My saddle came on Friday, but it was such a busy day that I didn't have time to do much with it except open the box, caress it, and confess my love for it. And did you know that you're supposed to coat the thing in oil before using it? So Saturday morning I ran out and found some Pessoa oil, coated it, and now I need to let it soak in for 24-48 hours. Hopefully I can ride in it tomorrow. :)
One more thing before I get to the massage... I've been working Lilly in the round pen trying out all the different methods to get her to WALK when I politely ask her to. Yesterday I free longed her and used the turns to make her change direction when she wouldn't walk. Well, Lilly thinks she's smart, and she has this whole round pen thing figured out.
She doesn't like going around to the right, so that's the way I've been working her the most. She started off walking and then proceeded to trot as she always does. I asked her to walk and she ignored me, so I used my dressage whip and made her change directions. Now she's trotting the other direction, so I ask her to walk again... she ignores me and I have her change direction. We did this a few times until she finally walked going to the left. So I tell her she's a good girl and let her walk around for a while.
Going nicely to the left isn't what we need to work on, though, so I ask her to change directions back to the right. She starts trotting again, I ask her to walk, she ignores me, we change directions. We played this game a few more times and she decides to walk to the left.
I let her walk for a bit, turn her back to the right, she starts to trot, we change directions back to the left, and she walks. So she's figured out that if she trots to the right, I'll have her change directions, and as long as she's walking, she can keep going to the left.
I don't know why she just can't cooperate.
Moving on to the massage. The message therapist, I'll refer to her as "V", had requested that I withhold food from Lilly for at least 30 minutes before she arrived. Our appointment was at 10:30, so I brought Lilly in at around 9:50, and groomed her to pass the time. V didn't actually show up until 11:05, so Lilly had been standing in the cross ties for over an hour without any food, and no cookies (the horror!), so she was a little irritated from standing around for no apparent reason.
V took notes as I went over the extensive history regarding Lilly's medical issues. Yes, she had to flip over her paper... (normally I would insert an 'LOL' there, but it really isn't funny) Once we were done with that, V got to work. Lilly didn't know what to think at first and was looking here and there, not really paying attention. V wanted me to keep the lead rope slack and let Lilly do what she wanted to do, but it was driving me crazy.
We didn't really see a reaction from her until V started working on her neck. About a hand's length up from Lilly's withers she was very tight and sore. When V was working that area, Lilly pinned her ears, stomped her back foot, and swished her tail. We only got that reaction on Lilly's right side, though, which is good because V said it is most likely muscular in nature and not skeletal (which would require another visit by the chiropractor).
V said Lilly's 'badonkadonk' was also very tight and sore and while I could tell Lilly was trying to be a good girl, V ran out of time and Lilly let her know she was done back there. She never did anything bad, but she kept moving away and stomping her feet. V said if Lilly is uncomfortable or anticipating pain, the massaging isn't going to do her any good, so she switched to the other side.
Lilly's girth area on her left side caused her some discomfort as well as her hindquarters on that side, but we didn't have the reactions we did on the right side. Lilly did a lot of licking her lips throughout the process, although I never really saw any signs from her that she was enjoying what was going on. She did attempt to groom me a few times when V was working on her back, but she loves a good scratch there so I think it was more related to that than the massaging itself.
Overall, V said Lilly was a good candidate for massage therapy because she found her to be extremely tense and tight and thinks the MT could definitely benefit her in a lot of different ways. When I asked her about ulcers, she gave me the usual "I'm not a vet" speech, but pretty much said she'd be surprised if Lilly didn't have them because of the stall rest and the tension in her body. She also didn't work much on Lilly's belly area because Lilly showed a lot of discomfort there. V said she wouldn't want people poking at her belly either, but future sessions will incorporate that area a little more once she's used to the procedure and begins to relax more.
I'm going to work on those few problem areas until our next massage, so hopefully it goes better the second time around. I'm going to do some research on ulcers and determine if it's okay to treat horses as if they have them, or if she needs to be scoped first. I'm not sure if the vet would recommend scoping her just because, or if it's really necessary, but I want to be a bit more informed before I call to talk to her.
I'm going to adjust her supplements and perhaps replace her Ultra-Elite Digest with SmartGut... and I'm considering adding SmartCalm to see if it will help her relax.
Maybe then she'll walk when I ask her to..?