Ink Rehab Update
Those that have been following along may remember that my heart horse, Ink, has been laid up with a suspensory ligament injury for the last 6 months. My vet was out the other day for a recheck lameness eval and ultrasound. The lameness eval was excellent- she is 100% sound on all surfaces, including a flexion test. However, the ultrasound showed some progress, but certainly not as much healing as we had hoped for. I am so disappointed. Ink was so good and quiet during her 4+ months in a small paddock (except the ONE day she broke the gate latch and had a runabout…), and we were very strict about the daily handwalking protocol. I had really hoped for good results with a promising prognosis. My vet assured me that while this wasn’t the great news we wanted, it doesn’t necessarily mean she won’t return to the endurance trail. Lots of horses have recovered from worse and gone on to very successful athletic careers. Even if Ink doesn’t heal well enough for strenuous endurance riding, she will be sound for trail riding and basic dressage, so I’m trying to keep that in mind… we’re not talking life or death, worst case scenario would just result in a change of careers.
The good news is that the fibers aren’t scarred down yet and we can still influence the healing pattern. The plan now is to begin walking under saddle, starting with 15 minutes every day and increasing by 5 minutes each week. Once we get up to 60 minutes of walking, then we can finally slowly introduce trotting. Good thing I have an indoor arena now – riding at a walk for up to 60 minutes every single day in winter weather sounds like a form of torture!
I am going to use this time of boring endless walking to work on fun things like riding bridleless and really improving her walk for dressage. We can’t do any small circles, lateral work or hills… but I’m sure I can come up with other things to work on. Any ideas?
On the bright side, the vet thought Moxie’s thrombosed jugular had remodeled amazingly well and she is now officially cleared for full work. I have been trail riding her on a loose rein at a walk to start getting some long slow distance base conditioning miles in, but we had skipped most of the proper training steps that involve things like flexing her neck repeatedly or increasing her heart rate, out of fear that it might disturb a clot and restart the whole process again. Now we can return to basics and start dressage work. We will still continue slow trail rides for a couple more months to build a good strong base before increasing endurance conditioning.
It was so nice to finally get to ride all three horses yesterday. Ink is especially happy to be back to work, even if it is just short bareback walks. She had gotten rather irritable and aloof during her time off . Hopefully she will get back to her sweet self now that she has a job again. I love a horse with good work ethic who enjoys their job, but they sure aren’t very good company when they can’t work!