|Taking in the scene, being so handsome and alert
The TA for Ben's group works in Virginia and works on a lot of thoroughbreds at the track. For some reason it had not occurred to me that on the track TBs would get acupuncture, but of course they do! Anyways, the TA adored Ben and he adored her. He introduced himself to everyone by grabbing the empty trash can from the center of the group for putting needles in later and flinging it back and forth while they were chatting about things that weren't him. Then he proceeded to pick up a stick from the arena ground and fling that around for a bit. Clown. Once he had everyone's attention on him, he was a bit more focused and did some yawning and licking and chewing as they identified points.
|Pleased to be the center of attention and being so tolerant of being poked everywhere
During the break we went out to the sunshine so I could warm up and Ben could graze. I chatted with another owner who said he was "obviously a quality thoroughbred" and asked me if I knew of any for sale like him. JT has gotten a similar comment while warming us up and responded "I wish I knew!"
|The shiniest, most handsome
He was a bit out of patience after the break. It is a long 4 hours of standing around and being a patient pony, so I couldn't blame him. He quickly tuned back in though and enjoyed his treatment. The students had decided to have the TA do the treatment so that they could keep reviewing. The TA was really quick with her needles and did a lot of B12 injections rather than electroacupuncture. The idea is that the B12 stays at the point and acts as a bit of an irritant and pressure spot so that the stimulation lasts longer without having to necessarily stand there with the needle in. She did it with 22 gauge needles and he really didn't seem to mind it much.
This time around he was a "Balanced Wood" for his constitution. The way she described it, wood constitution is more solid, brave, trustworthy. Kind of all the things we've been working on with him, I wonder if we've brought out his inner wood. My friend who is currently taking the course discussed it with me later and we decided he might truly be an earth. I realized when the TA was describing a point by the ear and noting that if the ear was pricked forward or pinned the point shifted that I have NEVER seen him pin his ears. EVER. He does not have an angry, mad, or mean bone in his body. And I guess the wood constitution does have some desire to push back against authority and sometimes respond when a fight is picked. Which Ben DOES NOT. Anyways, just kind of interesting things to think about with him. He definitely has a sense of humor.
|You can barely see the 22g needles down his back here
He scanned positive to a few of the stomach points and she asked what gut support he was on. Which he's not. And he's in full work and doing lots of travelling, so probably should be. She recommended the probiotic Equitic as a starter. As I sit here and am digging deeper though, he has recently been switched to Nutrena ProForce Fuel which contains a probiotic and prebiotic. So does he really need a separate probiotic? But the grain does not contain the specific strain (Lactobacillus reuteri) that is present in the Equiotic... Oye. The probiotic doesn't break the bank, but is roughly $2/day.
She also prescribed him Tendon/Ligament and Body Sore because I said the Chi Performance hadn't done much. Actually what I said was I had no idea if it did anything. Because he spent November with JT on her grain and hay and schedule, and hee started receiving the Chi Performance partway through that month. Then we moved back to the GY's and he's been on the Nutrena ProForce Fuel since returning there. There's also better grass- Bahia and winter rye, supplemented with Timothy or orchard hay. At JTs it is Tifton round bales instead of grass and then t&a in the stalls. And the rice bran I was getting shipped from Chewy was back ordered so he got switched to Purina Amplify two weeks ago. THEN I got a free sample of Organic Gut Solutions, a product made in Ocala that had some suspicious claims of detoxifying the gut. But the ingredients did not look to be harmful, and they claimed it decreased anxiety, so what the hey.
Anyways, said all that to say, no idea if the Chi Performance supplement did or did not make a difference because literally ALL the variables have changed since I started him on it.
As shown in the above grazing picture, he looks fabulous right now. He still needs to add some trapezius muscle back in that atrophied with our poorly fitting saddle. But other than that, he has a great butt and is super shiny and slick and feeling really good.
He has been slipping more in the hind end though over the past... unknown time frame, I want to say two months. I've been more diligent about stretching his stifles post-rides now that we're back at the GY's. And I've been breaking out the balance pads more. Mostly because he finds them really challenging in the hind end, making me think they're really good for him lol. And if he is slipping somewhere back there, then strengthening the stabilizing muscles should help, yes?
|The right hind is the hardest to get him on. He really wants to put that foot on solid ground. It takes a lot of repositioning and then clicking for finally putting weight on it to get him to stand on that one.
We're only doing a minute on them right now, but I'm hoping to build up to more. It is a really good use of the clicker training because I am far from his head, but trying to let him know he is doing it right and a treat is coming. He's so solid on the not mugging me for treats while I am actively clicker training. He was still definitely mugging me for my snack and trying to ask the students for treats yesterday, but y'know, he is who he is.
I am hoping that in a month I'll be able to look back and say that his slipping behind is doing much better... so I'm trying to mentally log # of instances per ride to write down on my calendar post-ride. But at the same time trying not to obsess about it.
Anyways, do ya'll have any input on supplements, grain choices, and probiotics? Do you take a less is more approach or do you feel supplements can be truly beneficial and feed multiple supplements?