Accidentally overworked my horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-12-2012, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Accidentally overworked my horse

Yesterday, we went on a 15 mile ride. This was our 3rd time doing this particular trail, maybe 4th. We've always gone at a pretty steady pace and although he's been sore a day or two after, he does fine. Yesterday, I went with someone that has a horse that is in excellent condition. They do 25 mile endurance rides and are training for a 50 in June. We were at a steady, brisk pace for most of the ride, with some slow downs. We got off and walked for a little while and when the horses cooled down a bit, we continued on.
On the way back, the other horse was galloping over all the hills (pretty steep). Mine was keeping up with him, although he was starting to trip. Up one hill, he fell and I almost came off. He went down hard on one knee and frantically got up. I could tell he hit pretty hard. We took it really slow the final 3 miles or so and he was walking fine.

One of the ranch workers saw that he was lame last night and the ranch owner buted him. I went to see him today and he has difficulty walking. His left knee is swollen and you can tell he hurts. I feel horrible because I didn't realize that we were over doing it that much. My intuition told me that we needed to relax (which I kept trying to get him to do), but he was eager to keep up with the other horse. I just feel so bad that he's hurting like this. The ranch owner says that on a scale of pain 1-10, he's like a 10. :( She's going to continue buting and he'll be put on rest for quite some time. I'll be bringing carrots everyday and providing many grooming sessions. I just feel so darn bad about this.
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-12-2012, 12:44 AM
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We all make mistakes... Just deal with the consequences, learn and move on!
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-12-2012, 12:45 AM
Green Broke
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Well, basically at this point all you can do is look forward, if he's lame beyond norm have him seen by a vet and remember this in the future. Never feel bad about asking someone to gear down rather than gearing your horse up. We also always rub ours down briskly with liniment and walk them cool.
Hope your boy feels better soon.
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-12-2012, 12:51 AM
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Well, not to be mean, but if he was at a 10 on the pain scale, that would mean he was 3-legged lame and a vet should have already been called so my gut is telling be that the ranch owner is being a bit overdramatic.

Don't beat yourself up about it, you pushed a bit too hard because you didn't know. Now, you have learned a valuable lesson for next time. We've all been there at some point and now that it's done, all you can really do is to make sure he gets cared for and remember this learning experience.

If he is avoiding putting any weight on the leg at all, then I would call a vet out ASAP. I don't know if you have him stalled or if he's in a place where he can really move around, but, if he is able to walk, I would want him out where he can walk and stay active. If he's just limping on the leg with some swelling, I would give him 3-4 days with a little bit of bute and a lot of cold-hosing. If he's not showing any improvement by then, I would bring in the vet.

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post #5 of 15 Old 03-12-2012, 01:04 AM
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In addition to what the other posters said (plus my own addition of sympathy, it stinks when that happens! But at least you're aware of it and sympathetic to your horse, unlike some people I know irl), if you're interested in getting your guy up to a 15 mile ride-sorta level of fitness, I really recommend this book:
Reading it opened my eyes SO much to how I'm helping or hindering my horse's fitness. I realized that there are a few things I do "to be nice" that are actually making work harder for Lacey in the long run. It was just crazy helpful.
And, the book comes with each exercise in the book (half the book is made up of illustrated exercises targeted for whatever your goal is, my favorite is that there's an entire group of exercises targeted towards older horses) printed on flash cards that you can pull out and take to the barn with you and stick in your pocket while you ride if you want.
It's also very easy to read and understand with really great illustrations. I definitely recommend it. :)

Good luck with your boy! I hope he feels better super soon.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-12-2012, 01:24 AM
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Wallaby is right, that Equine Fitness book is awesome! I've got it hanging out on my shelf too, and I'm always referencing it.
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post #7 of 15 Old 03-12-2012, 01:37 AM
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Recently I have to have my trainer or someone ride with me when I ride Selena to monitor my time on her back and how hard I work her. Before we would always be finished within the hour or two hours....But since she's started barrel training, I find it so hard to quit her because she's such a blast! I've never lamed her up but I have made her sore a few times (And she's NEVER been sore), so that's why now. And if someone isn't around I set a timer for myself, check when the alarm goes off, and then work on slow stuff to cool her out. lol

Just gotta live and learn...And agreed with smrobs, I doubt he is a 10 on the pain scale.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-12-2012, 01:58 AM
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I don't know that this is an indication that you worked your horse to hard. In fact I'd wonder how sound the horse was to start with if it was sore for a couple days after a long ride. I've rode many horses down and they may not have a lot of umph the next day but they aren't sore. At any rate he's not tired he's lame so I think the problem wasn't how hard he was ridden but possibly the speed over the terrain that caused the horse to fall and injur himself.

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post #9 of 15 Old 03-12-2012, 10:13 AM
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If your horse was sore after other rides? Then something is not right. Either underlying lameness issues, poor saddle fit, or your mechanics as a rider, or your lack of knowledge on when horse has had enough.

Horse should not be sore for a couple of days, and then be expected to perform the same thing over again that got them sore the previous time without serious thought about what you are doing wrong.

Whether it is horses are in poor condition, you are pushing them too hard, including past point horse is essentially give out, or being over confident on what horse can handle is a moot point here. Something is wrong, and needs to be addressed.

I hope your horse doesn't have more problems after this last escapade, but damage to the knee can be serious, and long lasting.

If your horse gets sound again, you need to consider the fitness level of your horse, and who you are riding with in terms of what you push your horse to do. And work to get your horse in better shape by sticking to shorter rides and choosing a trail partner that fits the way you ride.
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-12-2012, 11:08 AM
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"If your horse gets sound again, you need to consider the fitness level of your horse, and who you are riding with in terms of what you push your horse to do. And work to get your horse in better shape by sticking to shorter rides and choosing a trail partner that fits the way you ride."

Read more: Accidentally overworked my horse

Please read this part more than once. This is key. You need to be riding with someone with whom you cooperate for the good of all involved. If you need to key down for a bit, they should help you by doing that, and vise versa.

Most likely bruised from the fall-agree with the others. Turn out, cold hose and watch it.

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