In this edition of Riders & Rein Sensors we’re talking to Bianca Winterswijk and GP rider/instructor Malene Nootenboom. Bianca had a problem with her horse Alex that she could just not solve. She had him examined several times by different veterinarians, but Alex was not lame. They could not find the problem. A session with Rein Sensors gave Bianca and Alex a push in the right direction and after a long period of treatment and revalidation they will be entering the competition ring this spring! In this blog you will read their story. A story of a woman who loves her horse very much, is very determined and keeps on puzzling to get her horse fit, healthy and happy. With result!
Bianca tells: “In August 2014 I noticed a problem in the transition from walk to trot. In every transition Alex threw his head up and made a half canter-jump before he went into trot. In the transition trot-canter he also threw his head up, lifted one of his forelegs up high and made a jump with both of his hind legs at the same time (like a bunny hop). When I lunged him with a light rein, he didn’t do this at all. There was no visible lameness. The problem was only visible while riding under the saddle in the transitions walk-trot and trot-canter.”
The bunny hop
Session with the Rein Sensors
Bianca took part in a training weekend from Paard&Lifestyle. Part of the program of this training weekend was a session with the Rein Sensors, given by Menke Steenbergen. Bianca: “Menke told me to ride circles in every gait while she was measuring the basic pressure. This basic pressure showed there was a peek in the pressure on the right lead when Alex right front leg touched the ground. The basic pressure in the canter was 1 kg with a peek pressure of 7 kg when Alex right front leg touched the ground. Menke explained that Alex pulled my hand in every step at the moment his right front leg touched the ground, which caused a very high peek. Even though there was a big difference between the basic and peek pressure, this was hardly visible with the naked eye.”
I knew and I felt that I had no equal and soft connection on the reins, but in reality the difference between 1 kg and 7 kg did not feel that big. I was shocked and surprised that there was such a big difference in the pressure. Menke suspected a diagonal problem in the back between the left front leg and the right hind leg. Menke gave me the advice to visit a specialist in back problems to have Alex fully examined.”
Looking for a diagnosis
Bianca: “I went to De Raaphorst, a horse clinic specialized in lameness, back problems and tendon injuries. Alex was fully examined and there certainly was a physical problem for his ‘bunny hop’: Alex had arthrosis in his lower neck. To be specific: he had mild arthrosis on the left and medium arthrosis on the right between the C5 and C6. Between the C6 and C7 he had significant arthrosis on both the right and left side and between the C7 and Th1 there was some mild arthrosis. The diagnosis really shocked me! However, I was also relieved that we had found the cause.”
The horse clinic advised Bianca to start a IRAP treatment. With this treatment they abstracted blood from Alex which they processed in a laboratory into a conditioned serum. This serum contains a substantial amount of proteins with an anti-inflammatory activity. Alex was injected in his lower neck with this serum. Two weeks after the injection Alex got a chiropractic treatment. Under the supervision of De Raaphorst we made a revalidation program and Alex’s progress was monitored. For over a year we had some ups and downs, but then we started to make progress! After that, there were no more fallbacks!
Happy with every step of progress
Bianca had a lot of support from the instructor at her club. After the treatment Bianca also took some lessons from GP rider Malene Nootenboom. Malene: “Bianca took some lessons after I helped her at the training weekend. I helped her build up Alex by working from the hind leg, a lot of side-passes and riding transitions. Not only from a forward motion, but also in collected gaits. To make his hind legs strong we used a lot of ‘übertreden’ and going backwards to make him more supple in his whole body.”
“By constantly working from the hind legs Alex had to use his abdominal muscles, make his back round and use his topline properly. As a result Alex carries himself much more now! When Alex now wants to pull Bianca’s hand we make a transition back. When Alex is in the right tempo, Bianca immediately relaxes her hand. Alex now knows he cannot pull on Bianca’s hand anymore. It was not an easy task to train Alex in a way he would use his body correctly. But together we keep on puzzling. We monitor Alex’s reactions to our training constantly and as a result we have made a lot of progress. It’s still not perfect, but we are very happy with every small step of progress.”
Recent video of Alex’s progress; no more bunny hops!
Uploaded by walter van Geel on 2017-03-18.
Finally! Making plans for competitions!
Bianca: “The session with the Rein Sensors and Menke helped me to find the cause of Alex’s problem so I could give him the right treatment. Alex will always be a little bit stiff in the neck, but now that I know the cause I can give him the right training so he will get better and better. The right training in combination with the right treatment made that Alex is physically developing and that he is using his body much better now. We are still not there, but I understand Alex better, so our connection is much stronger now. Currently we are making plans to enter the competition ring this spring!”
Have you ever ridden with Rein Sensors? What insight did they give you? Do you want to share your story with us? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org