The rehab starts....

Mary Poppins

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After 16 very long weeks of box rest, I am thrilled to report that Ben has finally shown some signs of improvement. His right stifle is still slightly swollen and warm which indicates that healing is still going on, but the swelling is much reduced and he has improved from being 4/10th lame to 2/10th lame (with the odd 3/10th step) on this leg. Significantly, his right fore lameness has disappeared completely and his back is nice and loose. He is bright and happy in himself, and the vet and surgeon have agreed that very light and controlled movement can be introduced.

So the plan is as follows. For one week he can walk out in-hand for 10 minutes per day, the next week 20 minutes per day and the following week 30 minutes per day. If that goes well I can RIDE him for 30 minutes per day in walk for 3 weeks. He will then be reassessed.

Still no turnout and it is unlikely that he will be turned out until he is about to walk, trot and canter under saddle. It would only take one mad moment to completely rip the scar tissue that has been formed and after all we have been through I am not willing to take that risk. So fingers crossed that he copes with the exercise and behaves himself! He had a little buck during the trot up and I need to make sure that he keeps nice and calm during his rehab. He is generally very calm anyway but after such a long time stuck in his stable I can't blame him if he finds the outside world a little exciting. I am ultra nervous about riding him, but I will ask a friend to stick me on the lunge line and keep a tight hold - just in case!!
 

Mary Poppins

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That is the best news this year :D more healing vibes coming his way, with a few calming ones thrown in for the both of you :)
Thank you. Vibes are gratefully accepted. I am sure he will be a good boy, he has always looked after me. I just can't believe that in only 3 weeks I may be able to ride him. I was so sure that I would never sit on him again and at best I was hoping he would be field sound. It's a lot to get my head around and I don't want to get too excited just in case something happens and I jinx it.
 
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Mary Poppins

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Happy new year MP. Best most positive gift ever by the sounds of things.
Oh yes, the best gift ever. We still have a long way to go and he may not ever be 100% sound, but the vet is hopeful that he will easily cope with light hacking. I am just hugely relieved that I don't have to make 'that' decision right now. I was so sure I was going to lose him and I feel like we have been given a second chance.
 

Bodshi

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Fab news, I'm keeping absolutely everything crossed that the rehab goes smoothly. It's been a long time coming and you've done so well to get both you and Ben through the seemingly never ending box rest. Light at the end of the tunnel at last :)
 
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Mary Poppins

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Fab news, I'm keeping absolutely everything crossed that the rehab goes smoothly. It's been a long time coming and you've done so well to get both you and Ben through the seemingly never ending box rest. Light at the end of the tunnel at last :)
Oh yes, the light is shining brightly. We are potentially still looking at another 8 to 12 weeks box rest while I get him moving again, but at least we can start building up his muscle tone and he will have some mental stimulation. Hopefully by the time he can go out again spring will have sprung and any sign of frost and frozen ground will be long gone. Realistically I am thinking that it will be Easter time before he can live out again, but that is fine. Just knowing that we are actually working towards that goal is enough for me.
 
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Flipo's Mum

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Thank you. Vibes are gratefully accepted. I am sure he will be a good boy, he has always looked after me. I just can't believe that in only 3 weeks I may be able to ride him. I was so sure that I would never sit on him again and at best I was hoping he would be field sound. It's a lot to get my head around and I don't want to get too excited just in case something happens and I jinx it.

Yep I was much the same with my lad. The number of times I had him dead and buried in my head because I saw things so black and white when truth is that I’ve just had to adjust my expectations of what he can do, which is totally fine as we still have them eh!
Here’s to quiet gentle hacking. There’s a lot you can do with that!
 
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Mary Poppins

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Yep I was much the same with my lad. The number of times I had him dead and buried in my head because I saw things so black and white when truth is that I’ve just had to adjust my expectations of what he can do, which is totally fine as we still have them eh!
Here’s to quiet gentle hacking. There’s a lot you can do with that!
There really is so much that we can still do. I am a nervous hacker and have always wanted to enjoy hacking. I did ride Ben for 8 weeks of walk hacks in the summer when we were monitoring his lameness and doing this everyday improved my confidence no end. The vet said that he doesn't want to see Ben doing any serious schooling in future - nothing smaller than 20m circles and no leg yielding or any dressage movements. He wants him to move in straight lines as much as possible but did say that mini xc jumps (I jump about 50cm!) should be fine as long as they are in straight lines. But if all he can do is walk, then I am happy to just walk.

He doesn't want him 'working from behind' or 'on the bit'. He just wants me to enjoy riding him out and letting him go as he needs to go. Which bizarrely is what I always wanted to do anyway. In hindsight I could see that I got so caught up in the 'correct' way of riding and I thought that having lessons and teaching him to work from behind, move straight etc. was the right thing to do. But I can see now that Ben doesn't need all this and neither do I. He and I just need to get on and enjoy riding at our own pace and in our own way. Oh how I wish I had the confidence in myself to follow my instincts 7 years ago! If I hadn't had these lessons and gone down the dressage route, he wouldn't have become injured in the first place. I'm not beating myself up about it but I have certainly learnt from it.
 

Kite_Rider

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Really pleased that Ben is on the mend, must be a huge relief for you and him. Nothing wrong with walking hacks, that's really all Belle can do now and I honestly don't miss schooling one bit.
 
