The Journey out of Rehab

I’m breaking my radio silence today with another update on the Golden boy’s progress.

We completed all 3 IRAP injections with only one hiccup (that being he got turned out in a 5 acre field with other horses right after an injection, instead of the rehab paddock he was meant to go in- cue inner hysteria on my part). But all seemed to check out fine, and we were approved for tack walking last week.

The goal was to start at 20 minutes, and progress to 35 minutes over the next two weeks. Right now we’re right around the 27 minute mark, and I hope to be at 35 minutes this Thursday. Then we get to add in short bursts of trot, for about 15 seconds to start and building up to 2 minutes over another 2 weeks.

It’s hard to make almost half an hour of walk work interesting, but I’ve been doing my best. I found that despite only walking, homeboy still needs his inhaler before riding, and the super sticky hot weather probably isn’t helping a certain large creature get back into shape.

Then 30 minutes later, I hop on and ask him to walk forward and stretch some. It takes him about 10 minutes to really start rolling, and I try to keep up the pace as much as possible, which actually takes a lot of work at the moment. At the end of our ride though, he’s got a real tempo built, his back is swinging, and he is definitely getting a workout.

Boy you better hustle

In the last couple rides I’ve started including some slow leg yields, working on asking him to take wide sideways steps to get those hammys stretched, and introducing some lateral work to help him get straight. The vet also advised that I start to introduce some collected walk into our routine, putting him on his hind end in short bursts before going back to a stretchy walk. Which is great- because even though it’s definitely work, 35 min of just stretchy walk sounds fairly awful.

I also hope to start doing some cavaletti for the same reason- to start strengthening his hind end and get some engagement there that way. It’s walk boot camp for another couple weeks, for sure!

I can’t wait to start trotting and build up that cardio fitness. But we’re back on the right path, which is feeling great! You really don’t appreciate how nice it is to have your own horse until you’ve gone without for a couple months!