There is an absolutely amazing magic trick that you can do when you learn acupuncture in horses. You can run a needle cap or a pen cap over a pattern of acupuncture points and they will flinch where the points are sore. The points on the scan correspond to joints. If the horse is sore on the joint then he will react on the scan. If you haven’t ever tried to figure out where a horse is sore before you may not understand how incredibly amazing this is. People who are good at this can figure out a lameness in a few minutes standing in a barn aisle with a horse. Traditional lameness diagnosis can require multiple trotting exams, flexion tests, nerve blocks, xrays, and on and on.

Many good horse acupuncturists don’t want to be told what the problem is before doing the scan since the history can be confusing and it just looks really cool when you can tell the people what the horse’s problem is. You can really up your wow factor by finding a sore spot, placing a needle at the appropriate spot, and immediately scanning the sore spot again and having the horse not be sore any more.

The only problem is – I can’t do it. I have a limpy gimpy horse. She won’t react on a scan. She has a gimpy pasturemate who also just looks at me when I scan him. I took an extra (I call it remedial) scan class at the last session to see what the problem was. Turns out that I am scanning correctly but I was being way too gentle. They told me to go home and push steadily harder on Prize until she reacted to see what level of pressure I had to apply. So I did that this morning with her and her pasture buddy. Nada. I told them both that that better mean that they are perfectly pain free and not just that they are ignoring me. I’m not sure if they were limping or not. It sounds strange but they turn into statues when I go there. Will not walk. I could go get a halter and drag her to the barn and make her move but I was lazy. I also had an appointment.

I was going to a friend’s house to see her horse. He has a history of being explosively bad at times. He once broke bones in a spectator at a horse show. That takes a special level of bad. He is very sweet until he goes off. He is going to a clinic in a few weeks to work on his issues. His farrier recommended chiropractic. So I went to see him.

He did have some major back stiffness. I adjusted that out and then scanned him for practice. He flinched over the front of his pelvis. I hugged him. I was so excited that I did it! I was even more excited when he was painful on the same place on the other side. This is why I have to practice on friend’s animals first. Regualr clients won’t just write off my yelling, “He’s Sore!!!! I did it!!!” and hugging the horse as part of my normal craziness.

He was very hard to needle. His muscles over the pelvis were so stiff and tight that I could barely get needles into him. I decided to go to the place on the feet where the bladder meridian (and runs along the back) ends and open it from there. That was ok on one side but he wasn’t having it on the side that was the most sore. The bladder meridian starts on the inside corner of the eye. So I went there on that side. He didn’t mind a needle hanging off his face as much. Strange horse.

After the treatment he did not react on the scan on the left side. His reaction was diminished on the right (more sore) side.

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