Before we started this whole process and the rehabilitation, I thought we would go through with the procedure and just return to our original schedule without much change.
Very, very naive.
I don’t think I fully realized how much time and effort it would take to get Grumpy back to full health. Rehabilitating a horse isn’t done in a second and it’s not for lazy people. I quickly understood that you can’t keep doing what you’ve done, cause then you’ll always get what you’ve got and for Grumpy that is not going to work anymore.
We now work with a much more adapted schedule. We are up to 3/4 days of riding, 2 days of lunging and one day of groundwork/fun times.
Grumpy is a very emotional horse and feeds off people’s energy. I and my boyfriend always used to have this joke about Grumpy being extra grumpy on Mondays. While the truth was that I was grumpy and tired on Mondays and this would feed on to him. Therefore we now spend this day doing something we both enjoy, groundwork.
To others, we might look really silly as we run around in the arena with carrots, but when I see him run around with his ears forward it makes it all worth it. We are slowly developing all the tricks at the same time as making his back stronger, but I’m going to check if I can find a trainer for the groundwork as I really want to learn more about it. I’ve been seeing a lot of movies lately with people being able to do everything with their horses with a clicker which I find super impressive.
If you know a good groundwork trainer in the Netherlands, please let me know. In the meanwhile, we will spend our Mondays running around haha.
Time for an update again.
Grumpy is doing well! This week we have spent making him more relaxed in whatever he does. Instead of rushing trough, we are now trying to build his muscles with moving more in balance.
When I am lunging I am trying to get to a point where he is moving around freely and low with his head without the use of lungeaids. Slowly, but surely we are getting there. I am noticing that if I use lungeaids he has a tendency to completely block his back, which is of course not the meaning.
When it comes to riding I am more or less starting from scratch again. The focus is on that I need to sit in a way that doesn’t restrict Grumpy and learning to keep my legs where they should be. I have a tendency to keep my feet to far forward, which means that my aids don’t come trough correctly and there is to much tension between me and Grumpy’a back. Gotta love trying to remove something so embedded in your mind.
I am still only allowed to ride only 10 minutes a time which is really hard to keep within when Grumpy is moving as well as today. Luckily I have a great trainer who is keeping me grounded and reminds me to stick to the plan. On Wednesday the vet is visiting us again to see the progress. Hopefully he is seeing good developments as well!
Grumpy is not as happy as me about training again. Haha
Have a good Sunday eve!
Today I got out of bed with a nervous, but excited feeling. I had been holding off riding all week, because I didn’t want to know the answer if Grumpy hadn’t responded to all the treatments for the last two months.
The first sign I was looking for was if he walked strange after saddling up. He would have a tendency before to walk very stiff for ten meters after saddling up and then be fine. Today he was a bit slow, but not stiff.
Gosh, I need to start using the new halter.
Then when I started longing I was worried he would be slow because of the saddle on his back, but he went on like he would have without it. Which was one of the sign that the vet said was good. I made sure he worked well through his whole body before I decided to get on.
There isn’t too much you can do in 10 minutes, but we focused on Grumpy walking well trough his whole body and not blocking his back and for me to sit correctly in order for him to move properly. As we only focused on walking today, I can’t say how he will be in trot or walk, but so far so good. He is a lot less tense and stiff then prior to the treatment.
So happy Maria today!
Finally we are about to switch out the lunge party for some actual riding.
The vet has given me a pretty extensive training schedule, so for the next 6 weeks it will look like this:
Week 1 and 2
Lunge before riding for 10 minutes twice a week.
Week 3 and 4
Lunge before riding 10 minutes three times a week
Week 5 and 6
Lunge before riding 10 minutes four times a week
He is only allowed to move onto an extra day if he does well for those 10 minutes. After we have gotten to four days a week and he does that well we can start building down the lunging and ride more. My vet seem to be quite careful with his build up compared to other schedules I’ve read, but I want to do it well now in the beginning instead of doing everything to fast and we’ll end up on square one again. I can’t wait to do something else then lunging!
At this moment I’m in Venlo with my boyfriend. He needs to DJ here tonight before we go to Germany tomorrow to a horse conference. Not that I need any more horse stuff….
Have a good Saturday night!
Time for another update round. I realised I had talked a lot about rugs in the last posts, so I figured I would provide an update on where Grumpy is in his progress right now and how everything is going.
To be honest, early last week we had a bit of a dumper. I found him stiff and unmotivated. Though looking back, it was probably a bit because of a virus he got a couple of weeks ago. For the last few days he’s been doing really good and is happy and awake.
