I need some help bringing my horse back into work and deciding if I could compete on her any more this year. I suppose y'all might need a case history...
My mare bowed her tendon around 4 weeks ago. She was only barely lame, the swelling was moderate in the first hours, and she was given Bute and cold hosed very soon after the injury happened. She was seen by the on-site vet, since we were away from home.
She was kept completely stall bound for three days until she became so stir crazy she had to be turned out in the pasture during the day with her herdmates to avoid hurting herself. The lameness was gone within four days. The vet came out a week later to see about her and started her on DMSO until no heat could be detected and all traces of swelling was gone.
Now she is kept in a stall 12 hours a day and turned out the rest of the time. The tendon is no longer heated or swollen, and doesn't hurt when squeezed. She shows no lameness trotting or cantering (which I wish she wouldn't do...) in the pasture.
The vet said she needed two to four weeks off before I started slow ridden work. I've decided to wait roughly six weeks (July 1st) to get back on her.
Here comes my questions and concerns:
What is "slow ridden work"? I'm sure I should start off just walking, but for how long? When do I start trotting under saddle again? How many times a week? Etc?
I also wonder about competing her. I want to go to a CTR at the end of September. That would be about four months after she was hurt. This CTR is easy terrian (just like what I ride at home), sandy, flat, and would only require a walk and moderate trot. However, it would be 20 miles if I did one day and 40 if I did a two day. Would it be pushing it to bring her to this?
If not, there is another I would like to go to in October (about a month after the one mentioned above). It would be hilly and rocky, however.
Maybe I should just not ride her competitively for the rest of the year? I don't know how fragile this leg will be and what should be expected of a horse like mine.
Now, a broad question: How long until I can ride her like I did before injury? I am currently in a division that offers the lowest speed and distance requirements, but I would like to move up next year into a higher division that requires more trotting and more miles. I'm very afraid that this isn't a realistic goal...