The rehab starts....

Mary Poppins

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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.
He won’t be lunged, all his rehab will be in straight lines. I mentioned the lunge line being connected just in case he fancied upping the pace before I wanted him to! The plan is a friend will walk beside me to start with and clip the lunge line on ‘just in case’ so any attempt to go faster than walk can be stopped. I know he will be sensible and it’s just to make me feel better really. He has never taken off with me before so why should he start now?

I have fallen out of love with dressage. I have no inclination to ever ride ‘correctly’ or do a dressage test again. And yes you are right, I probably did do it to prove I could ride and Ben could do what other horses do. But I am done with that now!
 
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carthorse

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I'm very pleased for both of you.

I'm with others who say make haste slowly, but then I'm sure you have the sense to take a couple of steps back if he shows signs of soreness or struggling.
 

Mary Poppins

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So pleased for you. I’m sat here with a big grin on my face! Three weeks will fly by.
Yes the time will pass quickly and hopefully we won't have any setbacks. I am terrified about riding him again though. I am not sure why, I am pretty sure he won't go loopy but we in in unchartered territory as he has never had 5 months of box rest before. And I worry I will have forgotten how to ride!
 

Mary Poppins

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I'm very pleased for both of you.

I'm with others who say make haste slowly, but then I'm sure you have the sense to take a couple of steps back if he shows signs of soreness or struggling.
Yes of course I will keep a close eye on him and I won't be getting on him if I think that he is in pain. He does already walk out for two 5 minute leg stretches per day so it's not like we are going from complete immobility to 10 minute walking with nothing in between. I will also try to get him a physio appointment before I get on him, but my trusted physio had a baby 2 weeks ago so I don't want to bother her right now.
 

Jessey

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Yes the time will pass quickly and hopefully we won't have any setbacks. I am terrified about riding him again though. I am not sure why, I am pretty sure he won't go loopy but we in in unchartered territory as he has never had 5 months of box rest before. And I worry I will have forgotten how to ride!
I'm not a nervous rider, and not nervous of Jess but after she had that big lay off I had some stinking getting back on nerves. I had convinced myself as soon as I sat on her she was either going to break or explode, I felt sick the day of and procrastinated for ages, but within 2 seconds of my bum touching the saddle it all went away and all was right in the world again :) It's nerve wracking for more than just you have had a break, its as much about fear of breaking them, that bit took me much longer to manage, I still worry now but its just in the back of my mind rather than panic level.
 

Lissie

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Only just seen this, haven't been on here for a while. Fantastic news I'm so pleased for you!! Have everything crossed it all continues in the right direction and you are back on board soon, when that day happens we need pictures!
 
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Mary Poppins

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How is it going @Mary Poppins ?
So we are now at 20 minutes walking and it's fair to say that Ben is finding it very exciting! I have walked him for two 5 minute periods per day for the last 18 weeks and he has been generally as good as gold, but now we are extending his walks and I am taking longer routes and using the school.

Yesterday saw me in floods of tears as he went wild! He started off snorting and pawing the ground and generally being very tense. After only about 2 minutes walking he exploded by bucking and snorting. It wasn't too bad I suppose by other peoples standards, but he is never normally like that and it scared me. I called a friend to help and I somehow got through the 20 minutes and then called my vet for advice. We discussed the fact that there is a new mare on the yard and he said that this alone would be enough to explain his behaviour. He said that he could smell and mare and that along with 18 weeks on box rest, he just needed to get out some energy.

So for the next few days at least I will be using sedalin to walk him for the extended periods. I did take him out on the 5 minute normal route around the stable block last night and he was as good as gold.

I want to be the one who rides him when the time comes (only 2 weeks!!), but I'm not sure I have the nerve. If I had been sat on his yesterday I would have quite literally flown over the fence of the arena. I haven't ridden at all for 5 months, and even then we were just walking. I am thinking that I will need to get a braver rider to help me, but it is a big ask to get someone to walk him for 30 minutes per day for 3 weeks.

To be honest the whole situation is getting to me now. He has been lame for 11 and a half months, we are in our 19th week of box rest (I think - I get confused as the weeks go by). Ben is might pissed off and I am worn out. I don't want advice on how to deal with him, I am in close contact with my vet and am guided by him and him alone. But to be honest I would like some hugs and sympathy!
 

domane

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Hugs and sympathy coming from here by the bucket loads. I can totally understand your nerves about getting back on though. If it were me I'd have Dom lead me for our 1st ride....two pairs of hands are better than one. Lol
 

Jessey

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This is one of the toughest bits of box rest, strong vibes coming your way x Could you possibly just do 4x laps of the normal 5 minute route if he is still well behaved around there? it might not be so exciting if it's just the same old thing he's been doing for the last 4 months
 

Flipo's Mum

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Yep, Flipo was the same and no one around me gave a rats ass that I was nursing a flamin horse, they just didn’t get how much time, energy and emotional torture you put yourself through while dealing with it all and still harbouring that fear that at the end of all of this, you still might lose them. It’s terribly lonely, even if you have folk around you to sound off on or ask for help, at the end of the day, it’s only us individuals who have the responsibility of this horse that will feel it. Unfortunately, that’s what we take in when we welcome these beautiful guys into our lives.
I can only suggest that you work up to the riding and be kind to yourself. You might not see that it will be doable right now, but I imagine with a bit more time over the next couple of weeks, he will get used to the update to his rountine. Maybe use the few days prior to the ride to start preparing him mentally aswell by tacking him up for his walks in hand?
I had many offers of help and hadn’t ridden for a year and a half by the time I was able to get back on. I was offered help and had seen flipo explode, but the one thing in the back of my head was that I’d always been able to trust him 100% ridden. So if he was being a tit on the ground, he’s just somehow switch back to sensible boy once my butt hit the saddle. I’m sure Ben has the same switch and will take care of his mum as much as she has taken care of him xx
 

Jane&Ziggy

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It's so difficult, you should be enjoying your horse getting better and instead you're just strung out the whole time worrying that he will hurt himself again. Hang in there, use the sedalin, and bear in mind that he is still being very very good!

