Friday, February 17, 2017

Lucy's Rehab

On Wednesday morning, early, we loaded Lucy into the trailer for her one hour plus ride to the sport horse vet we love in Clements.  We do our routine work, such as vaccinations and teeth floating, locally but for the "big" stuff, we drive to Dr. Linda.

Lucy is 15, which isn't young for a horse.  It isn't old either, but it is old enough to get aches and pains.  I can certainly relate to that.  In particular, Lucy's hocks are arthritic, with the pain and limited range of motion that go with that.  The good news is that she responds very well to joint injections.  For those of you non-horsey types, a horse's hocks are those elbow looking joints on their back legs.  As you can imagine, sticking a needle into that joint is not popular with horses.  And, since vets do not like to be kicked in the face by their patients, the procedure is done with a sedative.  Hock injections are tricky; Linda does them very well.

Lucy typically got joint injections every six months when in she lived in a training barn and worked year round.  At Oak Creek Ranch, she gets the rainy winter off and is comfortable without the injection just hanging out in her pasture.  Last spring, as I was starting to work with her, I made the mistake of asking insisting on canter (which requires lots of push from those hocks) before having her hocks done.  She bucked a bit -- not enough to unload me, but enough to make her point.  And, unfortunately, enough to throw my back completely out of whack.  Before my back was healed, Finessa stepped on my foot.  So, I haven't ridden her since last March.  Last weekend, I was careful to keep the work easy -- lots of walk and a wee bit of trot work.  No canter.  Uh uh.

Linda looked at Lucy's records and frowned.
"Two years since her last injections. (?)"
I explained, "I was injured and haven't ridden her in the past year."
Linda nodded.  In addition to being a vet, she is a competitive eventing rider.  She understands the whole injured rider thing.

After watching Lucy move, she agreed that Lucy was in definite need of injections.  In addition, she needs some rehab -- a year of non-existent work has led to a loss of muscle and tone.

Lucy and I have a very detailed strength building program to follow.  It involves using Pessoa lunging (new to me) to help build strength in her topline and, more importantly, in her hind end.  Once she is strong enough to do lots of canter transitions with the equipment  -- like three steps trot, three steps canter, repeat -- I can ride her in canter.  Until then, we will do her rehab work on the lunge and then I will ride her at walk and trot, riding in a training level frame.

There is another series of three or more storms that we are experiencing now.  Next week we are going to the Alisal for our annual vacation there.  By March, I will have the Pessoa equipment and we will hopefully have more sunny days than rainy ones.  My plan is to start rehab in early March.

(The picture at the top, of me riding, is a few years old.  Obviously.)

11 comments:

  1. Yay for getting started! That's great progress. While waiting for equipment, and when not vacationing, just handwalking over ground poles can help too! Easy way to get stared on just 15 minutes of no impact/low stress work before starting up the real stuff.
    Good luck with all!!

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    1. Thanks for the reminder on ground poles. I have a cavaletti set stored in the corner of the lower arena -- I need to drag out the poles and incorporate them into our work.

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    2. I know (from my own experience haha) that sometime just setting up the darned things is the biggest obstacle. Without making it too overwhelming, sometimes it's really just easiest to lay them out somewhere visible, even outside the arena (which is most likely completely flooded today, ugh!) and then make an effort to always use them as soon as the horse has a halter on.
      That way, I've found each time I'm out there, I'll never go a day without at least walking 3 times across them. (Without setting huge goals I can never accomplish).

      Come out and say hello at Somerset with your girl when you're ready!

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  2. Has Lucy been warned? LOL She might have some opinions....

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    1. I have no doubt that the princess will have opinions...

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  3. So great to have a vet you trust. All the best with your rehab, both of yours. How is the rain up there? It was crazy here yesterday. Now a muddy mess!

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    1. It's a muddy mess here as well. This morning we had a break from the rain but more heavy rain is due tonight.

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  4. Injections with steroids, or HA?

    Is pessoa with surcingle?? New to me as well, obviously. :) All interesting, sounds exactly what we need to do with Ladde. He's lost lots of muscle mass and has no strength of topline. Can't wait to see how everything plays out.

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    1. I'm not sure what is in the injections exactly. The first time I had Lucy's hocks done, I listened carefully to the explanation. This time I said "just do it" -- and I don't remember from a couple years back. Yes Pessoa is with a surcingle. It has a fleecy covered piece that drops behind their butt and encourages them to work underneath, and side reins in the front that encourage a long and low frame.

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  5. Sounds like a plan with Lucy. I'm sure she won't have anything but good opinions during her rehab...ill be interested to watch her progress with the new program and equipment.

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  6. An American in TokyoFebruary 20, 2017 at 9:39 PM

    I like the fuzzy winter look on Princess Lucy! She looks like a young thing in the last picture! Cutie!

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.