Since I am not supposed to do anything more than walk with Speedy right now, I am embracing the gait and plan to milk it for all that it's worth. For those who are wondering, Speedy came up REALLY lame two months ago, so lame that he didn't even want to walk. After radiographs, nerve blocks, and a thorough lameness exam at one of California's premier equestrian medical centers, it was decided that Speedy either had a deep bone bruise or a collateral ligament injury in the hoof capsule. (I still suspect an abscess.)
Without an MRI to confirm which injury Speedy might have, I decided to follow the most conservative treatment option which was only going to cost us some time. We've finished the 45 days of hand walking and have moved on to 45 days of walking under saddle. In about 6 weeks, we'll be able to add some trotting and then continue from there.
The best news of course is that since the day after we returned from the vet, Speedy has not taken a single ouchy step. This is also frustrating as he is very, very sound. I would love to throw caution to the wind and just get back to full training, but the risk of a repeated injury, whatever it was, is just not worth it. I kind of like this horse and would prefer that he have many years of sound riding in front of him.
So here's my current walking plan:
- Week 1: bareback with just a riding halter. I had the most amazing rides on Saturday and Sunday and actually felt frustrated by the 30 minute time constraint! We did several minutes of just walking on the buckle, but then I asked for a shorter frame and put him to work. We did 10-meter figure eights, leg yields across the diagonal, shoulder fore, walk-halt-walk transitions, and even a fair amount of rein back. He was sensational!
- Week 2: bareback with the bridle, although, given how great he has been over the last day or two, I might wait until week three to start riding with a bit.
- Weeks 3 & 4: ride in the dressage saddle with no stirrups.
- Weeks 5 & 6: dressage saddle with stirrups and bridle
He was very happy to be back to work, and I didn't realize how much I had missed the view from between two white ears!