One step forward, two steps back. This is the dance I dance with Decadance.
Every day is a new adventure. Yesterday is no predictor of what today will bring. He is mercurial, and changes like the wind. Variety seems to keep him focused, boredom brings about new vices.
Beware of complacency and do not dwell on accomplishment! He giveth and he taketh away!
After, for him, what was a fairly long stretch of cooperation lasting many sessions in a row, Decadance decides he does not want to play today. Silly me, I thought we were beyond that.
I ask him to trot off, he responds by ducking to the left. I sigh, understanding this is the start of his evasions. I can escalate the situation, or diffuse it. Wrong answer, I remind him. All I wanted you to do was trot, but we can circle to the left, then right, then left again. I can move you laterally, first your shoulders, then your haunches. Would you like to try to trot again? No? Ask, answer, he's looking for a reaction that he can fight or flight with, I'm well aware of his intentions. Eventually he exhales and releases pent-up tension. Next time I ask, he trots off willingly. I stop and dismount, game over, and lead him out of the arena. What matters is not the quality of the trot, but the effort behind the try.
In these days of social media, everything is public. Dr. Wendy Ying reads about my experience on Facebook, and texts me, she thinks Decadance needs a treatment.
Let me introduce 5 Elements for Animals, the mobile Traditional Chinese Veterinary practice. Dr. Wendy Ying DVM CVA CVC is the veterinarian and just happens to be my good friend. Together with her partner, Dr. Kyle Swanson DC, they provide acupuncture and chiropractic care for all my sport horses.
On their initial evaluation of Decadance several weeks ago, they found
· liver yin deficiency with stagnation
· pain and crepitus right stifle
· epaxial muscle pain left greater than right
· sacroiliac and gluteal pain
and began a regimen of acupuncture, chiropractic care, laser therapy, and nutritional support.
On this subsequent visit, they find
· back soreness T8 thru hind end
· positive ulcer points
· crepitus right stifle improved, but still laxity and pain
· epaxial and gluteal muscle pain
· liver yin and stomach yin deficiency
· stagnation in the bladder meridian
No wonder Decadance was reluctant! Our plan is to resolve the stagnation and to strengthen that right stifle. We need to decrease his joint inflammation and resolve the compensatory back and gluteal pain. Oh, yes, and soothe those ulcers, and do not increase the work load!
What I appreciate about Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine is the holistic approach to treatment. Western medicine, which I still utilize, is more about control and treating a specific illness or disease. TCVM focuses on creating and maintaining balance. The Yin and Yang and the Five Elements (Fire, Wood, Earth, Water, Metal) are the conceptual foundation of TCVM and date back centuries. Yin and Yang and each of the Five Elements are all interconnected and interrelated, they need to be in balance for physical and mental wellness.
Wendy explains she uses the Five Element Theory to diagnose the personality of the animal. All horses contain physical and emotional characteristics of each element, however, one or more are usually dominant. Understanding these patterns in your horse can help you better understand his needs and temperment. For me, it is another puzzle piece that fits into the emerging portrait of Decadance.
The Wood horse is dominant and a herd leader. He is confident, dynamic, and athletic. He needs clear boundaries as he will constantly test who is the boss. He is a fast learner, and needs to keep stimulated. He benefits from lots of turn out. He can be easily offended and may turn grumpy or impatient. The Wood horse works best for a strong and fair trainer.
The Fire horse is sociable, charismatic and radiant. He loves to be the center of attention and is often an excellent show horse. His prime motivator is connection through relationships; he is prone to suffer from separation anxiety when isolated and needs to be with others. He can be emotionally reactive and very excitable. The Fire horse requires grounding, and can be fun to train; he learns quickly, but often loses focus. The Fire horse works best for a knowledgeable trainer with a watchful eye and plenty of resources.
The Earth horse is dependable and generous. He is steady as a rock and motivated by comfort. He is food motivated and usually an easy keeper. The Earth horse may seem a bit lazy but is a good worker once he gets going. The Earth horse works best for a patient trainer who provides a consistent and regular routine. He is not a quick learner, but once he learns a lesson he keeps it forever. However, he can be a bit stubborn if he feels forced into performing.
The Metal horse shares many characteristics with the Earth horse; they are both even tempered, sensible, reliable and calm. The Metal horse is more disciplined and requires a job to feel useful. He thrives on hard work and mental challenge and lives within his boundaries. Like the Earth horse, once taught a task, he is quite happy to perform it that same way over and over. While calm, quiet, and orderly on the outside, the Metal horse is actually highly sensitive and will internalize stress if not careful. The Metal horse works best for an organized and disciplined trainer.
And, then we come to the Water horse, my horse, the equine chameleon. With the Water horse, expect the unexpected, because he is always changing. He often takes on the characteristics of one of the other elements and will masquerade as a Wood, Earth, Metal, or Fire. Indeed, Decadance is a kaleidoscope of elements, shifting in varying alignments.
The Water horse is physically and emotionally sensitive. The Water horse often suffers from unique physical problems that are difficult to isolate and diagnose. He is unusual and quirky, regularly confounding vets, riders, and trainers.
Susan Tenney, CMT could be writing specifically about me and Decs in this excerpt from an article in Equine Wellness, " Accept your Water horse as your teacher and guide. He can help guide you on your path. His wisdom will catalyze profound and lasting transformation in your life. You may be surprised to find yourself looking at things in a different way. A word to the wise: while he may be your teacher on the spiritual plane, here on earth you still need to be the leader while riding and doing groundwork.
Finally, trust your Water horse, your intuition, and your relationship. This horse has plans for you. The only question is whether or not you are prepared to jump into those deep waters. If not, you’ll be happier with another horse. If so, then be prepared for a unique adventure!"
Her advice, "Trust yourself, the relationship between you and your animal, and your intuition in making decisions about the horse. Expect the unexpected, look deeply and creatively for solutions, and surrender to your destiny with this partner."