Browse a few of our testimonials and case histories from past & present clients.
Porky the Wonder Dog Porky is my nine year old Blue Heeler. He is my companion, loyal friend, and partner on my farm in Greenville, Illinois. He loves to ride with me on the tractors, trucks, four-wheelers, and combines while I work my farm. This summer he started walking stiff-legged and finally had no feeling in his back legs. I took him to my vet. After tests she discovered that Porky had contracted Rocky Mountain Tick Disease. The vet started Porky on antibiotics and suggested that I see Suzan Franz at Indian Creek Therapy for some cold laser treatments.
Porky had not been able to walk for three weeks when we started the treatments at Indian Creek. His paralysis was so bad you could stick a pin in his foot and he wouldn't feel it. I thought there was no hope for Porky to ever walk again. Amazingly, after eight treatments, Porky started walking again and is now back on the farm. The receptionist at the vet's office calls Porky 'The Wonder Dog'.
Thank you Suzan Franz for helping my loving and happy friend walk again.
Eldon Turley Greenville, Illinois 2011
Amber - Fixed and Fabulous
Dear Indian Creek Holistic Rehab,
I wanted to say "THANK YOU" for fixing our horse Amber. (JV Smokin' Norfleet). She has come a long way from being 'thrown out to pasture' at age 7. If you remember correctly, she couldn't canter one direction, bend her neck, and was very back sore. After ultrasound therapy, balanced shoeing, professional dental float (by an equine dentist), and a Timberline orthopedic saddle, she is fluid, flexible and cantering easily in both directions. Amber will be joining the IPHA circuit this year in the walk/trot division. We can't thank you enough for all of your hard work in diagnosis and treatment of our beloved Amber. I hope we can help spread the word that horses ARE FIXABLE!
Sincerely yours, Liberty Prairie Farm Kevin & Mary Price
PS Here is a photo of Amber at her last show. Our nephew Tyler is on board with one of their 3 trophies!
Cowboy King - Chronic Concerns We adopted Cowboy King as a four year-old in May of 2000. He injured his hock while in training as a two year-old in 1998. When he arrived at our farm, his left hock was swollen, soft, and fluid filled and he had a slight limp. We took Cowboy to the University of Illinois for diagnosis and treatment, which was inconclusive and unsuccessful. He was put on lay-up for over a year. I contacted several veterinarians to evaluate Cowboy King. Each of them had a different diagnosis, and each of them had a different treatment plan. In the course of the next two years we systematically exhausted every treatment plan proposed. Cowboy King experienced temporary improvement, but any activity sent him reeling backwards. His pain became chronic and was no longer manageable with traditional medications. We tried alternative treatments and dietary supplements. Again, any improvements were short lived. Cowboy was getting progressively worse. By the spring of 2002, Cowboy's coat had lost its luster and his eyes became dull. The muscles in his left rear had begun to atrophy. He walked with a consistent limp. Farrier work on his rear hooves was nearly impossible. He was a three-legged horse. At this point, we considered putting him down. We tried everything to help him and nothing seemed to work.
Thankfully, I met Suzie Franz of the Indian Creek Equine Rehabilitation Center. After consulting with our vet, Suzie agreed to come to our farm to evaluate Cowboy. Cowboy King came into the barn from his paddock on three legs. His hock was swollen to the size of a cantaloupe. Suzie pointed out that his sacrum was tipped and that he had virtually no muscle tone in his left rear. He did not bear any weight on his left rear leg. He stood with his leg cocked, and rested on the front of his hoof, which had turned purple and bruised. After evaluation, Suzie began a 20-minute photon treatment. About 10 minutes into it, Cowboy lifted his left rear leg and put his hoof down normally. As the treatment progressed, he put more and more weight on it. Following the treatment, I led him back to his paddock without a limp. He walked on all four legs for the first time since we had owned him. I will never forget that moment because it was the first time in years that I actually allowed myself to hope.
We immediately made arrangements for Cowboy to be taken to the Indian Creek Equine Rehabilitation Center where Suzie used a combination of homeopathy, therapeutic ultrasound and photon treatment and Dr. Linda Harmon-Dodge, DVM, performed two chiropractic adjustments. The results were incredible. Cowboy has been home for over two months and I am happy to report that he is pain free and his mobility has improved tremendously. The size of his hock has been dramatically reduced. He is regaining muscle mass and tone. His appetite has returned and his coat texture has improved. He is so much happier. He actually gallops on all four legs! Suzie literally saved Cowboy King's life. I can only imagine how different things would have been for him if we had met Suzie back in 1998 when he first sustained the injury. Perhaps he could have gone on to race.
