As per my plan, the weekend was all about getting Henry as comfortable as possible, and I am happy to report I have been successful!
I took Friday off work, not for any real reason, just cos and first up I headed over to a neighbours place to check out their paddocks. They no longer have horses but needed to employ some lawn mowers of which I have 2 looking for work! The horses have so far spent 2 days busily eating their way through the lovely grass there and are very happy for it! The plan is for the horses to go there on weekends, which will help everyone!
Friday Henry and I had a good stretch ride, and I got him moving forward in a long and low frame. I spent a long time before our ride massaging him, finding all his sore spots and generally getting a feel for how his body is going. It wasn't too bad but there are definitely some sore spots to be worked on. I stretched him and heat packed him after our ride too.
|We had just come in from the neighbours and they were still starved obviously!|
I rode Coolie in the bush and we had a lovely, energetic ride though he is certainly not as fit as he used to be. He is really enjoying the quieter life though appreciates the attention when we do head out.
Saturday I had the intention of doing another stretchy ride with Henry but incorporating some poles too. I rode in my old jumping saddle and set up a small cross rail with placing poles on either side with the intention of seeing how Henry felt and hopefully regaining his confidence in jumping not hurting.
I massaged him before our ride again and he felt nice and relaxed under saddle. He offered a good stretch and was feeling good over the trot poles. He cantered beautifully over the little cross a couple of times on each rein and I could feel the change in him, he used himself properly and was quiet and calm. I popped two other, bigger fences and I felt him bascule and he was so chill. I was very pleased. I called it quits after about 17 minutes, no point hammering a good thing!
Coolie and I went for another wander before they went to do their lawn mower duties.
Sunday I decided to do more of the same with Henry but I also added in some laterals. I set an oxer to try and gauge how he felt having to stretch over a bit more. His body felt so much better in his pre ride massage and he felt pretty good under saddle. We jumped a course of fences and I am very happy to report he is back to his normal self. I could feel the change in his jump, he basculed nicely. Everything felt really easy which has been missing lately and I think it's because Hen has been hurting, poor fellow.
Saddle fitter came out Tuesday arvo, and the first things she had to say was about how much Henry has bulked up. I always struggle to look at how much my horses change over short periods of time because I look at them every day, and I tend to be overly critical and see the flaws rather than the positive changes. However after the fitter mentioned it I stood back and yep, that horse is getting fit!
The fitter widened the gullet 2 sizes and Henry was a lot happier. I felt an immediate difference on the flat, and he finally felt amazing over jumps. He was still anticipating pain over some fences, but he was jumping so well.
Yesterday the physio came out to visit. Sadly I couldn't be there to meet her, however Andrew was and gave me the full report. She checked him over throughly, spent a lot of time assessing him before doing some massage and dry needling. She wasn't overly concerned about his wither, he wasn't very reactive there. She did dry needle his quarters which is where he is often sore and Andrew said he loved it! Hi lip goes crazy when he gets a massage and he was doing the same with the needling.
The physio also ran through some stretches and exercises to do with him, mainly carrot stretches with him on a hill and raised trot poles, especially before we jump. She also suggested after the raised trot poles I back him about 5 strides to help stretch the backs of his legs before we jump.
|Carrot stretches on a hill|
I prefer to use a qualified physio for my horses, and after my last one started focussing more on humans I have been searching for someone with similar qualifications. The new physio a human physio degree and has also completed an animal physio degree in the UK. I have since found out she works with my vet to rehad horses and like to work with farriers and has heard good things about mine (he is the best!) so I think I am on to a winner!
Hopefully Henry will be feeling much better now, but no one tell him he is getting a bath tonight.
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