Chasity’s Challenges: Chasity’s First Workouts: 4-1, 3-20

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4-1-20:

I led Chasity from the stall and introduced her to her new work station. It was clear that there would be a lot of work ahead. Her neck crest was fallen to one side, but was not yet permanently broken, as far as I could tell. She had fat pockets across her body and her hooves were overgrown with shoes on the front feet. At least her feet could be balanced after removing her shoes and having her trimmed. For now, I would introduce Chasity to her new routine of grooming and exercise.

Since I wanted a clean place to set the crownpiece of the bridle without it getting tangled in her hair, I went ahead and clipped her bridle path. She was very good about having the clippers behind her ears.

I wasn’t thrilled to have to do the workout with her feet so unbalanced, but I knew the farrier would be here the very next day, so I opted to get started. I had my Ranch manager, Chad, clean her feet.

Then I proceeded to groom her with the multi-bristled human hairbrush and scrape with the shedding blade what I thought was dried milk from the insides of her hind legs.

I tacked her up in a light weight surcingle, Eggbutt snaffle bridle and a neck sweat to help keep the crested neck stabilized and encourage shrinkage during the workout. Then I added and adjusted my “Elbow Pull” self-correcting, postural restraint to support good equine posture during her workout.

Then it was time to go to the indoor arena where I had the Hourglass Pattern with ground rails set up for her therapy sessions. She hollowed her neck and back, and “trailered” her hindquarters behind when she walked. It was the same when she stood still with an inverted neck and back and camped out behind.

I began her postural therapy…leading her through the Hourglass Pattern in the “Elbow Pull” restraint to encourage her good posture. The neck sweat would begin to shrink the crest on her neck. She didn’t know exactly what was expected at first, but soon “got with the program” of walk and halt in designated places. She was asked to square up with equal weight over all four feet and then be rewarded for her effort. I waited each time for her to finish chewing her crimped oats before proceeding again along the track of the Hourglass Pattern.

As she walked, she submitted to the pressure from the “Elbow Pull” restraint which meant she was holding her own good posture when it was loose. She would lean against it when she could not hold that posture, but I encouraged her to relax and “give” to it each time we halted.

Chasity tracked once around one way and then once around the other way. She walked over the ground rails in the center of the pattern and stopped at strategic places between the cones to do square halts and stand still. I also stood still after dispensing her rewards so she would never feel rushed. She learned to stretch her back and engage her abs, and slowly began to improve even after only one session!

One of my ranch hands, Steve, said that he noticed her back and overall posture looked ever so slightly better when she was done, even after only one session! I think I see some very subtle improvement from the beginning to the end of the workout as well. It will take a long time to get her REALLY correct in her posture, but it is truly exciting when it begins to happen!

4-3-20:

I went ahead and did Chasity’s therapy session in the Hourglass Pattern again. She did well in her workout and I noticed that her hair coat is already considerably softer. She had some difficulty squaring up, but it could be soreness from the previous workout. Standing squarely is unnatural for her and it will just take some time before it becomes comfortable. After having her hooves trimmed, she is moving a bit more balanced…not quite as awkwardly. Going forward, I will be doing her workouts at least once a week, but no more than every other day. Muscles need to be appropriately stressed during the workout, but not fatigued, a day of rest is needed in between to fully recover. I expect it will probably take six months before we have redistributed the fatty tissue and solidified her balance in good equine posture. I am fortunate to have such a nice indoor arena in which to work during inclement weather.

  1. Cinda (Spoon) Coach05-03-2020

    Glad to see her off to a good start!

    • Lori01-22-2022

      Ty for sharing. It will be interesting to follow her progress.

  2. Jan01-22-2022

    Do you expect to be able to ‘undo’ her fallen crest? My two retired brood jenny’s (half sisters) both have fallen crests, each to opposite sides. And a 3rd jenny in the same family, her crest went over as a 2yo. None had been or were obese at the time, but the first mentioned 2 were overweight at times during their broody lives.

    • Meredith02-02-2022

      With my core strength exercises (you can email me at meredith@luckythreeranch.com and I can send you the details), we were making a lot of progress, but I had to stop exercises over the winter. She is still on her diet and the crest is still reducing, just not as fast. I will resume work again in the spring and I am confident we will be able to get her crest into alignment, however I do think it will take a lot of time. These kinds of things cannot be fixed very fast, if at all. She is already much improved and it is holding where it is so far without the exercise which is very encouraging.

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