It’s about time to begin some serious rehabilitation for Big Guy as it has now been approximately 4 months since the initial injury (pelvis fracture). He’s now back to his 24.7 turnout and that seems to be working for him although with a more excitable or younger horse I don’t know that this would be the right thing to do. I’ve requested that he be fed separately from ZZ so he doesn’t have to defend his food.
I did a light grooming. I combed out his tail and banged it; trimmed off the rat tails of his mane (which I’ve let grow long) and combed it out – with both mane and tail I used some detangler as they had gotten a bit dirty and matted from not having a bath all winter long. I hope to get his tail washed tomorrow as it is pretty yellow – a problem with a white tail and a gelding. I have to say it satisfies my feminine soul that he has a huge, thick tail! I love taking care of it!
His hooves are looking a bit crappy; the fronts have too soft a sole, and a bit of thrush. After being stalled as long as he has been I’m not surprised.
Today, I took him over to the arena and I was very pleased at how calm he was about working away from Little Girl. He was in his halter and I snapped the lunge line on the bottom ring – though later changed it the inner side ring so I could get a better bend: on a circle he pushes his nose to the outside which is his way of going crooked. I opted for the halter instead of the bridle (and unfortunately don’t own a cavesson that fits him) as I wanted him to get his own balance and just show me how he was feeling after all this time off for healing.
Molly had loaned me her set of DVD’s about Philippe Karl. Although, I only had time last night to watch the first dvd in the set it was pretty packed with information as well as one damn cute pony (gotta love those ponies! LOL!).
One thing that immediately caught my eye was how he uses the entire arena to lunge the horse. I thought this would be a good approach to rehabbing Big Guy as I did not want him constantly working on a circle. On a circle, the inner hind leg works harder and since the pelvis injury is to the right hindquarters, I would like to work him on straight lines, then large arcs, back to straight lines, then very large circles.
Phillippe Karl’s lunge work also relates more closely to long line work which allows you to lead from behind, and of course, in-hand work (in this instance I mean work done with the handler standing near/at the horses’ shoulder).
During our work today he gave me a nice, strong walk (no sign of lameness) and seemed very comfortable with my parallel position to him. That was good as he has had difficulty with me when I’ve worked him with me closer, such as with in-hand work.
At the short trot phase, it was apparent that going clockwise, a position that makes his inner hind leg the right one (damaged side), was extremely hard. He did his Fight Club Moves and finally settled to a trot. I took that very slow and did short bits.
Although, I’ve seen him choose in the pasture to canter, and he did a bit of canter by his choice on the lunge, I didn’t encourage it. That’s for much later.
After observing today’s work, I plan on walking 15 minutes and trotting 5 minutes for a total of 20 until next Friday. I’ll also be giving him at least two days off through the week so he can get a break.
By the end of the June, I’d like to see him up to 50 minutes, with 30 of that walk and 20 trot. However, it’s really his call in terms of how fast we take this. I’m excited about the idea of us getting back to riding together but I need to really just hold that in check, and wait and see how his strength develops.