One More Step!

The last time I sat on Freddie was the 4th April, when I had to ride him for the 8 vets at Leahurst in the hope he’d show his symptoms. He didn’t, typically contrary, and stayed in for a bone scan. We weren’t 100% what would show up – if anything – but the questions being asked by our home vet in the first place were leaning towards kissing spine. That being said we thought he couldn’t have it, as he didn’t have any symptoms aside from trying to canter in the corners.

To cut a long story (that I’ve already covered) short, he did have kissing spine, as well as PSD and arthritis. All this being found was honestly shocking, especially when the talks of surgery to rectify it came about, otherwise he’d never really be right again. He had two surgeries, on both hind legs and his back. We didn’t know if he’d ever come sound, though they went well and the prognosis was very good for his recovery. He was the perfect patient. He went from the little horse that went stir crazy with half a day of no turnout due to the weather, to a saint on box rest for over 6 weeks.

He went back out onto turnout and is back in the field with the others now, putting on a good show on his first day out. Seeing him move so freely filled me with so much pride, it’s been so long since he moved without stiffness. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t perfect but we’re getting there, especially after yesterdays physio visit. Our physio said he’s looking and feeling very good, moving really well and his posture is loads better. For the first time ever since seeing him, she also said his hamstrings are finally better (not perfect, but better) AND his reflexes are a million % better. If you’ve never done it, stand behind (if it’s safe!) your horse and run your fingers from the top of their rump downwards, their back should lift quickly, almost like their body is hunching up. This is a reflex action and the first time our physio saw Freddie, she tried the reflex and couldn’t get a reaction. In the end, using keys and really pressing, he twitched a bit. Yesterday, barely touching him with fingertips he lifted straight up.
All this hasn’t come overnight with no work involved! He’s been building up on the long reins for a few weeks, we’ve got some stretches in hand to get everything nice and mobile and he’s also fed completely off the floor and now he’s allowed back out, gets as much turnout as possible.

So, drumroll please.

Yesterday I got the go-ahead that he can again be ridden! Trying him again on the long reins and making sure everything is still okay, but over the next few months he can be brought slowly back into ridden work. To start with, it will literally be just sitting on him, then a walk about the arena getting him to stretch for 5 minutes, building up to 15 and then beginning hacking out, while continuing the work on the long reins to build him up. He can’t trot on the roads or anything, but by October should be hacking for up to an hour and cantering in straight lines. A couple of months ago I thought he might have to be retired to the field, at just 9 years old. To say I’m over the moon is an understatement, but we’re taking it slowly, it’ll be a long process but we’re off to a good start.

Let’s see what happens!

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