Despite multiple massages over the last few weeks, Licorice's back continue to have spasms. When the vet initially looked at it, she thought it was due to him coming out of consistent work into no work. She recommended lunging with a neck stretcher to get him to round his back up.
However, the current path that I'm on is one where I'm starting over to build trust. Without any gadgets if possible. And from what I can tell, a neck stretcher 'forces' the horse into position by limiting his movement. So, instead, we've been lunging Licorice and working hard on building relaxation cues and head down cues.
The good news is that he's getting much better and is now able to lunge quietly with his head down more and more consistently. However, his back isn't much better and it's been three months. The vet had said to lunge in the neck stretcher and it should get better in a month. I know the road I'm taking is very much the longer road, and I'm trying to not be in a hurry but it's hard.
It's hard wondering if my horse is going to be ride-able again. It's hard not to just put on the damn neck stretcher and rehab him without worrying about our 'relationship'. It's hard for my pea brain to wrap around the long term benefits of this kind of training versus getting Licorice better faster. It's also hard for me to believe that without the neck stretcher, I can actually teach him to round up his back and lower his head. It's painfully slow going.
I'm DETERMINED to not have an agenda until next summer at the earliest, which means I spend a lot of time trying to come up with an agenda or find some answers. The answers I'm looking for are ones that only come with time and lots and lots of patience. So, I'm off to meditate now and learn how to just be in right now and not worry about tomorrow.