and I were more absorbed than ever.  WTF (probably not the best acronym for a barn for children but who knew?) became a second home for Lauren.  Even though we have been gone five years now, her dearest and best friends were/are the girls she grew up with at Whipple Tree.  Lauren’s friends that she made there are too numerous to list, but Megan and Caitlyn are especially close to her.  Recently, I learned that Megan was still giving Lauren relationship advice, from Canada where she has lived for many years now.  They remain close friends.  I would be missing part of the story if I didn’t say that Dianne is one of my truest friends-we have struggled through our mother’s issues, shared our daughter’s issues and sympathized about our horse’s issues.

At Whipple Tree, (from left) Stefani, Cara, Lauren and Megan

Part of it was Dianne’s special summer camps.  Nothing was looked forward to with more anticipation than summer camp-especially overnight camp.  Those times helped bring together friends for life.  Dianne, herself, deserves big kudos for providing the kids with an environment that was safe, fun and mostly, drama free (as much as anything can be with kids).  Even today, the kids come, take their lessons, ride multiple horses, eat lunch, hang out and their parents come get them at the end of the day.  In a world of dangerous predators, it is a simple day in the sun filled with horses and fun.  Lauren and many of the girls have grown up and moved on. But they still support each other and applaud each other’s latest victories.

It is the shared stories.  The -do you remember when the team from Norway used the “F” word in their softball cheer at the junior Olympic game at Cocoa Expo?  No one will forget that one.  Or reminiscing about how many of the girls fell off a fat white pony named Snowboy.  Or the time Secret flipped over the fence when Roland was trying to shoe her? So many great times with a shared love for an activity.

We are truly formed by the friends we make.  I would have never dreamed that I would form a friendship on the ball field that has lasted over 18 years.  Nor that after 12 years in Texas, my closest friends are my barn friends.  It is the shared times, the shared stories, but as I am reminded again today by my friend, Gaylyn, it is about our shared dreams.

And MayFest was our Fest this time

The loot from the MayFest (plus some serious cash and token gifts)

We had a rough Saturday.  Mickey and Lauren both were getting tired.  Hard to sustain the speed and edge as the jumps got higher and higher.  Still a lot went well. 

Today  we learned that Lauren won Grand Champion for two Divisions.  Total points for the division are calculated over all the days showing and the rider with the highest points is the Grand Champ and second highest points are awarded the Reserve Champion designation.  Over all the years Lauren has shown in the rated shows, once (MayFest last year) she won one Grand Championship.  And once quite some time ago she was Reserve Champion for a show.

So, two Grands!  Wow.  And in her Low Adult Jumper division she was one point (1 freaking point) out of Reserve Champ.

I am very proud of both them. 

 And since it is Mother’s Day, I would also like to mention how lucky I was (am) to have my great Mother!  She doesn’t remember much these days.  I am so saddened to have lost my biggest supporter and advocate.  I must carefully edit my remarks to her so she can understand them and so she doesn’t get scared.  I am so blessed to have had her by my side all these years.  Momma, I love you so!  I miss you so much too!

My daughter Amber is the best little momma herself.  She is always selfless and trying to do more for her kids.  I know how hard it is to work and have young ones. though mine were never so close.

I love you, Ammy and am proud to be your mother.

Ally has been the greatest mom to Jordyn.  I just don’t know how she could have done better.  So soon, she will have baby number two and I know she will be the best mother to Kendyll as well.

I love you, Ally and am proud to be your mom.

Lauren, of course, is a great mom to Mickey, Sneaky and Puppy Girl.

How they all learned this is puzzling.  I know I have not been half the mom to them that they are to their children.  But some how they learned.  I thank God everyday for my wonderful family.

Today, I give thanks for many things!  Happy Mother’s Day to all you, moms.  God Bless you!