I highly recommend Suzie Franz and the Indian Creek Equine Rehabilitation Center.
Cathy Rinne Prinrock Farms Chester, IL
Downtown Clown - Healing Hands I have a tale to tell you about a wonderful healer. She uses alternative healing practices that you have to trust with your heart and then your senses will prove to you that they work.
On August 12, 2001 our beloved 12-year-old TB eventing horse, Downtown Clown stepped on an old draft horse clinch in his pasture. During a one month span, he received 3 surgeries at the U of I large animal clinic in Champaign, IL. He became septic and infection spread throughout his body. We were told we were lucky that he survived. He could not put weight on his back right hind foot. We thought that his good leg would go out. He was depressed. He received massive doses of expensive antibiotics twice daily. On September 13, we took him from the hospital, still dead lame and with no hope of a normal horse life. Dr. Linda Harmon-Dodge, our veterinarian, suggested that we take him for physical therapy and laser work and later ultra sound from Susie Franz in Warden, IL. We left him in her care for 2 months and he received love and energy and extensive therapy daily from Suzie and her assistant Mary, plus herbal and rainbow drop therapies. He got better, he put weight on his hind foot, he walked flat-footed, the huge hole on the bottom of his hoof into his navicular bursa and coffin joint healed.
We think Suzie is wonderful! He came home before Thanksgiving. My daughter rode her horse, Downtown Clown, 4 days out of 7 on her spring break this March, 2002. He walks, trots, and canters. His muscles are weaker and need strengthening, but that we can do. He has special shoes on his hind feet and receives ultra sound treatments to work on the ringbone and navicular disease that he has been left with. But, hey, the U of I told us that he wouldn't be usable because he left there dead lame. We plan to give him a year off from hard work, and then who knows, he may be back eventing at novice level.
We live in Newman, IL. Our phone number is 217 837 2685, give us a call and we will tell you how Suzie's hard work and wonderful alternative therapies work. She speaks with her heart and uses her healing hands to help. Sincerely, Marylee and Marydith McGee
Max, The Squirrel Chaser
Max had a severe shoulder injury. He had been treated for almost a year with accupuncture and medicine. He seemed to make no progress and was getting weaker and lethargic. We heard about Suzie Franz through Mark at the 'All Natural Pet Food Center' in Edwardsville, Illinois. We took Max for two sessions with Suzie. He peaked up and was able to move around with much less pain -until he decided to chase a squirrel! Back he went for Suzie's treatments. Within three more sessions, he was back to normal -running, jumping, and acting crazy. The Photon Laser treatment is amazing.
Sara Blair Worden, Illinois 2011
Dusta - Miracle Mini My name is Martha Gladden and I am from Tracy, California, sixty miles east of San Francisco. I have a beautiful five-year-old miniature palomino mare, barely thirty inches high and one hundred fifty pounds. Last April Dusta got caught under a fence and severely dislocated her hip. We took her to Pioneer Equine Hospital in Oakdale, California, a clinic known for orthopedic work on horses. After a grueling five hours in surgery and traction with a come-along, the hip would not stay in place. The surgeons had nothing to pin or screw to that wouldn't just pop loose. Dr. Mac Donald, formerly of Mid-Rivers Equine Hospital in Mid-Rivers, Missouri, decided to attempt a femur ostectomy. To we laymen a femur ostectomy is a dog surgery that could only help Dusta because she is dog-sized. The surgeon completely removes the head of the femur and the joint is allowed to heal up without a ball and socket, supported totally by scar tissue. This was the first time this procedure was performed on an equine patient!
