I didn't know for sure where to put this. Beauty severed the tendons in her leg back in August and we did surgury on her which gave her a 70% chance. In December we did her final check up which had her "mechanically lame" that means she had a noticeable stiffness at the walk and a limp at the trot from loss of mobility - not due to pain. We got the OK to ride her, before I got a chance to get on her, she came out of the field 3 legged lame and walking barely on her tip-toe. I called the vet out and she apparently, out of pure coincidence, had an abscess in that same foot as her bad leg. After another month or so it heeled but she had severe stiffness. My farrier decided to try something back in February, just cutting the heel down to force her to put weight on the back of her foot, she was so lame after that and then amazingly, a couple weeks later, was more sound then she was back in December. So....
Last night I decided to ride her. I longed her for less then five minutes and then got on her. I only walked her, did figure 8's and small circles. She wasn't witchy or nasty or anything! this morning she wasn't anymore stiff than she would normally be, so tomorrow I'm goign to longe her longer and then ask her to trot. My question is, (I'm not really afraid of doing damage to her because she's heeled. but of course I want to be careful) but it's been since August since I had been riding her regularly so we are coming on a year. How long should I longe, How long should I ride, how many times a week? I don't want to push her... It's amazing that she's rideable!
To be safe, I'd work her up in increments, and give a day or so off in between. Work her up slowly like you would if you were taking up running. Set distance goals and take her a little further each time- for example, if you went 5 times around the arena last time, see how she feels for six or eight.
Also, keep in mind her back is going to be soft since she hasn't had the weight of a rider or saddle for a while. You're also going to have to build up her back slowly. Do gradually more time in the saddle, and check her back before you ride each time to make sure she hasn't become sore from the last time.
The best advice I can give you is to listen to her. She'll tell you when she's tired, or sore.
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