Equine chiropractory

Baxter Black, DVM

Getting injured is an embarrassment to a cowboy. Unlike professional athletes with trainers and insurance, “playing hurt” is expected in the cowboy world. It is part of the cowboy mentality; which is better, letting your broken arm heal or repelling down the face of Mt. Everest on a dare?

Dave had two 3-year-old fillies in training. He’s a bit of an eclectic cowboy; he paints eggs, likes Yoko Ono’s music, and has read Jack Kerouac’s book On The Road. So it was not unusual to find himself in the corral wearing shorts and Birkenstocks, throwing an English saddle on one of the fillies.

Sometimes horses disguise their resentment of a horse trainer’s smug arrogance by cooperating. Other days they just say “Stick it in your ear!” The filly bucked him out of his Birkenstocks, over his head and into the fence! Dave found himself on the ground and hip-locked.  His knee worked but he could not lift his left leg forward. Walking was sort of a step-shuffle-step-shuffle-stumble-slide gait.

As you would expect of a true cowboy, over the next three days he fulfilled his promise to help gather the neighbor’s cows, but he was handicapped. To mount his horse involved a step stool and powerful shoulders. A potty break was out of the question!

Saturday came with no improvement but he was adjusting…eating on the sofa, walking in circles and pirouetting. Though he could still not lift his leg, he could bend over so, when Uncle Herman wanted his big Belgian mare shod, Dave said, “Bring her over.” This kind of sedentary work remained within his ability.

He’d gotten around to the offside hind leg and was holding the plate-sized foot in his hands. The big mare began leaning her huge haunch on Dave’s back, crushing him. He slowly collapsed as her 1,950 pounds pressed down and slid along his back. Dave said he heard three little clicks, like a grandfather clock’s Tick-Tock-Tick.

He crumpled and rolled, then, without thinking he rose and stepped away…cured!

Hey, I believed him. But, I believe Moses parted the Red Sea, too. I’ve heard of Equine Chiropractory, but not in that context.

In conclusion Dave answered the classic question, “Is there a doctor in the horse?!” ❖


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