Another show day

Lauren and Mickey hit the ground running winning their first class at .80 meter with a pretty good margin.  The next class was tougher.  Mickey was starting to get tired, day three class number 8.  That is a lot jumping and running.  Mickey jumps when Lauren guides him perfectly to each jump.  Second to the last jump of 13, Lauren had fallen out of position and Mickey-Stopped.  Dead stopped.  Lauren got him going again, donning the crop and spurs but was penalized by the clock and for the “refusal”.  Normally, it is very difficult for Lauren and Mick to come back after this type of issue.  I was afraid for them as they went in the ring for the first of their adult low jumper classes at 1.0 meter.  It was higher and harder and they were struggling.  They cleared all the fences and ended with a time of 41.04 seconds.  There were some fast horses in the class but they had problems and Lauren and Mick won their first Adult class!  Extremely proud of them doing so well and coming back after a refusal.

I had the last of my tests this morning so was there to see this round.  No more tests until Tuesday.

Update

Just a quick note-Lauren had a good day!  She was second in her first class by 3/10th of a second.  Apparently, Dev told her to push harder and she won her second class by ten seconds just like last year.  Tomorrow and Saturday, they will be back in the ring again.  Hoping for a championship, but if not, these last two days have been great for them.

I have had stomach problems for the last couple of months. I have been having tests with more to come over the next five days. If you are the praying kind, I would appreciate your prayers.

Sure I will be fine-but thank you and God Bless-

Cindy

Horse Shows

Grand Champion MayFest 2011-hoping for a repeat!

Last year at this time, I watched Lauren and Mickey at the “AA” rated MayFest show in Katy,TX.  We had been doing alright with the move from hunters (slow, steady and pretty) to jumpers (fast is as fast does).  But the best the Lauren and Mick combo had ever come up with was a second place ribbon and only at a lower rated “B” show.   It was with delight and astonishment that Lauren and Mick won their first jumper class last May.  I remember being so excited that I texted my friends.  I actually was beside myself with joy.  I could not believe they had done so well.  They were riding against adults (Lauren was still rated as a junior rider then) and against professional riders.  It was like the switch had come on and they just got it.

I will always remember the feeling of that day.  I hurried back to work and did not see their subsequent classes but got a text soon after to tell me that they won the next class also.  And where time is measured in hundreds of seconds, they had won by ten full seconds. I texted everyone again.  When they won the third class the next day, I started wondering about being so joyful.  The first and then the second blue ribbons were so amazing.  But by the third I wondered if I was being a braggart.  My friend Gaylyn came with me the next day. I had always respected her as a horsewoman.  I certainly wanted Mickey to do well.  I did not have supreme confidence that he would. We stood in the stands as he won again.  She was astounded.  She still thought of Mickey as the sour little horse that Lauren rode as a kid.  Her first words to me as we watched the clock stop on the new fastest time were, “Have the Davangs seen him do this?”

The Davangs were our mutual friends from our old Sugar Land barn and it meant the world to me that Gaylyn was so impressed with Mickey and that she thought our other friends would be as well.  It was one of the better days of my life.

Today, the MayFest started again.  It will be the first show for Mickey and Lauren since Lauren’s bad fall in February.  Lauren had her last finals at school today so trainer Dev Branham took Mickey through the paces. 

I learned that they came out of the first class blazing fast.  And no one could catch their time.  Dev said he was a little surprised and quite delighted with the little brown gelding he rode.  First place was Mickey’s to start off the MayFest.  They returned for the .90 meter class.  Dev had tuned up his attack plan and even though the fences were higher, their time was faster still.  No one caught them.  They won this year by four seconds.  It was still a big margin of victory.  Dev said Mickey was a blast.  He really had a different sense of him, riding him rather than watching Lauren on him.  He called him handy and quick.  He walked away with two blue ribbons for the day.

Tomorrow, Lauren will be back in the saddle herself with Mickey.  They will be riding again for the fastest time.  I hope history repeats itself and MayFest is our fest again.

Friends

Friends, I have learned, come from unlikely situations and develop in unusual times.  I found who my best friends were when I was flat on my back for months with a broken pelvis.  I still cherish the times sitting around my darkened room talking with dear friends who gave up an afternoon or Saturday morning just to visit with me. I will never forget Becky, my Doberman Wally and I, all up on my bed, chatting and making the long hours shorter.  The Lindas did so much, for which I can never re-pay them.  But it was a time to learn to let friends help.  Some came from Houston, changed my bed and cleaned my house.  Others were new friends who developed as the summer days grew shorter into fall. But I learned a lot about accepting help and hopefully something about giving back when it is my turn. 

