Eeyore was given the green light way back on the 8th to start trot sets under saddle...well...a single trot set under saddle for the first week but it still counts. I ended up not riding that entire week as that was the time I was the most ill with COVID. Last week though I felt better enough, and had plenty of time being off work, to hop on.
|He has new fancy boots to protect that leg from any additional trauma|
I don't think I ever updated on how that vet appointment went - it was fine. He was sound on all surfaces, all the edema was gone, and there was noted scar tissue formation with no visible hole remaining in the annular ligament. About the best we could have hoped for 1 month out.
The rule for week 1 was 30 minutes with a single 2 minute trot set in the middle times 5 rides. Boring stuff, but I was determined not to screw up his rehab so I downloaded an interval timer app, set up my intervals (14 minutes walk, 2 minutes trot, 14 minutes walk) and headed to the arena.
I was a little worried about how Eeyore would behave. He hadn't been under saddle in over 10 weeks, was stalled during the day and out in Fat Camp over night with Gem which is significantly less activity than normal. Would he be a lunatic? Would he fight me to canter the entire time? Would we be safe??
The first ride he complained with a single temper tantrum at the start and another when we did the trot and he wanted to canter, but they were both short lived and he settled quickly. The second ride he muttered under his breath the entire time, but was otherwise foot perfect and by the 4th ride he was over it and became the slowest plod horse ever. I think Wyatt walked faster when he was learning to walk as a one year old.
|HIs mood on ride #3 with no fun jumps or cantering |
I kept at it though and got the rides in. I broke up the ride in thirds. The first third, 14 minutes of walk, I focused on Eeyore getting him in front of my leg and on the bit. I did some work on the 20m circle both directions. By the 3rd ride I set up ground poles randomly around the arena and used them to circle around. I'd pick one and really work on getting him in front of my leg, on the bit and with inside bend, then after we went around that pole, say to the right, I'd keep him collected and move to the next pole and go around it to the left, then the next etc...It broke up the never ending circles and kept it more interesting for both of us than doing endless circles int he same spot.
The middle third was the trot and really 2 minutes isn't long enough for me to do much of anything except go around and change direction. Eeyore takes a bit to get moving nicely in the trot and by the time the bell went off we were just starting to get to a nice spot.
|His idea of rehab rides is to attempt to eat every single green living thing he can possibly reach|
The last third I worked on me pushing the limit in two point to build strength and balance. My MD lessons haven't been forgotten even though they are on hold until I get two negative tests. One of the things I noticed was that I rest my hands on Eeyore's neck in the two point which isn't the end of the world but isn't great either. I've been working really hard at doing it one handed, then the other, then without any hands at all. At first, this was really hard for me. I began by getting into the two point then letting go. Once that was good and I stopped pinching with my knees once I had no hands, I then started working on getting into two point without any hands.
I was whooping with glee today when I was able to get up into a nice, stable and balanced two point without any hands at the walk. Once we can trot for longer periods I plan to continue this work at the trot.
The best part about all of this is that a year ago, heck even 6 months ago, there was no way I would have been able to do this work with Eeyore. He was would been a spaz and I would have fallen off. My biggest issue is that once I am in the two point, he uses that the sputter out and barely move so I am constantly having to use leg to keep him moving. This is even worse when I drop the reins as he likes to not only drag his nose on the ground, but then he wanders in random directions. But you know what? I don't care! The mere fact that I can, after 10 weeks of not riding at all, get on him, tie up my reins and let go???
That is huge folks.