Bella update after 3 months


This spring we featured a series of posts about a mare named Bella and her treatment for the condition known as kissing spine. For 60 days during the "Kissing Spine Challenge" Bella was treated daily with the Thera-Tree® and ridden in our saddle with SmartRide Rx technology. No other therapies, drugs, or supplements were given. See the post below for radiographs before and during her treatment.

Here's the latest about Bella from her owner:

"The new normal. This is the phase Bella and I now inhabit. It is mid-August, which puts us exactly three months out from the day she came home to Marshall from Ruckersville. I can tell you of so many wonderful rides and special events that have spooled out around us over this period. This has been the summer of magic and contentment.

There was the day we literally had to ride up and chase a bald eagle off of a wooden hand gate so we could ride through. There was Bella totally unconcerned a few minutes earlier when that same eagle had flown down low and long across her head to land on the gate.

There have been countless long, happy, bold striding rides cross country with just the two of us. There have been hours spent in the ring learning to trot and work together again. There have been deer and butterflies and squirrels and red foxes running away from us. And not a worry or concern on Bella’s part.

There have been so many different times we have gotten into the trailer to go off on one adventure or another to ride in small groups. And there have been so many times when she has self-loaded and learned to travel peaceably when I have been amazed at how that compares to her refusals to load and the episodes of drenching sweat while trailering in the past. My new larger trailer has clearly made this easier for her, but Bella’s attitude adjustment was all her own doing.

We pulled into the farm one day and stopped so I could get the newspaper. When I looked in on her she was calmly eating hay and looked up totally without concern. This was another red letter day. Perhaps a small thing to be eating hay on the way home but hugely significant when compared with the Bella of not very long ago.

Two other examples. Bella used to refuse to walk out of her stall into the aisle. And we used to have to back her into the wash stall. Early on when she first came home I had left her stall door open to gather up tack for a ride. I turned around and saw Bella walk out of her stall and into the aisle and stop exactly where the crossties would be attached. That same week when we returned from riding I had pulled tack off and left her standing without a halter in the aisle. I stood and watched in amazement as she walked herself down and into the wash stall. That has now become one of our party tricks. The other one is sidling up to the box at the front of the farm and waiting while I lean down and put in the gate code. The new normal….Bella with a sense of humor and no worries.

I can tell you that one of the most unexpected delights has been watching Bella’s personality relax and unfold. We all know on some intellectual level that pain changes behavior. What I absolutely had not appreciated was the extent to which the absence of pain can un-change that behavior. Bella has always been a sweet mare and the kind of horse who will persevere no matter what. And that can be deceptive because it masks stress and unhappiness.

Now that the pain and fear are gone, what has been stunning is the outpouring of emotion, particularly when she first came home. I now regularly experience expressions of companionship and affection that were never there before. Think big brown dog wagging its tail. Think barn cat asking to be petted. Think small child wanting one more hug. That’s today’s Bella. The new normal." -Patsy Richards

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