One special friend sent me a get well card literally everyday for over three months.  Each day Lauren would go to mailbox to retrieve my new card and it would always be there.  She made an arbor of cards around my doorway that I could see from my bed.  It is the little things that touch your heart.   I can’t remember to send a Mother’s Day card on time and someone could send me cards for 90 days straight?  That is a friend.

Facebook has reunited me with friends from my younger days.  Camille, Sondra, Liz, Thom and others, it is so great to catch up with you after all these years and know you are doing well.

My animals develop friendships as well.  Again, from unique situations, friendships grow.  Our tiny Yorkie, Gia, has developed friendships with Sneaky, the Corgi.  When we go for our walks, little Gia will clamp down on Sneaky’s chaps (her fluffy back legs) and hold on tight.  Sneaky should be the herding dog but Gia does a great impression of one running and snapping at Sneaky’s back legs.  Sneaky, who does not even tolerate Lauren touching her back feet, will for the most part, put up with this annoying ritual.  She will occasionally turn and yap at Gia but mostly just powers on along our walk. 

Chloe and Gia-friends.

Gia has also taken up with Chloe the cat.  Being old and less than agile, I am sick of chasing the puppy around the yard.  I started putting a leash on her when I go out to hay the horses at night.  Perfect solution.  Gia runs with her pink leash trailing behind.  Chloe, entranced, runs behind her, pouncing on the leash periodically and jarring Gia to a stop.  Chloe never lets her get out of her sight.  And since Chloe comes when she is called, it all works out.

Leo loves Kid.  He will stand with Kid tirelessly all day long.  They can be found scratching each other’s back and taking turns at the water trough.

Lula loves Kena. Or Kena loves Lula, I am not sure.  But they can often be found cuddled together.  They have no idea the picture of contrast they present.

Pairs of the cats, seem to have taken up with one another.  Orange, a big Tom cat, is constantly in the company of Siobhan, a delicate, pretty neutered female.  He says he knows how to pick them.  Our oldest cat, a neutered female named Alice is always in the company of Matt the Cat.  I don’t know why they pair off.  Perhaps they have learned their own lessons about friendship.

Orange (or L’Orange as he says) with pal Siobhan.

Lauren, my youngest daughter, and partner in this farm, is also my friend.  Sometimes, that is difficult because I must count on her to be an adult and accomplish endless daily chores.  If things do not get done they have huge ramifications.  It can be hard to be her mom and her friend.  We must count on each other.  But we also keep each other company and support one another through the daily process of living.

When I count what is important to me, my girls, all of which are also my friends and my outside friends take on the most important meaning.  It was once said you could tell the caliber of man by the friends he keeps.  Don’t know who said it but it is so true.

Manipulation

There are many forms of manipulation.  I have eagerly utilized many over the years to get my kids to do what I want them to do.  For instance, a two-year old is better with the choices “do you want a bath with bubbles or without?” because either answer gets them in the bathtub. 

I have manipulated my daughters with offers of clothing, dogs and horses (depending on my need for their compliance).  Certainly, I have been manipulated by them and others over the years.

 And then there is the actual physical manipulation.  Like when you visit the chiropractor.  I have gone a few times.  I have friends who swear by their chiropractor and relish a visit to get corrected.  I have had so many actual broken bones that I have somewhat shied away from chiropractor on the grounds that I need to protect my fragile bones.

The master manipulator

Over the years, I have had my horses worked on by a chiropractor.  Seriously. The doctor (usually a people chiropractor that started working on horses) would come to the barn, stand on the back of his pick-up truck and proceed to snap, crackle,  and pop the horse into better form.  It made sense that the horse could suffer from the same issues we people do with their spines, necks, shoulders and hips.  I know many equestrians who have regular chiropractic visits for their mounts.  I had one dramatic time when my old horse Kid, had been lame on his front leg for months.  One visit with the chiropractor and he was good as new.  It makes you a believer.

