Bringing back into work after stifle surgery and a 2yr break

lucky7

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My cob mare has been in work for approx 3 weeks now. She is 8 this year and has had a 2 year turn away period after she had stifle surgery from an injury 3 years ago. Anyway she is now very sound - previously to ride she was very stiff on one rein, impossible to bend and flex, used to hang onto the left rein so much that arm used to physically ache - this was something she would do even when ridden on a long rein out hacking. In the end she was diagnosed with an ultra sound showing a huge tear in her patella ligament, an injury my vet said was very unusual, however i was told there was an excellent chance after surgery and alot of time off that she would come sound again and yes she has :)
I am starting to do a bit in the school with her, we have introduced trotting now and shes going very well. She's very, very forward going, not sharp, just responsive! (previously quite behind the leg and very heavy going) and nice and light in the hands, she seems to be working in a fairly low frame at the moment (athough not on the forehand) and holds herself in an unforced natural outline, however sometimes i think she goes behind the contact and tends to curl away at times. I do encourage her to lift by holding my hands high but not fixed, and making sure to keep a soft elastic contact and keep her forwards. Also she is still a bit wonky (understandably) so looking for exercises to straighten her out a bit without forcing her and putting her under strain, do something easy and light. At the moment we are mainly hacking (road work) (again no more than 40 mins, bit of hill work) and schooling 2 x per week (keeping it short and sweet) built up to 30 mins now, mainly walking and a bit of trotting - planning to introduce canter end of next week.
So, if this was your horse what else would you be doing?
 

Charlie007

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In hand or ridden pole work, just in walk to start with, then raised poles can be a huge help to level up any muscles without putting strain on joints.
 

be positive

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If she were mine after 2 years off I would be doing nothing other than walking in straight lines hacking, I would not be trotting for at least 2 months and at least another month before cantering, rushing at this stage will put her at risk, your plan seems to be far too quick to me.
 

lucky7

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If she were mine after 2 years off I would be doing nothing other than walking in straight lines hacking, I would not be trotting for at least 2 months and at least another month before cantering, rushing at this stage will put her at risk, your plan seems to be far too quick to me.

Hmm, yes i see your point. I may hold of a bit. When i say schooling its mainly walking and just a bit of trotting at the end of the session then lots of stretches etc. I dont do circles or anything just keep it simple for the time being. Out hacking again its just road work with a bit of water to cross across the ford.
 
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