After two surgeries we brought Dusta home, but because she wasnt using the leg we had to send her back for physio-therapy and medication to help bring the drawn-up leg closer to the ground. The injured leg was now two inches shorter due to bone loss. We were fighting against time and a three-legged horse to get weight off the good leg before it broke down. We knew Dusta would not make it if her good leg gave out. <Br> <Br>In the next week poor Dusta began a therapeutic regimen at a thoroughbred rehab ranch nearby, swimming two laps three times a day six days a week for three weeks. The doctors added weights on the leg, lots of extra physio-therapy and range in motion exercises. The leg and hoof came closer to the ground but she was still twisted over to the good leg and her back had started to develop a curve. She wanted to touch the ground with that hoof so badly but the injured leg was shorter than the other and still painful. I think she just became afraid to use it.
I was desperate to save her and the good leg and to help her to put pressure on the shortened leg and hoof. I didnt know what to do next. My doctors had given up on her. Lift shoe? Some kind of traction device that lifts her good side up and rolls her back over to the bad side? This mare was so special to us, especially to my five-year old daughter Cody who once said that if she could grow up to be anyone in the world, she wanted to grow up to be Dusta. This broke my heart. Dusta, the cutest thing youve ever seen, long neck and dishy little head, very Araby-looking. She won last years Reserve National Champion at the miniature horse show and we were going to lose her despite all the effort. I had to make her right. I was told that after this type of surgery, there was no other remedy. We were starting to lose the good leg. I could see it coming! After a desperate Yahoo! search, I found Indian Creek Equine Rehabilitation Center. Suzie Franz sent me a detailed e-mail giving me some some possible veterinary contacts in my area of the world. None of the contacts responded positively. After corresponding further with Suzie I began onsidering the possibility of sending Dusta all the way to Southern Illinois. What finally prompted me to send her the two-thousand miles from home was the encouragement I got from Dr. MacDonald. He knew Suzie personally and was aware of her work at the Center. He told me that if I was willing to transport Dusta, it was worth a shot! What an irony that the surgeon and the rehab specialist were part of the same little world but now separated by half a continent.
We wanted to fly her out, but the airlines told us the cargo compartment would be way too hot in the middle of August. Within the week I had arranged instead for a transport company to pick up Dusta in Tracy,California, carry her across the desert in a van specially equipped for horses, through Texas, up the Oklahoma turnpike, in and out of the Mark Twain National Forest and the Ozarks and across the Mississippi River. The journey took five days, but in the wee morning hours Dusta arrived at Indian Creek Stables none the worst for wear.
At the Rehab Center, after a thorough exam by Dr. Jon McCormick, DVM, Suzie began ultra-sound, photon laser therapy and gentle range of motion exercises immediately. Dr. Linda Harmon-Dodge, from the Amish town of Arthur, Illinois, performed chiropractic manipulation to help straighten her pelvis and back. To our delight, Dusta began taking tentative little steps, placing weight on the injured leg! In the months following her surgery, she had never been comfortable enough to attempt this.
After three weeks Suzie and her assistant created a temporary lift shoe from a Styrofoam bucket and fitted it to her tiny foot (look closely at the picture and you can see how it was taped on). Suzie and I were in contact almost daily. When we received the first videotape of Dusta walking, I cried and Cody kept kissing the TV screen. We just received word that Dusta bucked and trotted this morning, the brisk fall weather obviously perking her up. Wow! Soon we will be bringing her back home. While we know she will never walk again without a little limp, the thought of her struggle makes her that much more precious to us. Cody and I send our thanks and gratitude to all the excellent surgeons and doctors who dared perform this experimental surgery, a first in equine history. We especially want to thank Suzie Franz and Indian Creek Equine, who offered a ray of hope in a dark cloud of anguish. I am amazed at the lengths people will go to help and at all the prayers Dusta received. She is truly a Miracle Mini! Sincerely, Martha Gladden Tracy, California
Hasan - Back to His Winning Ways HB Khayal Hasan is a 26 year old arabian stallion who has been performing in the show ring since he was 3. He has always been a wonderful mover, and has many championships in driving, english pleasure, country pleasure, costume, show hack and even western pleasure. He recently began a career in carriage driving. Over the years, the strain of showing and breeding began to take its toll on him, and at the age of 20, he strained a stifle breeding a mare quite a bit taller than he.
Over the next four years, his performance suffered. He was not able to compete in more than one or two classes a day before he would begin to short stride. His canter to the right suffered greatly, and he began taking the wrong lead. We medicated him with Legend twice during each show season, injected the area, and had chiropractic adjustments made. All of these helped to a point, but he never regained the fluidness he was so famous for. We had decided that age had caught up with him, and his show career was basically over.