We bought our horse Leo a year ago.  He did pretty well when he was doing the basic walk, trot or canter (or so I thought) but when jumping, he was a mess. He threw his body over the jump with no control over his limbs.  In horse shows, audible gasps could be heard from the crowd because of the way he jumped.  Unlike our horses, Mickey or Feather, who are lovely to watch over fences, Leo was all (if you will forgive the expression), asses and elbows, if that paints a good visual for you.  He showed an incredible ability to get over any jump we put in front him and he was always willing to try but it was not pretty to watch.  We had decided that while Leo was a great guy, he ate a lot, more than any other horse we own and he was not moving ahead with his training program.  He went to Camp Dev this winter.   This is a special time for the horses when they get the undivided attention of our trainer, Dev Branham.  They beg to come home to the easy life.  Dev didn’t have much to say for Leo except that he just couldn’t use his body and he tended to just fall apart when cantering or trotting.

We put Leo up for sale.  People would call about him but we would always find various reasons why they would not be a good owner for him. I think we made excuses to keep him.  While I have a sense of responsibility about my horses and do not want them ending up at an auction or dead as horse meat somewhere there have been some good potential owners that have come to see him and we have just rejected them.

My friend and veterinarian, Dr. Lynn Criner, had told me she was doing advanced studies in myofascial trigger point release and chiropractic equine medicine.  The word myofascial means muscle tissue (myo) and the connective tissue in and around it (fascia). When stressed or injured muscles form trigger points, like contacted knots, which can cause pain and tightness.  In addition to the usual horse chiropractor, she is also a hunter/jumper rider (so knows the body mechanics involved) and she is a vet so she intimately knows a horse’s anatomy.  I considered it a big step ahead of the regular chiropractor.

I figured I might as well book a visit and see if anything could be done for Leo.  I had nothing to lose and great horse to gain by giving it a shot.  When Dr. Criner first examined Leo he was immediately and obviously sore along his spine, pelvis and pole (the top of his head).  And just as obviously, when she did certain trigger points on him, you could just  visibly see him relax and if horse could sigh, he sighed.  Then Lauren rode him so Dr. Criner could observe him.  Looking at him from the rear, his tail hung sideways (not straight) and his hips were seriously uneven. 

Now comes the stupid part.  I thought the horse moved pretty well. I have photos where he looks pretty good.  But the minute she pointed out the errors in his movement, I clearly saw them.  His poor right side swung in and across his body to compensate for whatever issue he was having.  If and when he did move well, it would ultimately fall apart as he could not sustain it.

After seeing him ridden and jumped, Dr. Criner set out to correct Leo.  In a series of manipulations and trigger points, Leo stood before me, squarely on all four feet.  You are saying of course, he stood on all four feet-that’s what he has, but prior to this he would not stand square with his weight evenly distributed.  He would lean on hoof or another.  She worked on him over an hour.  There were the snaps and pops that I associate with chiropractic manipulation but there were also the huge and immediate relaxation of muscle and sighs of when something just felt right.  He was the best of patients for her (thank God it wasn’t Mickey because he would have never gone along with all the helpful therapy). 

Two things I would note-when Leo came to us, his chest had been hurt.  One side of his chest was clearly larger than the other.  As his injury healed, the disproportionate size of his chest did not change.  I assumed it was swollen and just never got better.  Dr. Criner said his sternum was out. She manipulated it back.  Immediately, and for the first time since I have owned him, his chest muscles were equal on each side.  Likewise, a lot of horse don’t like their ears or the top of their head touched.  Leo is vey tall and easily would stretch away from my touch.  Again the doctor said this area was in need of adjustment.  She stood above Leo on a four-foot step stool (I know I should have taken pictures) and manipulated him.  Down came his head, he started licking his lips and sighed loudly.  Today, I can easily touch his ears and his head.  It doesn’t hurt any more.

Although he is so much better, it will be awhile before we will see if we can re-train him to use his body correctly.  For so long he has compensated for his problem with poor body mechanics that it will take some time for him to learn it is not going to hurt if he does what nature intended for him to do. 

He worked as well today as he has ever worked.  Tomorrow we will start some exercises to teach him to jump right using his body.  And we will see.  In this case, a little manipulation may have a big pay-off.  Thanks, Dr. C!

See how his back legs are even and parallel? Never before could he stand with his weight on all hooves and evenly distributed.