Friday, January 12, 2024

Needles for the baby horse

I set Ben and Goggles up for their coggins with one of our local vets and asked her to acupuncture Goggles. She had worked on my mare Leila for her neck pain and it seemed really beneficial, so I was eager to have her take a look at Goggles once he was up in her normal range. Plus establishing care for him with a local vet is always good. 

While we know Ben loves his needles (Part 1 and Part 2) and is actually signed up for another teaching lab in early February, I wasn't sure how Goggles would feel about them. I was positive he was not a candidate for the teaching lab regardless of how he felt about needles because you have to be relatively still and well behaved for FOUR hours and... That's not a Thing we do right now... 

But both Goggles and I were actually delighted. I love the vet, she's super practical about what acupuncture can and can't do and knows the studies, such as they are. She didn't truly acupuncture scan him to begin, just palpated. She said she felt like the more sensitive types get pissed if it hurts when you scan and then are defensive and less likely to let you treat. She did find substantial pain in his left poll and left mid-neck. He was also sore over his sacrum, but that she felt was more consistent with having a job now. Since this was the day after he cantered the circle of death multiple times, I totally agreed. 

Being a very Good Boy

Her tech was also fantastic and held him with just the right balance of entertaining him but not letting him step over the line to being rude. He was very reactive to one point on his left sacral area, so she kinda let that one go in order to focus on his neck. 

Once she had the points in she hooked up the electro acupuncture. I've never seen him be so still for so long. He truly zenned out on the low setting meant to cause serotonin release and calmness. 

Ugh, as I look at this I can see a hint of ribs he's developed since the move. But look how good he's being with the electro! 

Then she turned it up a bit to the pain relief level. He definitely felt it a little bit but then seemed to realize it was feeling good and he relaxed into it again. 

After the time was up for the needles, she showed me a few manual therapy things to do on his neck. Starting with skin rolling to get him used to being touched, then actually grabbing the brachiocephalicus muscle and pushing/lifting up mostly with the fingers in the area of the jugular groove, and doing the same with the muscle just in front of the scapula. She said he was a smart horse, he realized he felt so much better and immediately let us manipulate things that he had previously been guarding. While we were doing the manual therapy on his left brachio, he saw something in the distance and lifted his head, but had the strangest focal muscle spasm pass through, then did some big yawns and sighs. 

She wanted to see him again in 3-4 weeks, and then go to a roughly every 2 month schedule. He's due for his q3 month shockwave next week and he'll get adjusted then too. It seems like a whole lot for a young horse who still isn't doing much, but I truly think he's a special dude. We're also hoping as he builds muscle correctly we can back down on some of these things. But for now I'm so glad to have added acupuncture in, he was so good and got such instant relief from it. 


  1. aww good baby goggles!! it's so interesting introducing young and guarded ottbs to some of these therapies lol. like i know they get a lot of this stuff on the track too... but eh, i tend to think it might be a slightly different experience than the amateur owner therapy approach haha. doozy has been a bit defensive so far of some stuff, but is learning quickly that it ain't all bad!

    1. Yoshi definitely had a much harder time accepting touch than Goggles does. I don't know how much of that is time on the track vs who they are as individuals. It's really fun watching them figure out it feels good though!