I haven't been on HF for awhile. Actually, since getting my new horse, Nova, back in October last year. 2 wks and 2 days after I got her, she stepped on a nail.
5 weeks and countless remedies, soaking, antibiotics, etc later, euthanasia was recommended. 3 days before Christmas. My heart was broken.
Christmas Morning, she walked across the paddock on the injured foot. It had been 5 wks since she'd put any weight down!
Now, 8 1/2 months later, more soaking and some holistic and homeopathic remedies and a barefoot trimmer later, she is still lame. BUT. She is pasture sound and sometimes barely limps. I don't think she will ever be fully recuperated.
But then, I wondered, if it were possible to still ride her - lightly. Before anyone jumps at me, consider the following:
I have a Blue Heeler with a hip injury who runs like the devil. Sometimes she uses all 4 legs and other times, just three, when her hip hurts her too badly. Or she just runs funny.
I have a broken foot. I've had it for over 2 years because I refuse to have surgery on it. I can run but it's not pretty. Sometimes, I walk with a limp. I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis and hate taking medicine. So, often, I walk and move awkwardly from pain. But yet, I still function. I still pick up my 4 yr old daughter. I still ride, altho sometimes it hurts like....
So, is it possible to ride my girl - lightly. On the flat. At a walk (her speed before her injury was just a walk!)
I tested my theory for a few MINUTES the other day. When she got injured, I sold almost all my tack to help pay for her vet bills. I do not have a headstall. So, I put on her halter and used the lead rope to guide her (with my legs). First, I laid across her back (standing on a stump). Then, I laid across her back and let her move with me there. Then, I led her back and gently got on her and just let her walk where she wanted to go and moved her slightly to see how she would react. I had a harder time getting her to respond to the halter than her movement. She didn't hitch, didn't stumble. In fact. I didn't feel any difference in her movement at all - BUT - I wasn't making her move very fast.
I haven't been able to try again because I'm waiting on a "new" headstall to come (ordered one online) and it's been so danged hot. It's supposed to cool off a little next week and I'd like to try it again. I just wanted other people's opinions of riding a lame horse - how much/how often, etc.
PS: I'm 185#, 5-5. I ride bareback. So, there isn't any extra saddle weight. I am the same size I was when I got her - maybe 5-10 lbs heavier. She is 15h, 1200#+ Stocky Appy.