Bringing a horse back from stall rest

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by slbose61, May 27, 2013.

  1. slbose61

    slbose61 Senior Member

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    Since Opal was diagnosed with Pedal osteitis in both front feet three weeks ago, she is now wearing bar shoes and pads and is moving soundly. Prior to her diagnosis she was on stall rest for three months. Since the diagnosis, she is at a rehab farm slowly being reintroduced to turnout and grass and doing great. She is now up to six hours of turnout, looks great, is losing the weight she gained while on stall rest. I expect to bring her home (where I board) on June 27th.

    The vet is coming out to see her this Friday to determine if she is ready to go back into work. If the vet clears her, the plan is to have my instructor start riding her and slowly get her back into riding shape during the month of June, then continue once she is home. I assume my vet will give me guidelines, which I intend to follow, but I'm curious to find out what everyone's experience is with this type of reconditioning.

    Do you start with 15 minutes of walking a few days a week, adding an additional 15 or 30 minutes a week? When do you begin trotting? Based on your situation/experience, how long was it before your horse was in riding shape and could begin doing more extensive work such as dressage?

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. slbose61

    slbose61 Senior Member

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    Chirp Chirp
     
  3. MysticRealm

    MysticRealm Senior Member

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    Generally you add only 5 or so minutes a week to build up your times.
    Work your way up to walking 60 mins, then add a lap of trot each way, add another lap or 2 to your rides every 3 or 4 rides, Slowly build up your trot (and you can decrease your walking) Until you get up to 15-20 minute of trotting, and slowly adding in large circles and bends. Then add canter down the 2 longsides each way (trot through corners) and slowly add a couple longsides every 3-4 rides, then add in cantering the ends as well. Then slowly add in circles and bends/flying changes. Then just slowly increase till you get up to a full flat ride, at the end you can add in some trot poles. Once you are at a good full length flat work for a few weeks you can add in small jumps (if you jump)
     
  4. slbose61

    slbose61 Senior Member

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    Thank you Mystic. It sounds like this will take several months, correct?
     
  5. MysticRealm

    MysticRealm Senior Member

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    Yes, 3 months of stall rest is a long time and any and all muscling the horse had before this will be gone. Usually they say it takes at least twice as long (as the horse was on rest) to build back up to the work the horse was doing before.
     
  6. slbose61

    slbose61 Senior Member

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    Thank you Mystic. She has lost all of her muscling, but her energy level is good again. Initially, she was very tired from being turned out, but as she built up to the six hours her energy level has greatly improved and is a happy girl again.
     
  7. Kodasmom

    Kodasmom Senior Member

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    I've got a mare who has been down since April 29th and will be down/QT through June.
    She was fit, but not competition level, prior to her getting sick. She had a few days of extremely high fever that the vet couldn't break.
    All of her fever days have earned her a minimum of 5 weeks off. From there we'll ultrasound again, check abscesses/tissue damage.
    As of right now, my intention is to leave her off for a good three months (from last symptoms) to let everything heal.

    From that, I expect it to be about 2-2 1/2 months before she's a solid working walk for 60 mins.
    If she progresses quicker than that time line, great. But at this point we don't know the extent of scar tissue.
    The plan is pretty similar to above, although I intend to drag the trot work out once we get to that level.
    Very small spurts of trot work, smaller increments, etc. Canter work hasn't even hit my radar.
    I've known horses to have chronic issues after being brought back from pneumonia too quickly.
    Luckily the indoor is heated, makes it easier to come to terms with rebuilding through the winter.

    Lung damage aside, she will need to rebuild all of those muscles she hasn't been using, her balance, coordination, endurance, etc.
    For your mare you'll have to take those same issues into consideration.
    She's had a lot of time off, plan to take it slowly, have a six month goal and see how things progress.

    Good luck with her! Glad to hear she's been doing well with her new shoes :)
     
  8. slbose61

    slbose61 Senior Member

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    Thanks Kodasmom. Opal had a bronchial infection at the same time she first went completely lame. It was so heartbreaking to see her so miserable. I hope your girl has a quick and successful recovery.
     
  9. JBandRio

    JBandRio Senior Member

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    Start with hand walking. 3 months of stall rest is a lot of condition lost, much more than if it was 3 months of pasture rest. I'd hand walk for 20-30 minutes every day for at least a week before getting on.

    Then walk 20-30 minutes for another week under saddle. Add 5 min or so every 2-3 days until you're at a good 40 minutes.

    From that point, the deal is - increase duration, or intensity, but not both, for several more weeks. So, at that point, your rides are still 40 minutes tops, but you'll be replacing some of the walking with trotting, starting at just a minute or 2 each diagonal/direction. Add 2-3 minutes, ish, every 2-3 days, until you have maybe 15 minutes or so of trotting within a 40-45 minute ride.

    Then you add in canter work like trotting - start very lightly, and increase the amount of cantering you're doing.

    By the time you're at 45-60 minutes of w/t/c work, you're ready to get into more discipline-specific work.

    Keep lateral work out until you've got at least 10 minutes of trotting, IMHO. You can add some baby baby lateral work at the walk, just to refresh and to be able to more accurately straighten him at the trot (since you DON'T want him trotting all crooked :D) but don't "work on" lateral work until he's a bit more fit.

    You can tell by this that it will take several months just to get to the point you can REALLY start work LOL
     
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  10. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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    Agree it will take several months of work to get her back in condition. My mare it took about six months. We first started building her up with lunging for the lope/canter part before my daughter actually started asking her unsaddle. She was on stall rest for two months after a severe leg injury that the vet told me he was afraid she could have died from. Course he didn't tell me that until last month.

    Good luck!
     

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