There are many books and articles about bringing your horse back into work after months off due to illness, injury or a change of circumstances. They talk about building fitness slowly, building muscle and aerobic fitness. But what about a short holiday? How fit is a horse after a week or two off? And how quickly can you return to full work?
I first learnt about about barefoot when my first horse, Harley was diagnosed with multiple issues in his feet (navicular).
Extensive research into his issues had brought up Rockley Farm – a rehabilitation centre that has successfully helped horses with similar issues return to sound, useful lives.
For ages now I’ve been aware that Abbey has tight muscles in her shoulders and neck.
My barefoot trimmer always mentions it, every physio observes and treats it, and I know from how she is about being touched there.
It’s been one of those niggles that has been on the to-do after her ulcers and the tightness in her back and left hamstring.
With those biggies sorted (ulcers with diet and stress management, back with treeless saddle and improved dressage training), it was time to tackle Abbey’s tight shoulders and neck.
I’ve figured that at least part of the problem is the height of the stable door. It’s too tall and Abbey has to lift her head up and over.
Our wonderful yard owner made all the stable doors and has been (very understandably) reluctant to take a saw to one. So I’ve purchased a Shires stall guard.
At first Abbey was suspicious, but after just a few days, I think she rather likes it.
Time will tell whether it helps relieve some her sore muscles.
PS I wouldn’t recommend this for a horse that leans into pressure or enjoys making escapes! Atm I park a wheelbarrow outside Abbey’s stable to dissuade her from trying to get underneath.
Yard owners and managers often come in for some hefty criticism especially on the equestrian forums.
I don’t envy them; from managing the grazing and maintaining the yard, to resolving livery squabbles and caring foe our most precious equines, they have a tough job.
I’m sure that there are bad’uns out there but mine are great. The husband and wife team (and wider family that chip in) do everything they can to ensure the yard is a happy place for their liveries and their horses.
Twice this summer I’ve gone away and both times Abbey has required medical attention. The first time, she was bitten on her girly bits and, just like last time, she was very uncomfortable (who wouldn’t be!)
The YO tended to her bite, working out that aloe vera was more soothing for her than the sudocrem I’d been applying. Applying it couldn’t have been easy with Abbey dancing like she’s on hot coals, with added tail swishes.
I’ve booked a week off work and had a diary packed full of pony-fun – from a biomechanics and showjumping lessons to cross country schooling. And then the Sunday before the fun begins….Abbey comes in with an egg on her face.
The swelling was hard but not particularly warm and while she’s been a little quiet, Abbey’s eating and drinking normally.
I’ve spoken with the vet. After lots of questions about where she’s been and other horses she’s been in contact with, the vets advice was to monitor closely (taking her temp twice a day) and if it’s not gone in 7-10 days (or if I am worried at all) to call her out. She suggested that it might be a bite, hawthorne or swollen glands – all of which can sort themselves out.
It’s now Wednesday and the lump is still there. It’s moved further under her jawline and I think it’s gone down a little. On Monday Abbey seems to be her normal self again and yesterday I took her for a mooch around the fields yesterday (still trying to keep her weight under control).
Fingers crossed it continues to improve and we can get back to having fun very soon.
….because of Abbeys new “hair cut”. I intending on just tidying up and taking off half an inch or so but it all went horribly horribly wrong.
Even considered turning her out in a snuggy hood so that the other horses don’t laugh at her.