Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rehabbing that old pasture companion....

Lately I have been working with an out of retirement mare.  This horse was put out to pasture 7 years ago after having a lameness issue associated with OCD ( osteochondrosis).  The owner wants the horse to feel like a horse again and be able to lightly use the horse on the trails.  What I have to start with is a horse who has not done work for a long time.  This horse is used to walking 50 yards to her paddock then back to her stall every day and night.  Her routine is entrenched in her.  I am treating her the same as young colt.  Some things will move quickly because she has experience.

Move slowly at first.  Just like you or I when we sit around for a long period of time our bodies cannot handle a long workout right away.  Smaller amounts of exercise with more exposure activities have benefited this mare.  The first couple of weeks were light workouts.  Usually only a small amount of trotting and no cantering.  Giving days off in between workouts will also give your horse's body to recover.

Now that the mare has been working up her endurance and that the lameness has not been an issue yet I am moving her amount of work up.  Incorporating more trotting and a longer sustained workout.  I keep a close eye on how the mare is moving.  With OCD a horse may start moving awkwardly so it is important to make sure that the horse moves correctly.  I feel that this mare starts to move incorrectly out of not having to move correctly for so long.  The stable managers and I have not noticed any lameness with the increased work.

Always make sure that you watch your horse when out in its paddock to make sure there are not signs of lameness.  Also consult with your vet on what your horse can do if your horse has had an injury.  Always take things slow.  Have fun and spend time with your horse.

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