With Stan I have been working on his balance. Due to physical problems he had adapted a way of moving around which was not very healthy. He started every action and movement leading with his shoulders the rest of him followed. This meant that to start trotting he would launch himself in the air. Getting momentum going he would sort of trot on until there was a corner. He could “fall” around a corner at high speed or drop to a stop. No power from behind what so ever. No pushing of to move forward and no supporting. Also an on and off lameness that needed further examination.
The start was bodywork to loosen his tight neck and shoulder up. Then a chiropractor could examine and help him further, he was stuck on loads of places. Together with more body work on his still very tight neck and shoulders. After this mobilisation the training to a new improved moving pattern began.
How to get balance:
This rehabilitation is all about getting him into balance. Helping him getting stronger in his hind legs and back. Relaxing his top line and starting to move in an active healthy forward way. Also it is all about learning how to move in this new way instead of sticking to old habits.
For weeks most of the work was done in walk. He knew how to follow and he knew how to run around on a lunge line. He did not know how to walk slightly apart from me on his own. Getting a steady strong forward walk. Moving from small circles to straight lines and back. Having me not only on his left but also on his right was also totally unfamiliar to him. So explaining this all to him took weeks, only working with him on the Wednesdays. But it gave his body time to get stronger.
Next was trotting on a medium circle to help him with his balance. If the circle was too big and he would charge off with head high – back down and totally out of balance. Too small and he could not support himself yet. Recently I have been increasing the amount of trotting from just a ¾ circle to 4 – 5 circles in a steady trot, in balance and a relaxed top line.
He is really doing very well, but we are not finished. He still has a lot of tension in neck and shoulder. And the gaits need to be confirmed and become natural again.