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Rehab

So I mentioned in my earlier post about Maverick.  After a few minutes last night working with him, I have been deep in thought about him, and actually woke up in the middle of the night thinking of plans and things to try with him, and couldn’t get back to sleep!

Maverick came to Heather last year and became her second standardbred project.  Within an incredibly short amount of time, she had him broke to ride, and competed him in the GEC schooling shows, placing ahead of other more experienced horses, who were not standardbred!  A few months later she took him in our set-speed style event on the property and won!

Winter rolled around and he was having problems with his hocks, Heather gave him the injections that the vet recommended and he slowly came back.  I believe this problem came as a result of the track, and was delayed due to the length of time it took to lose track muscle and whatever he may have had in his system.  With the injections and patient work, he was showing recovery.

A little bit into his treatment, Heather found a new home for him as she was expecting her first child and wouldn’t have time for 2 horses.  He came back to her this summer as this home was not able to keep him.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be the same horse anymore.

He seems to have lost most of the training and confidence he had gained with Heather before.  His balance is very off, and he feels very crooked to ride.  Heather doesn’t trust him on hacks because of his balance and re-greeness.  She asked me to get on him because his trot, while it doesn’t look terrible from the ground, has been throwing her out of the saddle.  It starts small and works higher and higher like bouncing on a trampoline.  I found the same thing with him.

Another issue I found was how utterly impossible it was to ride straight.  If we rode straight, he was bent almost 90 degrees to the outside.  If I gave him a large open rein to the inside he would straighten out his body and was not so bouncy, but would travel in a circle.  He doesn’t seem to respond to leg, so the first thing I think he needs is some groundwork to teach him to move off of pressure.  What I think is happening is that he doesn’t know how to balance himself because of his greenness, off track, and doesn’t understand commands that the rider may use to help teach him balance.  Its back to square one! 

Hopefully I can find myself with some extra time this weekend to try some lunging and see how he balances without a rider.  Also try to get him moving off pressure from the ground. 

Also, I gave him a good run-over with my hands and found several areas that were hard as rock, particularly in his neck and hindquarters (which would explain a lot about how he rides).  Massage will do him well.  Also I am going to go through my big book of stretches and exercises that I used to rehab Bentley and see what might work the areas I have targeted without too much stress.  Hmm. Not sure where I put that now, I have to find that for Heather!

He may also need chiro, but due to cost, we are going to see what we can get done on our own with massage and stretching, while it wont cure it, perhaps we can alleviate some of the pressure causing him to twist.  One thing I did notice was that when he was relaxed in crossties, he would always keep weight to one side with a slight twist.  He would square up, but when relaxed again he would revert to this pose.

Heather’s goal is to ride him in our Harvest Hack on thanksgiving. I guess I can be thankful the rehab stuff was so fresh in my memory. May be completely different problems from Bentley, but the analysis and planning skills haven’t gone away that’s for sure!  Wish us luck!

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