Friday, July 8, 2016

Update on Ben

Yesterday Ben's long-time masseuse, Lael Cook, came to the barn to give him a good going over. She's very familiar with all the aches and pains he's had over the years, and I wanted to see if she'd find any signs that this going back to work is not right for him.

Well, Lael palpated and rubbed and pressed and pushed all up and down the giant bay body, and....

Found nothing. No problems. No spasmed croup, no flinching back, no neck knots. Not even tight hamstrings that she thought likely given his sagging suspensories. Nada. Zilch. He was in fact, she said, the best he's ever been. EVAH.

We speculated it might be that, given his long history of back and hock problems even when in work, it could be something as simple as having more than a year completely off from work, enough time for everything to heal. And certainly that his previous life on the farm, almost always out on heavy clay soil pastures instead of spending nights bedded on shavings on top of mats on top of dirt, could be a big part of it -- I've certainly seen a marked improvement in his arthritis since he came back to Seven Acres.

So he's got her all-clear to keep working, and she'll come back in a couple of months to do him again and see how he is, but she expects he'll do fine. I rode him today, for about ten minutes total, all walk but with some gentle leg-yielding here and there, and he was solid.

This is wonderful.

And from the Wayback Machine, from 2007, here's Lael massaging Ben while fending off his then paddock buddy, who wanted some too:

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