After a second appointment and a longer chat with Dr. A, I'm now torn on the process.
(Kachina was better at standing this time, but my hands were still too full for photos, sorry)
The Good:- Dr. A has a lot of training and experience, and watching her work I am pretty confident that she is not doing any harm
- Apparently Kachina had slightly different issues this time around than appointment #1 which means the original issues are being improved, it just is a bit of a process to have the issues change and then go away
- There still is a chance that the chiro work will make her weird mouth gaping thing go away
- Even if it doesn't make the mouth thing go away, I will know I tried the vet/vet/dentist/chiro routine and can chalk it up to a behavioral thing rather than a physical issue
- Chiro may help Kachina to be more balanced and help prevent arthritis and other degeneration
- She and my vet have a good working relationship
- I like Dr. A, and she has the same opinions as I do about science vs. quacks (she once dumped a client who did an exorcism on their horse to try and cure it, true story!). Some chiropractors seem to have the attitude that conventional medicine is bad and chiro/alternative medicine can cure everything, whereas Dr. A feels that chiro works hand in hand with doctors and vets and she is only focused on the musculoskeletal system.
The Bad:- A big part of my earlier skepticism about human chiro has been that it seems like some chiropractors will tell you that you need repeat appointments all the time and you can never stop. I had hopes that I was wrong about this chiro dependency, but it sounds like Dr. A recommends continuing chiro appointments at least every month or two after these initial adjustments, indefinitely. That would be one thing if Kachina had a major issue or was in regular pain, but that seems way overkill for a horse who is generally in great shape, is not in pain, and has excellent range of movement. My view of all medical things is that while regular treatment for some chronic conditions may be required, many conditions should be able to be "fixed" whereby you don't need the doctor/dentist/chiro/vet/therapist/... again until a new problem arises
|Does this look like a horse who has trouble lifting her back and engaging her hind end?|
I didn't think so
- Dr. A has room for a limited number of horse clients and so she only likes to work with people who will bring their horses regularly. It sounds like if I only want to come occasionally, that's not going to work.
- It's $90 a session, which I was fine with for the initial three sessions which I thought might help fix an issue, but $90/month forever is a bit different.
- I was asking more questions this time (why she was doing something differently than last time, what was she feeling, what would cause these things, etc), and her answers weren't totally satisfactory. It seemed like this might have just been because she was more focused on Kachina than on my questions, but I like to understand.
- She has zero understanding of what I do with my horse. I understand that dressage is not the best known of horse disciplines, especially in this area; however, it sounds like she was shown one video of a high level dressage test where the horse was angrily flicking its tail and someone explained to her that dressage movements caused a pain response in horses and that the sport was about making them do unnatural things. That Is So Not What Dressage Is!! I did explain to her that goals like relaxation, harmony, having the horse balanced, etc. are fundamental to the sport of dressage. I told her that the test she saw may have been a bad one, but that is not the norm or the goal of dressage. I'm not sure I explained it in the best way but I think she now gets that dressage isn't full out evil. However, it would be nice if I had a chiropractor who understood how I expect Kachina to move her body, and clearly that isn't the case.
What Now?When I initially signed up for chiro, I essentially committed to three appointments. My current plan is to continue with that and go to #3 next week. After that, I will take at least a couple weeks to ride and assess whether I notice any clear changes or improvements with Kachina. If I do see a clear improvement, and then it subsequently goes away, I will consider going back for a re-adjustment. E.g. if her weird mouth thing fully goes away for a few weeks, and then starts again. Otherwise, I will consider this to have been an interesting experiment that I will not continue further.
If you have any thoughts on the subject, please feel free to share because I'm not sure what to think at this point.