Bruno and Pixie Get Adjusted-A Bruno Story

Bruno's areas of adjustment.

Bruno’s areas of adjustment.

After all the high-tech, high dollar surgical intervention that has been done to get this OTTB back from an infection of the coffin bone, it is interesting that in addition to a change in shoeing, having my vet/chiropractor adjust Bruno has made more difference in his ride and movement than anything else.  It is a little startling.

Eight months ago this Sunday, Bruno, a six year-old OTTB had surgery at Texas A&M Vet Hospital.  At least a third of his hoof was removed including a portion of his diseased coffin bone.  Then months of stall rest went by.  Finally he was released to start back to work.  But honestly, he wasn’t moving well.  I expected him to be a little off with his hoof as the hoof walls continued to get stronger.  But he was also moving stiffly in his hind end.  It was a little disparaging to think you had won the battle with his foot but lost the war with him being sound throughout.  We added injections to support his overall joint health.

This week we had our vet, Lynn Criner, DVM, who is also certified as an animal chiropractor come out to look at Bruno (who of course she has seen many times, but never adjusted) and also our young mare Pixie.

The picture above illustrates all the areas that Bruno had issues.  Lauren said one of the most amazing adjustments, in terms of change, was in the space above his eye and below his ear.  I had noticed one side seemed swollen-or had fluid.  Also, it was difficult to bridle Bruno and not just because he is 17.2 hh.  He did not like his head touched.  Dr. Criner took his head in her hands, manipulated it and my head throwing, swollen faced horse was a thing of the past.  He dropped his head down and sighed.  Last night, for the very first time, he bridled easily and without issue.

His hind end was out at the hip and spine. He was also out in the shoulder.  All were returned to the normal position and again, the big horse sighed in relief.  It might take a couple of times for this all to hold together, as muscle memory is long and Bruno has been in bad shape for a while but we will repeat as we need to do so.

Last night when Lauren went out to ride, it was a different Bruno she rode.  We have had problems trotting Bruno at all.  He did not want to trot and we moved him into a canter early in each ride to keep him more comfortable.  Last night, he trotted as well as he ever has, most notably was his nice, even pace and lack of a head tossing, tail swishing fight.  He reminded me so much of my old horse Mac who is a hunter pro.  Around he went, balanced and happy.

When Lauren went on to the canter it was again the canter of hunter, as even and methodical as could be.  I even went so far as to say it looked like a hunter under saddle Quarter horse class. His head was down (okay not down that far!), his hind end moved fluidly, and his cadence was perfect.  It was a far cry from the usual off in gallop, dragging his hind end, missing his leads, horse of the past.  I just hope this Bruno shows up again!!

Pixie, the four year-old pony, has not liked us to tighten up her girth.  She has been less than enthusiastic about me putting my leg on her and pushing her forward.  In fact, she has been relcutant to really work at all.  Well, that certainly began to make sense as Dr. Criner evaluated her.

Pixie's areas of pain.

Pixie’s areas of pain.

Pixie had ribs out of alignment on both sides, two on one side and one on the other.  Can you imagine having someone draw a tight band around your ribs if they were out of place?  Would not be a good time.  I would not be very cooperative either.  Her hips and top of her head (her poll) needed alignment and her little knees were sore (probably from bracing against the pain of everything above them).  I had been lunging her more (to make her cooperate better under saddle) and that is the worst thing I could have done for her knees.  The vet prescribed straight work for her, no twisting or turning as she starts to heal.

Dr. Criner had suggested “ponying” Bruno down the hay roads so he could also work on the straight instead of having to turn over and over in the arena. Ponying is when one horse is being ridden and the second horse is brought along in a halter (seemingly under the control of the ponying horse).   At the time, I told I did not have a horse to pony him with.  Mickey is an all-star kicker.  Feather would just panic and run away with him.  Mr. Kid would want to run away with Bruno but might have a heart attack trying.

When she suggested ponying Pixie, I started to give the same excuse-no pony horse available.  Then it occured to me!  Snowboy was coming home and if he hasn’t changed he will be an awesome horse to take Pixie down the hay road. 

Now, Snow ponying Bruno, first, what a sight that would be! Second, I wonder if Bruno could start running really fast and just pull me and Snow into air, like we were para-sailing behind him.  Oh, I wish I could draw because I totally have a visual in my mind of the big, black horse dragging the fat, white pony and the old lady into the air!

Horse show this weekend and hoping to be moving Feather up yet another division in height.

Thanks for riding along!

Bruno Advice-A Bruno Story


From the artist Amber Brooks comes a symbol of the loves of my life-animal anyway-with the Poodle and the thoroughbred.

From the artist Amber Brooks comes a symbol of the loves of my life-animal anyway-with the Poodle and the thoroughbred.

I just received the above watercolor drawing today. I LOVE it. It seems to sum up what is near and dear to my heart. What a talent this Georgia lady is. She owns poodles and horse like I.

From a conversation on my office about how siblings have the same genetics yet turn out so uniquely, so can be true in the thoroughbred world. Thoroughbreds are (usually) thoughtfully bred to produce the best assets a breeder can give them through choice of sire, dam and the rest of the relatives as well. I have blogged before about Bruno (registered name-Fiddler’s Pilgrim) being well-bred with AP Indy, Seattle Slew, Secretariat and others. I just had never spent too much time looking at his dam’s side of the family.

Today I glanced at the pedigree once again. I realized while his grand-sire on one side was AP Indy (pictures in blog further back) I had not noticed that his maternal grand-sire was Hansel. Hansel was a top horse as well-most would say greater than AP. Winning two legs of the Triple Crown (the Preakness and Belmont) and many other big stake races.

Bruno's great grandsire, Hansel.

Bruno’s great grandsire, Hansel.

It was a little difficult to come to grips with such a prestigous horse with so many famous relatives, rolling in the mud at my little place in Wharton. Talk about a long way from New York. The fun of the OTTBs is their great heritage and lineage.

I texted my friend and sometimes farrier, Sean, who grew up in the thoroughbred world, his grandmother one of the first female managers of a large track in the US. He has also spent time as a jockey. He rode AP Indy. I texted him about Hansel. He replied that having Hansel and AP Indy as your grandfathers is pretty much Thoroughbred royalty. I gave him a little update about how Bruno was doing, that we were starting training and even had done a few jumps

I love dry humor. I received Sean’s text back. He told me Bruno was bred to run, that he was a great horse. I certainly agreed with him. He had ridden the great AP Indy and gave Lauren some tips previously. Then he made me laugh out loud with his final comment. ” I would suggest one thing when you get that horse back in shape and ready for the jumper ring, GO SLOW!! That is one horse that was born for speed and Lauren better never let Bruno take off with her. GO SLOW!”

Absolutely made my day. It is kind of like in the Disney movie, Secretariat, when jockey Ronnie has clearly won the Belmont race and his trainer yells, “Ronnie, don’t fall off”.

I can just see me in the stands watching Bruno and Lauren attack a big jumper course and me yelling., ‘Remember, go slow!”