It would be so much easier if we could ease our spouses into Horse Culture, if it didn’t involve confessing the need for cash.
“Um honey,” I say, carefully, “I need the Chiropractor.”
“Oh sure!” Shaun says, sealing her financial tomb, “Is your back bothering you again?”
“No, my back is doing okay now”, I say, hoping this will sound like a good thing, once she figures out where this is going. (It could be worse, we could need two chiropractors?)
She looks at me in puzzlement. “Your neck?”
Oh hey, good idea, I hadn’t thought of that! It affects my neck, so maybe she’ll go for it?
“Kind of”, I say, “Hudson’s shoulder is bothering him, which is affecting his neck and back, and making my neck and back hurt too.”
I look at her. Wait. She hasn’t made the connection. Dang.
“He hasn’t seen the chiropractor since he roped last, and I think a steer yanked his shoulder out.” I say, “Mike is coming on Tuesday, and he’s the best.”
I watch her process this. Who is Mike? And why would he come to our house? Don’t chiropractors usually have offices? Why am I talking as if Hudson has seen a chiropractor? He’s a horse. Horses don’t sit in waiting rooms reading ancient copies of Horse Illustrated while waiting for their Chiropractor, right?
I study her face carefully, watching her reconnect my sentences. Realization is starting to dawn, along with a questioning sort of dismissal.
“I think Hudson will need a chiropractic adjustment one last time?”, I say, “there won’t be anymore steers yanking on his shoulder.”
I am praying this is a true statement, since Hudson is also – like me – the master of The Eating Accident. He believes the grass really is greener on the other side: he tries to stick his hoof through the fence to balance himself while leaning on the fencing to reach the grass. Usually, his hoof gets caught. He gives it a pull or two, and then waits to be cut out. Again.
And we wait for the chiropractor. Again. His paddock has been toilet-papered in hot tape (electric fencing, for the non-horsey), but electricity has been known to fail, and he seems to know exactly when that happens.
Focus, Jane, FOCUS. I mentally hit myself with a riding crop.
“So it’s a one-time deal?”, Shaun asks, slowly.
I jump on the plank floating in the ocean.
“Yup. Probably”, I say, “I mean, it could happen again? But it’s unlikely.”
By the time we get to the cost, she’s on the plank with me: “Well, I guess it would cost that much to send you to the chiropractor if we didn’t have insurance…”
“Yeah”, I say, riskily adding, “And it’s always less expensive to prevent problems than deal with them when they come up. Plus, if there is nothing wrong, Mike doesn’t charge to look at him.”
“Have there been times when nothing is wrong?”, Shaun asks.
Luckily, I can honestly say, “Yup. There have.”
Hudson got on Mike’s schedule yesterday. He did need work, and Mike did a beautiful job. I wish Mike was a human chiropractor. My back and hip are totally whacked out.
Having been at, or hung out at, a number of boarding barns, I’ve seen my share of chiropractors. Some of whom are good, honest people, with proper training. Honestly? I hadn’t been impressed.
Mike is impressive. He was able to adjust Ruby, who is fearful of men, spooky about being handled by people outside her circle, and by the end, she was in love. And out of pain.
It’s only somewhat problematic that he doesn’t live in California.
It’s still win-win. Hudson is a happy camper, I learned new exercises to do at warm up to loosen his barrel (Mike explained: horses with stiff cores are physically unable to come up underneath themselves, why traditional dressage exercises don’t work as well on that one specific thing, and what to do to release a tight barrel), and Shaun is onboard with Hudson possibly needing a chiropractor at some distant point in the future.
Don’t you love it when you and your someone special find the same plank in the ocean?
I stupidly forgot my camera (also my boots, brushing my hair, and any semblance of matching clothing, because I set my alarm wrong. 6 am and 6 pm are distinctly different animals) so I have no pictures, which would have been amazing. Next time!