Another horse of mine, a champion halter and western pleasure mare, had suffered a leg injury last fall, and had some very nasty scarring around her pastern. We had tried pretty much everything to minimize the scar, but to no avail. Someone had told me about Indian Creek Equine Therapy and though I was pretty skeptical that they could do anything to help, I decided to give them a try. While Suzie and Dr. Linda Harmon-Dodge were in the barn, I had them take a look at Hasan. Dr. Linda adjusted Hasan and recommended photon treatment on his stifle.
Suzie treated him with the photon laser and he really seemed to enjoy the treatment. Those endorphins must have really be flowing, because his lower lip drooped almost to the ground and his eyes glazed over. (Needless to say, he is very glad to see Suzie whenever she shows up). I got him out the next day, and to my amazement, he traveled very well, showing a great improvement in motion. Suzie has treated him several times and he is back to the performance of a much younger horse.
Hasan has been competing in obstacle carriage driving, along with his under saddle work, and is back to his winning ways. At a recent show, he won 2 obstacle classes, beating his closest rival by a full 9 seconds; his pattern class; his halter class; and was named reserve champion arabian horse. The lowest he placed was 3rd in an open driving class – he got too full of himself and acted like a 2 year old. Not too bad for a 25 year old horse. He is now able to get underneath himself for his collected gaits in show hack classes. He even wants to play tag again – something he hasn’t been inclined to do for a few years.
Suzie and Linda have since treated several horses at our farm, another driving mare, a show gelding with TMJ, and even a pony with pedalosteitis. All have shown great improvement and all but the pony have gone back into the show ring and performed better.
Thank you, Indian Creek Equine, for keeping my best friend and favorite ride young and healthy. Please see the attached for proof. You’ve made a believer out of me.
P.S. The halter mare, Khemo Mari, has also shown great improvement. During the 2002 show season, she has won all but 2 halter classes, and has been champion mare several times.
Lotty - Severe Hock Injury Lotty, a five-year-old Quarterhorse National Reserve Halter Champion sustained a severe hock injury during gelding, struggling against restraining ropes as he was awakening from general anesthesia. A day or two later marked swelling of the joint was evident. Radio-graphs were taken and the joint was drained and injected. No definitive diagnosis was reached. The hock remained very swollen and a mild lameness was noted. After three or four months of rest and cold-hosing the hock was unimproved.
Lotty's owners then took him to Newbolten Center in New York to see Dr. Dean Richardson, a renowned equine orthopedic specialist. Dr. Richardson offered the opinion that surgery would not be of much value because he did not believe that debriment of the joint would significantly improve this condition. He ordered a topical sweat and recommended continued restricted exercise and a lot more time. He did not think a miraculous improvement could occur, but that the most important thing was for the horse to have plenty of time in a small turn-out. Dr. Richardson suspected Lotty's injury was a consequence of a very severe sprain of the joint capsule. The inflammation associated with the sprain may have caused persistent synovitis or inflammation of the lining of the joint. There was a great deal of fibrotic material and scar tissue in the joint. He told Lotty's owners that these kinds of injuries take a very long time to resolve and he did not believe that additional injections would be of any benefit. Dr. Richardson was quite concerned with the chronic nature of Lotty's injury.
The following week, five months after the initial injury, Lotty's owners searched the internet to locate alternative therapies. After consulting with Suzan Franz at Indian Creek Equine Rehabilitation Center they asked for Dr. Richardson's opinion of the chances that therapeutic ultra-sound might help Lotty's condition. Dr. Richardson was supportive. He felt that ultra-sound was the single modality that might lead to decreased swelling and scar tissue, but he cautioned them to make sure the work was done by a professional with the proper skills. He encouraged them to send Lotty to Indian Creek.
Lotty was hauled from New Foundland, Pennsylvania to Southern Illinois, a distance of some eight-hundred miles. After five weeks of therapy that included ultra-sound and homeopathics, Lotty's hock returned to normal, visually and functionally. Look carefully at the rear right hock. The before and after pictures tell the whole story.
