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We Are Flying Solo

July 14, 2011

Lessons From Dr. Bob, Vol. 38

I don't know how many ways it is possible to say "I LOVE DR. BOB."  I mean, my plan is to lure him into a stall and then lock him up so he can never leave.  He can reside there and just impart his seemingly endless stream of knowledge through the bars.  He can have all the fresh carrots from the garden he wants.

That man can tell you more about your horse using his eyes and his hands and a lifetime of horse care than most vets I've seen can with bone scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, nerve blocks, and blah blah blah. AND he stays up to date. I'll be all smart and say, "Hey, I just read about this cool study online..." and he'll come right back with the history leading up to the study, the complications with it, whether or not the results are any good, and situations where it would be applicable. Priceless, he is priceless and if I ever have to move, I'm kidnapping him at hoofpick-point. Too bad other clients, Solo trumps you all!

The POINT of my unadulterated worship is yet another conversation we had today about Solo. I have been dutifully massaging the Orange Butt and a funny thing happened: I would start at the top of his hips near his spine and work down the gluteus muscles (the top pink butt muscles on the right) to where they join the head of the femur. I found knots to work on, but not overwhelming pain. But then I would work back UP the same muscle, bottom up to spine, and Solo's leg would twitch and buckle like crazy. I quickly surmised it caused agonizing pain.

Well, science girl chirped into my head and said, "Wait, you have no control variable!" So I tried it on Solo's pasturemate, Pete. Similar response. Hmmm.

Dr. Bob: "Yep, if you go down the muscle, you are massaging correctly. Going back up, against the 'grain,' you are pinching nerves and pinching muscle fibres against bone, so they don't like it that much and if you really go for it, you can damage nerves."

He then followed up with a scientific discussion of the intersection of acupuncture, physiology, and 3000 years of muscle work.

So, my horse is not in agonizing, leg-buckling pain after all. I was just doing it wrong.

Thank you, Horse Master, good to know!


  1. You're very fortunate to have a great resource like him - you're right to try to capture him!

  2. Wow, Dr. Bob sounds like one in a million! Can you maybe bottle him and send him to those of us who don't have fantastically wonderful vets?

  3. Oh, jen, I wish I could. I'm not sure I could fit him in a bottle though, he's pretty tall. And his wife might protest. But I doubt she appreciates his magic as much as we do!!!!

  4. A horse professional like that is worth his weight in diamonds!

  5. and so she practiced on Pete, and put him through similar torture just to see if he would cringe and squirm in a likewise manner...he did.

    I will fight you for Dr. Bob. It won't be pretty.

  6. I want a Dr. Bob... he sounds amazing.

  7. Myyy preciousssss, myyy ownnnn.....

  8. I was going to BE a vet, worked for several small animal practices as a youngster, have taken my guinea pigs and dogs to many different ones, have watched my riding buddy cycle through every practice in our area for her horses, and I concur: a good vet is AWFULLY hard to find. Why the heck is that???

    I actually worked for one who I swear was just in it for the money; he was allergic to cats and dogs (took shots) and acted like he didn't even like them. One made me cry just by exhibiting all the emotions of a sofa when I brought my incredibly adorable, well-behaved puppy in for vaccines (never petted her, barely spoke, stuck her with a needle and left). Others I worked for liked playing God a little too much, or had egos the size of a Clydesdale, or treated clients and employees like mental midgets.

    I guess it's the same story as doctors, but somehow I always expect vets to be "better." :-) I have great vets for my pup and piggies now (the pig vet is almost an hour away, but worth the trip), but boy, if I had a horse I'd be considering a move to NC!

  9. I hear that, RW, I had a horse vet for a while who WAS in it for the money, it was craziness. Sadly, I am a slow learner! You wouldn't think it would be that hard to have just a little compassion and put the animals first?!