Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rehab riding

Two sessions down, another few weeks to go. My BO and vet and everyone else that has seen her in action thus far thinks she's great and that she's gonna be fine far before I think she will be. And this may very well be true! However, I'm cautious. I would hate to do something too fast and then "break" her for life. She's got way too much potential and way too much life ahead for me to risk that. Its killing me (yes, even after two sessions) to not push a little harder. But I'm going to stick with it. The fear of her hurting is enough to keep me on track with my plans.

Saiph sent me a rehab riding plan for weak stifles that I'm following. It consists of 30 minute rides 5-6x/week. Beginning with 4 min. trot/1 min. walk for 6 reps. You slowly increase the trot minutes and decrease the walk minutes as the weeks pass, or stall at one particular set if needed. Saiph suggested flat without cavaletti or ground poles for the first month; add cavaletti and ground poles and slight slopes with trotting and cantering for second month; resume normal activities on third month.

Post-ride; she wasn't even sweaty!
Keeping slopes out of the workout is nigh impossible at home. I live in WV! Smack in the middle of are the Mountain State only the eastern half really has the sizable mountains)! The barnyard is flat. Any other riding from the barn involves hills, though there is only 1 short incline between me and the rail trail which is flat... At any rate, bottom line is that I'll have to trailer away to gain more flat area to work on.
the Appalachians at that (no, the whole state is not within this mountain chain, though we

I will likely move faster through the program than what is described above, but will do so cautiously. We are walking and trotting ground poles currently. I have to hold her back from trying to canter, too. Yes, only after two rides! And only riding in the "boring" barn yard. She just gets a little eager and zoomy on our 1 minute trot sessions right now and will go into her ~10mph trot without any encouragement on my part. As BO has observed, watching Q's behavior while she moves suggests a horse that has no concern about pain at all. Her eyes are bright, her ears are forward and eager, her movement is forward and steady with no noticeable hitches in her stride and movement.

My goal for the rehab riding is to keep it to flats as much as I can these next two months. Barn yard. Rail trail. Flat USFS road in the adjacent county. Trailering to the local arena. Trailering to lessons.

Wait, lessons?! Yes, lessons. There is a centered riding instructor about an hour and a half north of me. I'm looking forward to trailering Q up there some next month and August for a few lessons. The concepts I gain from her coupled with the 101 Dressage Exercises book will be great training for little miss Q. And then, come August, its back to jumping, back to trails, back to "full" training (3 days a week: 1x speed intervals, 1x hills, 1x strength incorporating dressage, jumping, and distance into those categories) with the goal of doing Fort Valley I and II at the very end of October.

The accident has definitely been a blip in our competitive career, but a good thing as far as progressing our teamwork and abilities in other disciplines that will ultimately help our endurance career. I'm looking forward to moving forward with dressage concepts this summer.

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