Forever Grateful, Pete & Bobbi Cook
Mark - Barrel Racer Goes Lame Mark was a six-year-old quarter horse with a promising career as a barrel racer. He had been in training with a top trainer and in competition on the PBHA circuit for about a year when he began to have problems. His problems started with difficulty making the tight turns to the right and as time went on he got sloppier. His owner, Beth, concerned with his decline in competitive ability and speed, took Mark back to her trainer for a 'tune-up'. After thirty days in training Mark regained about 80 percent of his former ability.
In the second month, the trainer was able to replicate Mark's tight turns, but Beth was unable to get Mark back in the groove herself. Beth felt Mark had something going on that might be more than a simple training issue. She had had similar problems with Mark earlier in the year which she thought were dental and called on Greg McGee, equine dentist, to do a professional float. She was puzzled. Trouble with the tight turns did not clear up after the dentistry and now only the trainer could get Mark through the barrel patterns.
Beth took Mark to Equine Medical in Columbia, Missouri where he was X-rayed, nerve-blocked and diagnosed with navicular in the right front foot. Beth had a hard time convincing herself that a six-year-old horse in a single year of competition could really come up with navicular in just one foot. Mark had a great attitude and Beth was in love with him.
At Indian Creek Equine we had recently done some rehabilitation on another of Beth's horses. She contacted us again regarding Mark. When Mark arrived at Indian Creek, Dr. Linda Harmon-Dodge did a clinical evaluation. This included a musculo-skeletal examination, palpating for muscle soreness, checking for spinal misalignment and also a movement analysis looking for abnormal gait patterns, muscle tension, limited motion, hoof imbalance and obvious shoeing problems. In a physical exam she checked his digital pulses, searched for any swelling (edema) or heat and tapped his hoofs with a small hammer and squeezed his foot with a hoof-tester to locate any navicular pain. Mark's response to the navicular pain test was negative. She did find, however, pain and severe muscle tension on the right side of Mark's neck, tenderness in the right shoulder and limited range of motion and extension in the right front leg. His pelvic spine was rotated and he was hyper-developed in the underside of his neck. This hyper-development was evidence of over-bracing during competition due to previous dental pain and led to an upside down curve in Mark's neck. All four feet were trimmed and shod at different angles. He had not been re-shod, however, with eggbars, wedges or rolled-toes to help him with any potential navicular problems. We began a regimen of photon laser therapy, ultra-sound therapy and herbal supplements.
Mark is a big sixteen-hand horse. When he came to Indian Creek, he could not stretch his right leg in a canter and his stride was short and tight. In less than two weeks, Mark was running with free range of motion and bending his head from side to side. The large bulging muscles under his neck were diminishing and his neck became more balanced. He was stretching out and striding at the canter in a fluid unhindered manner. Jeff Young of Young's Horse Shoeing will be returning to do a consultation and re-shoeing, correcting Mark's hoof angles on all four feet. We expect Mark to make a full recovery and re-enter into competition without pain.
Missy - End of the Year Award at MOHJO Dear Indian Creek Equine, I wanted to thank you for all your help in maintaining my best pal Missy (a.k.a. Top Hat) this past show season. It was amazing! She stayed quiet and happy over fences with no soreness or attitude issues! It was SO great that Missy and I won an End of the Year award In the Missouri Hunter / Jumper Organization – MOHJO! We won 3rd place in the Limit Adult Division! For all these reasons I greatly appreciate your approach to monthly treatments for prevention and maintenance. The photon laser therapy combined with therapeutic ultrasound were the keys to maintaining her physically as well as mentally. I am forever grateful to you and your staff for keeping my pal pain free for many years and show seasons to come!
Sincerely, Mary Price & Missy Liberty Prairie Farm Genesis Orthopedic Saddlery
Maxine - Turns on a Dime Daniel ‘Dani’ Muffick and her father John from Taylorville, Illinois have owned their little Quarter Horse mare ‘Maxine’ since she was a yearling. Dani is sixteen now and Max is seven and they are an awesome speed team! This year they were both injured while competing at one of the qualifying High School Rodeo Pole and Barrel Racing events for the region.