As he is now building more muscles with lunging I am able to give him harder work-out’s compared to the beginning. In the beginning if I used lunge aids he would struggle with moving well or even forward. This issue is now gone with the right amount of build-up, which I’m really happy to see.
I have also changed his feed a little bit. I was feeding him quite heavy sport muesli, but have now changed it to a lighter form, which seems to lift his spirits a bit as well. Yesterday he was piaffing beside me as he came out of the paddock, something I’ve not seen in months.
In two weeks I’m allowed to ride again for the first time. So hoping the arrow is now shooting upwards and everything from here on out will be a breeze.
Yesterday we finally had the first vet check and physio since Grumpy got injected.
Overall the vet was happy with Grumpy’s progress, but he still needs to gain some muscles before we can start riding again. I’m lucky enough that my vet is a certified physio as well, so he made sure to loosen up and release all stuck muscles and bones.
The schedule now is to lunge for another 3 weeks. Then I get to ride twice a week for 10 min after lunging and build up slowly from there. It’s going to be a long process, but if I see how much Grumpy has improved till now I really thing we are going in the right direction. Can’t wait to see how far we are in a months time!
Finally it’s almost time for check up number two. The vet is coming on Friday to see how Grumpy has developed since we started our lunge marathon a couple of weeks ago.
Besides that he is stretching a lot easier he has also started to move with a lot more elasticity. Some moments I can see glimpses of how he probably was moving before he got his back issues. Such a different horse!
Body wise he has started to build more muscles again and his back is a lot more straight then swayed as before the shots. When you lunge on the left side everything is really good, but when moving to the right side you notice he has issues moving his right back legs in the beginning. After some rounds on that side this is gone again tough. They do say it takes some time for the infuse to work, so maybe it will get better over time and with some training.
I wonder what the answer will be on Friday. On one side I really want to ride again, but on the other I want to wait till I know he can handle it. Till then we will keep marathoning.
“Giiive me more apples, it’s so good!”
Today was the first day of road to recovery and our lovely lunging marathon as I like to call it. I’ve decided that Grumpy is going to be rewarded with a forrest ride if we get so far that we can ride again. Cause seeing that lunging arena from the inside 10 days long is definitely not something I’m looking forward to.
But nonetheless it has to be done and today was day 1. I was wondering if I would see any difference right away, but didn’t really know what to expect.
The first thing I noticed was that he stretched his neck more or less from the beginning. Something he normally doesn’t do. After becoming warmed up he moved with more swung then normal as well. As I want to see the difference from day 1 till day 10 I took some photos. Looking forward to see if there will be any!
If there is one thing that I really and by really I mean really don’t like. Then it’s needles.
I thought that after watching countless of hours of Botched I would be able to handle the needles going into Grumpy today, but man. Those things are not normal.
The first sedation went positively Ok, he didn’t lift me up as much as he normally does. But let’s just say the rest wasn’t that much of a walk in the park. At a certain point I had to get out for some fresh air as my face was turning all kind of colors. Doesn’t help that I’ve got the worst flue ever. But hey, baby comes first.
Today Grumpy got 4 injections in his back with infection stopper. Then he got an infuse with a liquid that stops the bones from dissolving. For the next week I need to lunge 5 days without specific training tools and then the week after I need to lunge with training tools to make his back stronger. In the meanwhile I need to give him infection stoppers trough his food every day as well.
Luckily I have the sweetest boyfriend who held Grumpy’s head up for half an hour while the infuse was working. And a vet that can laugh of my dramatic ways. Haha
But we survived and that’s the most important.
Now that I finally know what’s wrong with Grumpy I can focus on recovery. Even tough I know I can’t take away the things he has, I want to make the rest of his years as nice as possible for him.
The one thing the vet told me before leaving the clinic was that it’s important that even if I can’t ride at the moment, Grumpy can’t stay to long in his box. The longer he stands still, the stiffer he will become. But how do you do that when you work 40 hours a week?
Luckily we are stabled at a full service stable which puts him in the paddock for a couple of hours every morning. Then around lunch time my boyfriend puts him in the walker and in the paddock for a little. At around 6 I finish work and I either lunge, let him go for another round in the paddock or try to make fun games with him and ending it with a walk.
It’s a bit of a commitment, but I’m already noticing he is becoming less stiff and moves better when lunging. Tomorrow I’m calling the vet for the appointment to set the injections. From there on we can start looking at building his muscles again. I can’t wait to see if it will work or not.
I got this picture from the stable this morning when they put Grumpy outside for his morning chat with his friends. So pretty!