This morning my friend Selma, who is a horse fysiotherapist and osteopath, came to take a look at Little Love. She first worked on Kira, who has been having some accute back problems. Kira's owner (the barn owner) has been quite worried about Kira's escalating aggression and frankly it is starting to worry everyone else as well, since it is affecting the herd in many ways. Last night when the barn owners adult daughter came to let the horses in, Kira was standing at the gate, kicking at everyone who tried to approach, including Manta, her "wing man". She has been extremely grumpy for the past two weeks, lashing out at both Lilo and Metku without much warning. At first we all thought it was because of Manta's injury and her being separated from the herd, but it has become increasingly clear that there is another reason as well; Kira is in pain.
Poor Kira's back was quite locked up, but luckily Selma was able to bring her some relief. She also discovered that Kira had some issues with her head, meaning that the bones in her head were sort of stuck. Kira, like Lilo, doesn't like strangers touching her, but when Selma put her healing hands on Kira's forehead, I thought Kira was going to fall over from sheer relief. I've never seen her hang her lower lip, but she did today. Just seeing that made me wonder if perhaps she had had a headache. Why not? It's difficult to diagnose a headache in an animal, but I would imagine they can get them just like people.
By the time Selma got to Lilo, all four horses were so done standing in their stalls. Usually they get out once they have had their morning hay, but because Kira needed to be as relaxed as possible when Selma was treating her, we kept them all in. Little Love no longer needs the whole entourage with her in the barn; I can easily pull her out of the pasture and bring her in, and she is perfectly relaxed. But - there was no way we could leave her in now and put the other three horses out. So, in they all stayed.
After watching Lilo move at walk and trot, on a straight line and on a circle, Selma asked us to come back inside. She said that it looked to her that Lilo was "stuck" in her thorax area. A closer inspection confirmed this.
Little Love is not a big fan of osteopaths, because they do the one thing she hates the most - touch her all over her body. The fact that Metku was kicking her door and Manta and Kira were impatiently pawing in their stalls did not help one bit. I had to use all my negotiation skills (and some carrots) to convince Lilo that bodywork was a brilliant idea. Selma did some minor adjustments, but it was increasingly more difficult to deal with the fact that all horses wanted to go outside. We decided to stop and continue at a later date. Before we did, however, Selma showed me some rather elaborate and complicated stretches I could guide Lilo to do. This would help her improve the mobility of her chest area as well as the elasticity of her spine in the withers area.
Selma is coming back in two to three weeks to check on Kira's progress and she will check Lilo again then. She said that despite the fact that Lilo has next to no muscle and has been through quite a bit in the last eight months (going barefoot, falling over, traveling across Europe), she is doing relatively well in her body. She encouraged us to move as much as possible. Long walks, that sort of thing. I told her we were working on it!