At the competition they won their first event, which was poles, but as they began the Barrel run, they hit some bad footing and took a hard fall. Dani injured her Achilles tendon and Maxine tore the muscles in her right forearm. Dani went to the hospital for treatment, and a few days later she and her father took Max to see Dr. Linda Harmon-Dodge for an evaluation. She recommended they send her to Indian Creek for treatment with Suzie Franz, Equine Physiotherapist. Dr. Linda informed them that the injury to the muscles in Maxine’s forearm was severe, and that she would most likely need 10 to 12 weeks of rest to recover. Their dream of competing at the High School Rodeo national level looked like it would never become a reality.
John and Dani wanted to give Maxine the best chance at a full recovery, regardless of their rodeo competitions, so they decided to send her for therapy. She arrived at Indian Creek one week after the accident. During her three-week stay, Max received therapeutic photon and ultrasound, homeopathics, and ice massage. Dr. Linda had to drain the wound several times, and Max’s only exercise was hand walking. Exactly four weeks from the day they were hurt, John and Dani took Maxine home and Dani began light walking with Maxine under saddle. She gradually advanced her to more challenging exercise throughout the week, per Suzie’s recommendation. They knew that even a hint of strain to that muscle would mean they’d have to stop Max received an ultrasound treatment during that week, and her leg continued to look really good even though they were increasing the work outs.
The next weekend, exactly five weeks from the day that they were injured, Danny and Maxine went to the High School Rodeo Regionals, coming away with a winning time and qualifying for the Nationals in New Mexico. This picture was taken a few weeks later at the National High School Finals Rodeo and printed on the cover of the Four Corners Daily Times Rodeo Review last August. The caption beneath their photo read “Turns on a dime”!
If they only know what this tough little horse and rider team from Illinois had been through!
Phenomenal Photon Rose "Any sufficiently developed technology is indistinguishable from magic" Arthur C. Clarke
"I wouldn't give you a quarter for that horse!" "Put her down....she'll never be useful....you're wasting your time and money!" I heard statements like these repeatedly while trying to save my horse.
Five years ago I purchased Rose, an 8 year old AQHA mare, that was seriously injured while being trailered to my home. After 1 1/2 years she healed only to develop acute LAMINITIS........which led to chronic laminitis.
Seeking help from my Vet and farrier, as well as experienced and not so experienced horse people, I tried just about everything they suggested. She didn't respond. She was going downhill as my own health took a nosedive. A wonderful friend took her to her farm. There her attitude improved. Rose's feet were sore, legs and neck stiff from the way she had to carry herself to get around. She spent a lot of time laying down....but she never gave up. Most people didn't understand she wasn't ready to give in and as long as she had any "fight" left, "putting her down" was NOT and option. I knew she'd let me know, by the look in her eye, if and when it was time.....it never was.
August '03, Rose was moved to "The Healing Barn" at McAdam's Stable....Dr. Linda Harmon-Dodge and Suzi Franz were contacted. In September '03, Dr. Linda saw her for the first time but wasn't able to do any procedures/manipulations that would help initially and had a guarded opinion of Rose's chance for recovery . Working with Dr. Linda, Suzi initiated a regimen of ultrasound, herb and PHOTON light therapy that turned her around.
In December I received a call telling me, "your horse is running and bucking in the pasture!" WOW!!!!
Dr. Linda treated her in Jan '04 and was amazed at the progress the horse had made following Suzi's course of treatment.
Rose will soon be 14. With Suzi's help we're now able to do work in the round pen, do some ground driving and "light" riding" is in the near future. Through a class at the stable I made a connection with Rose that is nothing short of phenomenal. This, from a horse that "should be destroyed."
Suzi.....Thanks for giving me that chance with Rose and relieving her pain. Mere words cannot express what I feel!
Sincerely, Marylen Connor (a believer in the "magic" of Photon Therapy)
"You don't throw a whole life away just 'cause it's banged up a little" Chris Cooper as "Tom Smith", Seabiscuit's trainer in "SEABISCUIT" the movie 2003
Skeeter - Itching to Ride In March of 2001 my ten-year-old Appaloosa mare, Skeeter, foundered for no obvious reason. Fortunately, we caught it early and there was no rotation of the coffin bone. After two months of stall confinement and lunging in increasing amounts and gaits, I was able to start riding again in mid-May. She started out feeling great, but it wasn't long before her gaits got rougher and more uncomfortable to ride. Since she had been a wining Western Pleasure horse, smoothness had been her trademark. In the meantime she was plagued by intense itching all over her body and began chewing her chest and rubbing all the hair from her tail. I tried everything. Riding more, riding less. Using a snaffle, a hackamore, a curb. More leg, less leg. Skeeter continued to get worse. She was becoming very sloppy in her canter departures, so rough I could barely stay on her! Other people who saw her thought that she looked fine, but she was just not the horse I had been riding for the past five years.
