Horse is BORED with rehab...

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Horse is BORED with rehab...

This is a discussion on Horse is BORED with rehab... within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Bringing a horse in to rehab in hand walking
  • Horse balks when being led

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  • 1 Post By Skyseternalangel
  • 1 Post By Rascaholic
  • 1 Post By Rascaholic

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    04-24-2012, 06:26 PM
Horse is BORED with rehab...

My boy has an old suspensory injury from his show-jumping days that started to flare up a bit when we tried bringing him back into work barefoot this spring. We caught the problem super-fast, before it turned into a new injury. He was laid off of riding for 5 days, getting warmed up and lunged instead, and then the vet recommended a controlled incremental exercise program that we've been doing since. Started out with 5 minutes walking, worked up 1 minute at a time until 2 weeks passed and I could start trotting him a bit, etc.

We're up to 25 minutes on the arena sand, walk and trot, but he hasn't been cleared for lateral work, riding on hills/uneven terrain, or cantering yet. He seems sound to me and to the trainer, but I know it's just when everything looks "right" that you can make the catastrophic decision to ramp things up and wind up with a huge setback.

So he's doing well, and I'm sticking to the vet's advice like a tick, but here's the problem: I have to ride him 5x-6x per week. Before I ride, I have to lunge him at w/t for 10 minutes, then hop on and ride for exactly 25 min, again w/t, no lateral, no canter.

I am bored with this, but at least my mind is constantly engaged with keeping track of time, making sure he's getting enough changes in direction, working on my position and seat, checking to see he's moving properly, etc etc etc.

Huey, on the other hand, is REALLY BORED. He's starting to balk at going into the round pen where I lunge him, and when he gets out there on the lunge line, obediently trotting to command, he drags his nose 1 inch from the ground while looking at me out of his inside eye like "Plleeeeaase, can we not do this?" And he balks repeatedly when being led into the ring and up to the block. (Not a pain issue nor a saddle fit issue (both checked) - he's just bored out of his witw. He'd rather be jumping like crazy, but that is WAY off the list, and at least when we were learning dressage, he doesn't like it as much as he likes jumping, but at least it kept his brain engaged.

I know I'm not the first one to have to squire a lively, smart, engaged sporthorse through the mind-numbing tedium of rehab. Any ideas about stuff I can do to keep him interested and engaged (even a little more interested or engaged)? Something that doesn't involve cantering, jumping, hills, or lateral movements? Help...
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    04-24-2012, 06:35 PM
Have you asked your vet about ground poles, circles, etc? You could build a small obstacle course or two, or do a groundwork day with him instead of lunging him before you ride.

Clicker training will help bring his mind back to on mode, versus bored-out-of-my-mind off mode. Which you can do on ground and under saddle.
ThursdayNext likes this.
    04-24-2012, 06:46 PM
Do you have another horse you can use to pony him out on? Even if it is outside the arena. Hand walk him if you have to.
ThursdayNext likes this.
    04-24-2012, 06:57 PM
I'm going to have to look into clicker training - my barn owner mentioned it this morning, too.

There are trails around the barn, and one of the other horses (who has a different problem) has been getting hand-walked on them. I've asked to tag along one one of those so I can scope it out, and then see if I can take Huey out there by hand.

I thought about an obstacle course, but I haven't actually ridden on one before, and I wasn't sure if he'd need to do lateral work there. I suppose if I made the distance between obstacles big enough we could avoid the sideways stuff...

I can trot him in very big circles, and we've been doing serpentines at the walk (but not yet at the trot). The vet comes back in 10 days (time for Lyme and West Nile shots, so kill 2 birds, 1 stone) and I'm hoping that he'll clear us for riding on the flatter trails, and maybe to start cantering.

I think the idea of ponying him along the trail is great, but he's kind of a big bully - he fights constantly with the other geldings if he's turned out with them. :( BO says he could get turned out with a REALLY dominant mare...I would wonder (since I haven't done that before with him either) if he'd need to get ponied by a dominant mare as well.
    04-24-2012, 07:32 PM
Originally Posted by ThursdayNext    
I would wonder (since I haven't done that before with him either) if he'd need to get ponied by a dominant mare as well.
This could be a 2 edged sword. He might respect her body language, or he might get the snot kicked out of him, risking more injury. Is there a placid low pecking order pony around? I'd try that type first. One of those been there done that, phhhhtttt whatever kinda guys.
ThursdayNext likes this.
    04-24-2012, 11:56 PM
Originally Posted by Rascaholic    
This could be a 2 edged sword. He might respect her body language, or he might get the snot kicked out of him, risking more injury. Is there a placid low pecking order pony around? I'd try that type first. One of those been there done that, phhhhtttt whatever kinda guys.
There's a 5 or 6 yo Chincoteague mare he gets along great with. Not exactly been-there done-that, but she is suprisingly mellow for a pony, and she has demonstrated the ability to keep my giant hooligan in line. I'll ask about it at the barn...

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