As you’ll know I’ve not posted for a couple of weeks. Safe to say I gave myself a serious case of burnout and was feeling pretty stale towards writing. With working 6 days a week, trying to stay consistent with Azzerti’s retraining and Grumeti returning home and needing consistency with his rehab, I had a lot on, on top of trying to improve my own health and fitness. So of course I decided to add to my own challenges and bring my retired mare Matilda back in to work too. No half measures here!
Original and Best.
So, let’s start catching up by talking about Grumeti. As many of you know, he’s my absolute horse of a lifetime and four legged soul mate. He’s been out of action for four (nearly five) months, since sustaining two fractures to his radial bone. Since then he has done 14 weeks of box rest, began hand walking and then went to Underwood Equine in Tutbury, Derbyshire to start his rehab work. Working his way through his work on the water treadmill and the horse walker.
After so long on box rest his muscle development and top line was rapidly fading.
For those of you that don’t have an equestrian background, top line is the term used to describe the muscle coverage over the top of the horses neck, back and rump. It is development of this top line of muscles that really makes the retired racers look so different to how they did in their racing days.
But with enormous thanks to Amy and the team at Underwood, Grumeti’s top line has bounced back like I’ve never seen before. Often we say that top line is like confidence, the time it takes to build is far greater than the time it takes to fade. But each week I visited Grumeti at rehab, I could see the development and see the change.
For anyone who is having a horse come back into work from injury or time off, I really do recommend the water treadmill work, his strength, stamina and fitness are now so far ahead of where I would have been able to get him by just walking in hand.
That leads us to now, the next stage of his rehab, which isn’t the most exciting as we are now doing three weeks of walking. Everyday, walking out under saddle, building up the time and asking him to work on differing terrains with decline and incline. There are many studies that show that the best thing for improving bone strength and density in horses, is walking on hard ground. So hacking is the plan for the next few weeks, before we start introducing trot work.
The Next Steps.
After we’ve done our three weeks of walk hacking and we begin to introduce the trot work I’m going to also spend some time doing some ground work and in hand exercises with Grumeti to really help him to use his body and to figure out how to use himself again.
Quite often when a horse has had an injury or pain, they can hold themselves differently, move differently or over compensate in other areas. Which is why ground work, stretching and other exercises are so important to helping the horse develop muscle evenly as well as improving balance and co-ordination.
The types of exercises that can be done for this are endless but a few of my favourites are;
Rein-back up a hill – This can be done ridden or in hand. It asked the horse to use his whole ring of muscles and is one of the most useful strengthening and suppling exercises out there, as well as really making your horse think about it’s feet.
Rein-back on a curve – Again, ridden or in-hand. But for this one I recommend starting in hand so your horse gets the general idea first. This is best for helping increase symmetry in the horse, as he’s alternating and pushing off each individual hind leg.
Exercise on a slope – This sounds simple enough, but just walking in a 20m circle on a slope can really help your horse, the turning and the incline and decline mean that the horse is having to shift its balance and engage different muscles.
For all of these types of exercise I have a book which is essentially my bible for injury rehab, retraining, bringing back into work or helping the horse to correct an issue. So I’ll link that here:
For now we’ll keep plugging away and I’ll be creating some videos on various exercises over the coming weeks to give people an idea of what we are getting up to. Hopefully those of you that follow me on social media are enjoying the videos of him getting up to mischief.
So I’ll wrap up here and later on in the week I’ll do a bit of an update on what Azzerti is currently up to and next week we will have a giveaway with Voltaire Saddles!
As always thanks for reading and all your support. It means a lot.
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