Wednesday, April 26, 2017

We Trotted! (2 Whole Laps...)

The original plan was to start Casey on 10-5-10 (10 minutes walking, 5 minutes trotting, 10 minutes walking) on Monday, but her behavior on Friday made that kind of impossible.
Casey modeling her new purple bonnet

Side-story time... Friday I decided to let her hand graze for a bit, but then another horse got let into the outdoor arena to be free-lunged. Casey decided that she should get to do that to too. She was trying to take off as I was holding onto her lead rope. When she hit the end of the rope, she got pissed and so reared and tried to kick out at me. I then I had to try to get her away from the arena by cutting through the barn, which was nearly impossible as she kept trying to take off trotting, and then would try to kick at me when I wouldn't let her. Finally we were able to get to other side of the barn where her idiotic behavior continued as I tried to calm her down. I eventually got so fed up by her behavior that I grabbed her nose, yanked it towards my face so that she was looking me in the eye, and yelled at her, "Knock it off, that's not ok!" That surprisingly enough worked, and so then we practiced walking very nicely around the barn. Once she showed me she could behave, I give her pats and turned her back out in her paddock.
Ava & Casey

The whole situation was not a good one. Firstly, it was the worst behavior I've ever seen in my horse and she was being dangerous towards me. Secondly, she was being dangerous to herself! She has a hind leg injury, so rearing isn't exactly a recommended form of exercise. I understand why she did it. She's super frustrated and has a bunch of pent-up energy that, unfortunately, she has no way to get out. I really feel bad for her, because I know that this situation sucks for her. Even so though, it's never ok for a horse to act that way, because she could have super easily hurt me. Luckily I've been working with horses for long enough that I know how to handle those situations calmly, but that doesn't change the risk factor.
What? Me? Bad? Never!

So going back to my original point, Monday was a no-go for trotting because her Friday behavior had made her injury start hurting again. I'm not sure if it made it "worse," because I don't think she increased the tear in the ligament, but I do think it reaggravated the injury. Trainer said that it's probably similar to when humans sprain our ankles and then after, if you take a weird step, the ankle hurts again, but the pain doesn't last as long as the original injury. I still walked her on Monday and I could definitely feel that she was sore. She wasn't taking her usually super-long walk strides, seemed hesitant to really sink her weight into her back end, and took about ten-ish really gimpy steps (the kind where their back end sinks badly). This was a super bummer, but I don't want to make her injury worse, so after talking to Trainer we agreed to push the trotting back a few days.
So much to see, so little time

Yesterday I hopped on and I could immediately feel an improvement in her compared to Monday. She was back to taking her normal walk strides. She still wasn't as good as she had been pre-rearing-incident, as she took about five gimpy steps, but it was an encouraging sign. I talked to Trainer and she agreed that a little trotting was probably ok and that we could build up to the five minutes, and so Casey and I got to trot two whole laps of the arena! One each way! She didn't feel bad at the trot, but she was super reluctant to collect or bend at all. It was a very stretched out, not controlled trot. I think that part of why she doesn't want to collect is that the leg is still hurting her a bit. Vet did say though that part of the rehab is the tearing and re-healing of the ligament, so I'm not super worried.
We ended the ride on the "trails" (aka, the road)

The plan from here is to keep increasing the trot work (I'll probably add a lap every day to work up to five minutes). As she starts to feel better, we can add back in the collection and bending elements that we had been working on. At a walk those things are so much better than before the injury, so I know that we have that foundation.
Casey being cute post-ride

I'm just so happy to have gotten to trot my horse again! Things are looking up for us :)
Things are finally getting better for us!

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