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Flipo's Mum

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There really is so much that we can still do. I am a nervous hacker and have always wanted to enjoy hacking. I did ride Ben for 8 weeks of walk hacks in the summer when we were monitoring his lameness and doing this everyday improved my confidence no end. The vet said that he doesn't want to see Ben doing any serious schooling in future - nothing smaller than 20m circles and no leg yielding or any dressage movements. He wants him to move in straight lines as much as possible but did say that mini xc jumps (I jump about 50cm!) should be fine as long as they are in straight lines. But if all he can do is walk, then I am happy to just walk.

He doesn't want him 'working from behind' or 'on the bit'. He just wants me to enjoy riding him out and letting him go as he needs to go. Which bizarrely is what I always wanted to do anyway. In hindsight I could see that I got so caught up in the 'correct' way of riding and I thought that having lessons and teaching him to work from behind, move straight etc. was the right thing to do. But I can see now that Ben doesn't need all this and neither do I. He and I just need to get on and enjoy riding at our own pace and in our own way. Oh how I wish I had the confidence in myself to follow my instincts 7 years ago! If I hadn't had these lessons and gone down the dressage route, he wouldn't have become injured in the first place. I'm not beating myself up about it but I have certainly learnt from it.
I’m with you, I went through the same with flipo. I had big ideas of dressage and showing and I just had to dial it down a notch. But I don’t wish for something that I can’t do with him. What I think is lovely is that while a lot of folk would try and pass him on as a companion and find something they can do all those things with, a really committed owner like you and I just adapt to the horse we have.
My next horse will be an eventer (lol, never!) but I am in no hurry to wish away the time I have left with my lad. We should just be glad that the sort of horses we have, are happy to amble about quietly. That is a gift in itself.
 
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chunky monkey

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Great news. My positive vibes must be working for you.
Not wishing to put a dampener on you and question the vet. I might get shot down in flames. But in 3 weeks walking 30 minutes a day. I wonder if this is too soon. Maybe every other day. And in 4 weeks riding 30 mins. When I start riding I would go back to a week of 10 mins, 2nd week 20mins. Then 30 mins. As his back muscle would be weak, plus added body weight for 30 mins. My personal thought is that this might be too much too soon for the legs. Please give it some thought. I'll shut up now on that one.
Looking forward to the the updates. You've worked so hard to get him right. You are going to have a very happy horse. I think we need some new piccies of the lovely Ben too.
 

Ale

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Couldn't be happier to read this!!! Hopefully all goes as planned and you're back on board soon X
 
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Jane&Ziggy

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Oh gosh MP I have to say that I am crying reading this thread. I am so, so happy for you.

Fingers crossed and every available vibe for the rehab, and may you have many many more happy years of pootling on your lovely big boy.
 
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Mary Poppins

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Great news. My positive vibes must be working for you.
Not wishing to put a dampener on you and question the vet. I might get shot down in flames. But in 3 weeks walking 30 minutes a day. I wonder if this is too soon. Maybe every other day. And in 4 weeks riding 30 mins. When I start riding I would go back to a week of 10 mins, 2nd week 20mins. Then 30 mins. As his back muscle would be weak, plus added body weight for 30 mins. My personal thought is that this might be too much too soon for the legs. Please give it some thought. I'll shut up now on that one.
Looking forward to the the updates. You've worked so hard to get him right. You are going to have a very happy horse. I think we need some new piccies of the lovely Ben too.
I have never been involved in rehabbing a horse before so I have no idea how this compares. My vet and surgeon came up with this plan and I guess it all depends on the injury that is being recovered from. I have seen lots of horses coming back from tendon and ligament damage, but never known anyone either in person or online who has a horse receiver from a double stifle arthroscopy. I will follow whatever plan they put us on, they have guided me down the right path so far and I have faith in them to get him back to as much soundness as possible. Thanks for your concern though, it is interesting to hear different points of view and I don’t mean to be dismissive. However I am adamant that my actions are firmly guided by my vet. In a world of conflicting opinions and different ways of horse care I have to take advice from those who I trust. And I certainly do trust him.
 
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Mary Poppins

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Couldn't be happier to read this!!! Hopefully all goes as planned and you're back on board soon X
Thank you. I am a bit nervous about getting on him to be honest but I have friends that will help and ride him for me if need be.
 

Mary Poppins

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Oh gosh MP I have to say that I am crying reading this thread. I am so, so happy for you.

Fingers crossed and every available vibe for the rehab, and may you have many many more happy years of pootling on your lovely big boy.
Thank you. I have cried a fair bit too!x
 

Skib

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Could you stay safe riding him but have him go in straight lines? Your mentioning the lunge makes me fear circles. Maisie whom I hacked so happily for many years couldnt circle or be lunged or be used in a school.

As for the dressage - there is more than one route to dressage - Not on Ben of course but if you ever get another horse. eml and my own RI take quite a different approach to moving encouraging the horses to move well from behind.

The problem is that peer pressure and social and competitive norms put pressure on riders (and horses) to do things in a certain way. Because how else can you prove that you can ride? You are not the only one on NR who has done this - at the expense of the horse. What is different with you is that you are making the connection. And an additional problem is that the connection is a possibility, not even certain.
 

Mary Poppins

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Really pleased that Ben is on the mend, must be a huge relief for you and him. Nothing wrong with walking hacks, that's really all Belle can do now and I honestly don't miss schooling one bit.
I am very happy with our walk hack plans. I don’t need anything else.x