It was another weekend of highs and lows around here, but hey – at least it wasn’t all lows!
My trainer had an unfortunate fall two weeks ago and broke her leg in several places. While she’s been resting and getting the swelling down for surgery this week, I’ve helped step up and teach some lessons at the barn. Our boarding situation is unique (and awesome) in that group lessons are included with the price of board. This usually equates to one group lesson during the week and then the two hour “Saturday Fun Workshop” on the weekends. Since the youth riders aren’t allowed to jump outside of lessons, Kathy wanted to make sure there were still lesson opportunities available so people wouldn’t be tempted to break that rule.
Though I am not a professional, nor do I aspire to be one, I love teaching. My college degree is in Education, I spent about five years as a figure skating coach (that’s a long story) and I taught up down lessons in college. So after my trainer asked me to help out I spent some time watching the George Morris clinic on USEF Network and man a plan for the Thursday night jumping lesson and the Saturday clinic.
On Thursday night we warmed up with a single square oxer and the students cantered up over it, turned to the right for 3-4 strides and then turned to the left for a flying change and a circle back to the oxer. Repeat both directions. This is an exercise I watched George do in the clinic, and it was very successful for this one horse at the barn that has the worst changes. He is a very honest scopey jumper, but will only change the front and will then drag and be very disorganized in the hind. In this exercise, he got 3 clean changes so I was excited about that!
On Saturday the fun workshop is split up over two hours. For warm up on the flat I had the kids (a group of 7 ranging from crossrails to 3’0″) do some double posting and no stirrup work. Then we talked about equitation patterns like you would see at an open show or QH breed shows, and practiced one since it was a good thing to do with a wide range. For jumping we did a simple figure 8 with two low verticals, and then moved up to doing a course with lots of roll backs. Several girls told me it was a good work shop, so that made me feel good.
On the riding front, I haven’t been doing much. I don’t have time to teach and ride on the evenings and I’ve been feeling less and less motivated to ride other horses since I thought it would be sooner rather than later that I’d be back on Simon. Sunday afternoon I rode Gio, a forward jumper type, some but he hasn’t been in a program lately and was super fresh with lots of bucking sprees. I ended up riding very defensively (hence my leaning in the photo above) and decided not to jump.
On the Simon front, not very good news. I took the video I posted of him jogging and showed it to some horse professionals who’s opinion I trust greatly. Also on Sunday I jogged him for one of the trainers at the barn, and she said he was definitely still gimpy. I got really distraught and called my former trainer/friend/awesome veterinarian to ask her opinion on my options. Basically I can either a) get the (in my opinion) better vet out to do a block workup and ultrasound on his leg, b) give him another month or c) continue with rehab plan and see what happens. After talking to her, we decided on B – give him another month. So now instead of doing tack walking on March 1st, I’ll back off on the hand walking and give him all of March for stall rest and then re-evaluate.
I was pretty upset with him not being sound – I always think the worst. Gimpyness after almost two months of no turnout = my horse is broken forever… at least in my worrying mind. My friend recommended to just wait because all an ultrasound will tell me is what he injured and how bad it is. If it’s not something catastrophic, the treatment is just going to be more rest anyway. I’m not prepared to pay the money for stem cell therapy at this point, especially since it’s only been 60 days.
So my plan is this.
- Rest another month, re-evaluate. If he is sound, start tack walking rehab program. If he is lame, bring vet out.
- If ultrasound reveals catastrophic injury, find some field to turn him out for a year in hopes it will recover.
- If ultrasound reveals serious injury that requires stem cell or other therapy besides rest, pay it and hope for the best.
Let’s just cross our fingers that another month does the trick. Since he has improved (he was WAY LAME before), it is a good sign.