When Ziggy hadn't been ridden for 6 months the first time I got my RI to ride him for me once or twice. But this time I'm doing it myself. He's like Ben, usually very very good, and I feel ok to cope with the odd little hop or strop. But you must do what feels safe and sensible for you.
 
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Skib

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Just a thought MaryP to allay your fears. What you work on with Ben on your walks is important. Our RI said that my share behaved for me when I rode her (she didnt for the staff) because I had her behaving well for me from the ground. I would suggest that when you lead Ben out for his walks you approach it as him working for you? Not just him taking you out and dragging his lead.
Is he allowed to back up yet in walk? Or only to halt and walk? He really needs to know you are in charge and to be watching you and paying attention as you lead in walk before you think about sitting on him. If he isnt allowed to back up a step or two, I would think this can be done just through halt and walk. I know from when Maisie was retired it isnt easy but you need to start as if you were training someone else's horse go through the process of walk and halt just like the trainers do, And develop it so you can lead on a limp rope just as you choose, with you in charge and using your hand height and body language, not rely on the pressure setting of the Dually.
And if it takes more time to have him working well - compliant and attentive when led in walk, and stopping when you stop, you can postpone riding. It isnt compulsory to ride any horse. Not if it scares you.
It isnt magic with a horse learning to be led - it is work for the horse and a learning process so you need to pause and give the horse a break, just standing and waiting. Doing nothing from time to time. And you also shouldnt expect compliant, angelic behaviour to be instilled so it is always there and permanent even n your favourite horse, and then blame yourself if it isnt. Horses have to be reminded who one is and what one expects.
It is a great benefit to be able to relax and just wait and do nothing with a horse. Or sometimes talking to the horse or rubbing its neck as you teach the horse to lead. Because you want the horse to be relaxed when with you. So it can learn.
You can learn a lot about how relaxed a horse is from head position. Get the relaxation before you even do the simplest thing. Thus for instance when you mount Ben for the first time and sit there, you can wait for his head to lower and for him to feel easy, and then dismount him. Let him stand or do some walk halt with him and then the next time you mount both he and you will feel easier. He is a big horse and you are a clever, intelligent woman and that is your one advantage over him (and any horse).
 
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lauren123

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I have been keeping a eye on this thread, though havent replied ( crappy phone!)

I totally get where you are coming from, believe me MP. Being soxs mum is a emotional rollarcoaster! I understand feeling worn out. After 18 months of dealing with soxs lameness. I too was worn out and , not sure about you but everything seemed so bleak! Just getting him sound was a bonus! You kinda have to lean on the professionals you have around you in a way, I mean vets! I did anyway. In the end you kinda get to a point where your so far in the woods you cant see the exit. Also its so hard knowing that their like glass in some respect... All that hard work... But I learnt a year or so ago. As much as Ii want to I cant wrap him up in cotton wool .

Hugs
 
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Mary Poppins

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Thank you all for your kind words. I haven't been sleeping well but managed a proper nights sleep last night which makes the world seem like a better place.

My vet said that sedalin influences horses in different ways so he couldn't be sure of the exact dose. He said anything between 1.5ml and 5ml may be needed. So I decided to give him 2.5ml and he was so dopey he could hardly put one leg in front of the other! So today I am going to give him 1.5ml and see how he is with that.

I found it impossible to syringe it in his mouth, as he is a 16.1hh shire x and I am only 5ft 2, when he puts his head in the air I just can't bring it down. Plus I don't want the battle. I therefore made up the smallest feed to mix it with (was barely a fistful) which he happily ate and the sedalin still worked.

I have the saddler, massage therapist and physio all booked over the next couple of weeks to make sure that he is as ready as he can be for when I get on him. My friend is going to help me get on him and lead me around to start with, and I have got a lovely list of volunteers who have said that they will walk with me until I get my confidence. I am actually going to make a rota for people to help me during the first week! I sometimes find it very difficult in real life to ask for help, it seems like failure and I don't want to be a nuisance. But if there was ever a time to enlist my horsey friends to help me, then this is it.

Thank you all for being so understanding. I would never have imagined how difficult it was to bring a horse back into work. There is the fear of him re-injuring himself, the fear of him injuring me, plus the fear that the movement will all be too much for him and he will have to be put down anyway! But I am trying to take each day as it comes and hopefully everyday we are getting one day closer to him being turned out again.
 

Lissie

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Sending hugs your way. It is perfectly natural to be worried about getting back on, who wouldn't be. Sounds a good idea to have a friend leading you to start with, I'm sure no one thinks you're a nuisance and do not feel like a failure, you are anything but that after the rollercoaster ride with Ben. There is nothing failing about asking for help.