I didn't really know what to do when a friend in New York City of all places found the Indian Creek Equine web site and forwarded the URL to me. I e-mailed Suzie Franz, then talked with her on the phone. After conferring with Dr. Dawn Myrad, DVM of Mid-Rivers Equine Hospital, we set up a time to meet at the barn.
Suzie was confident Skeeter's problems were correctable because we had caught them in their early stages. She administered a laser treatment on her spine, neck, back and pelvis that day and by the following day I could already feel an improvement in Skeeter's motion under saddle. That weekend Skeeter went off for a seven-day visit to Indian Creek Equine Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Linda Harmon-Dodge from Arthur Veterinary Clinic performed a chiropractic evaluation and adjustment.
A week later, Skeeter returned home. Her itching had diminished by at least ninety percent and she was no longer chewing her chest raw. Her tail rubbing had stopped. I threw a saddle on her, anxious to see how she rode. The little stinker humped up her back and took off like a bat out of hell, quite different from her usual laid-back behavior! It was clear she finally felt good again.
Over the next two weeks, Skeeter continued to improve with each ride. Her walk became long-strided and swinging. She's now doing a western pleasure trot and also extends the trot when asked. Her canter is regaining its former smoothness. It's unbelievable that a horse who had essentially become unrideable is now again a pleasure to ride! No amount of regular vet work could ever have done this --- it took the efforts of Suzie and Dr. Linda to correct the problems and get Skeeter and me on the right track to recovery!
I can't say enough good things about Indian Creek and the excellent care they provide!
Stormy - The Wonder Pony Stormy is an older 13.3 hand leopard appaloosa pony. I have had her for four years now. Stormy has always been a sweet pony, but as we competed more, she was refusing to jump and sometimes would run away with me. Then, our lives changed when my mom met Suzan Franz at a Pony Club clinic two years ago. Dr. Linda Harmon-Dodge did an evaluation of Stormy and found that she had some back trouble. She explained to us that her back was hurting when she was jumping, and recommended several things we needed to do IF we really wanted to have a happy and willing pony. Well, we did for sure because Stormy is my best friend.
Dr. Linda Harmon-Dodge gave Stormy chiropractic adjustments. Stormy was so out of alignment, she had muscle spasms in her croup! Then Suzie did ultrasound on her muscles to allow them to relax and heal quickly. Suzie also did laser therapy and ultrasound on her spine where she had arthritis to remove the calcium build-up. We just had a couple of adjustments and a couple of treatments, found a saddle that fit her properly and then we had a NEW PONY! That's all there was to it. It didn't cost that much but it made a huge difference in Stormy's attitude and ability and in her value as a H/J pony. There is no stopping us now. I can feel such a difference in her when I ride her, and I don't have to fight her or convince her to jump anymore. I wish we had known Suzie sooner. Stormy now jumps 3'9 with ease, we exhibited gymkhana at Equitana last year, and we play gymkhana fast and furious and travel all over the country doing so, as well as compete Novice level in Eventing. Stormy won Pony Jumper Grand Champion in January at the St. Louis MASCUP and she will be exhibiting gymkhana at Horse-capades at the Illinois Horse Fair Saturday evening.
If you are serious about your horse or serious about your competitions, there's nothing better you can want than to have a happy, healthy, sound horse. Drugs and surgery are not the answer to a better horse and should be the last resort. Are you like us? We did not have a clue there was anything wrong with Stormy. We thought her bracing and run-outs were a behavior problem. Well, they were because she was not feeling her best, and misbehavior under saddle we now know is a very good sign that a horse has something wrong and hurts. Minor problems can become major problems, so if you think there's a minor problem, get it checked out now before your horse suffers anymore and before it costs you major bucks to fix it later. You will be glad you did, and then you will have a horse story like mine to tell.
Beth and Bryttany Buenger, C-2 Sangamon Valley Pony Club Dorsey, Illinois USCTA, AHSA, USEGA, USPC member/competitor