It’s been quite a while since I blogged specifically about my return to riding and the journey with Tiny, my ex-racehorse. Not through a lack of desire really, but more from the fact that not an awful lot has really happened since I last updated you all in the middle of January. To be honest much of the time he’s either been on the sidelines or the weather has been against us, at least from anything other than a hacking perspective.
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At the end of the last blog Tiny had thrown a split. Thankfully he only had a few days when he was a bit unlevel, but he was rested for a bit and then put on the easy work list after further discussions with the vet. We ticked him over at home and kept everything monitored. I’ve mentioned before that his legs are a bit ‘bruised’ shall we say from his racing days and his front legs can fill over night. Nothing massive and they soon dissipate once he’s out, but with this and his splint I felt I needed to give him a bit ‘more’ in the way of help.
So I started to consider alternative options. Tony’s Dad set about looking into stuff too. After a day or so we separately decided on the same thing. Magnetic therapy.
It seemed to me that there is no absolute proof that magnets work. Lots of people were swearing by them (in animal or human use), others said the had no impact at all. It was a bit tricky to know if the improvement shown by horses would have come with time anyway?
I’m also a bit old school in some ways, I’d been cold hosing and gelling the splint for about 2 weeks at this stage. New therapies often put me outside my comfort zone. However using magnets in therapy isn’t new at all. I’ve been told many a story about old boys from decades ago relying on them for their own pain relief. So however much I looked elsewhere at options I just kept coming back to magnets.
So a bit bemused, but encouraged by what I’d heard and read, I looked deeper into it for Tiny and the magnet based options and eventually invested in some boots from Bioflow.
He’s been wearing them now overnight for about 3 weeks I guess. He’s still sound, his work load was increased over time and he’s back in full work. There appears to still be no issues with his splint and his fore legs certainly aren’t puffy in the morning anymore. So irrespective of the splint situation I think they are worth it for that fact alone.
With the weather causing issues with the roads and ground we had been stopped a few times. Ready to go but actually nowhere to go thanks to snow or ice. Finally we got a day out and I knew he was going to be a bit excited to be back out again as it had been quite a few weeks. We unboxed a good distance from the meet to give both our horses a chance to get the kinks out of their tails. Flip me the little bu**ers were spooky as anything! At the meet though they were both settled though. I’ve never minded lively horses under me and Tiny can get on his toes. That’s fine. It shows he’s enjoying life. What I don’t like though is discovering that there’s been an MOT failure and the brakes are iffy. We weren’t long into leaving the meet when my brakes failed completely.
That’s not a nice feeling and, at least in the hunting field, isn’t a good thing either. Not for me and not for the rest of the field to have to look out for. So, I decided to call it a night there and then and take him back to the box. It was flipping annoying.
We hacked back and I contemplated my move with him. He’d been getting stronger out hunting when we had managed days out. At home he’s a lazy so and so, it’s like Pony Club kick central some mornings.
I’d definitely win a badge for leg use on him!!
It was clear that he was enjoying his hunting and his race horse instinct ‘There’s a group of us, we run fast when there’s a group of us, away we go Mum’ was kicking in. Given his donkey status at home trying different options in his bridle etc to discover what a good move for him was going to be tricky. We also decided that given he’d not had a full day hunting for a while, the next time out we’d be part of the trail hunting team with the stinky scent rag that was used to lay the trail for the hounds. That way he was out for a good time, constantly on the move and with a couple of other horses. He’d not be under the real excitable stress that might happen but he’d be forward enough to establish if our bridle changes seemed to work.
Then the latest equine flu situation arose and hunting was cancelled.
It’s been a bit like the hokey-cokey since owning Tiny. Building a relationship with a horse in these situations is flipping tough. Someone said to me recently that they believe a true relationship can take well over a year to establish, and thats with constant building and no set backs. With his injuries/niggles, my illnesses, the weather and now equine flu, I’d had nearly 3 months of silly set backs. So it was mentally tough for me to keep smiling and keep wanting to push on at times. I honestly questioned what I was doing with him and whether he’d have a far better time being owned by someone else.
On the equine flu front I didn’t want anything else to potentially stop us once the governing bodies who were making the main decisions or providing advice about activity put the green light out again. Whatever my personal thoughts about the veterinary side of the situation and the equine population I decided that as Tiny’s vaccinations were due in April he’d be done straight away to bring him into line with the new suggestions that a 6 month vaccination was required.
A few days later, with Horse Racing back in full swing we were able to return to hunting. The plan to be part of the trail team was put into action with a new bit.
I had a great day with the trail layers. I learnt another aspect of hunting too and what goes into giving ‘us’ as the field a good day out. We didn’t stop moving, we cantered, jumped and did everything as normal too. He behaved really well and I was so pleased with how he went. He was forward but contained.
The next step will be put that into practice in the main field again…
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With love from me and The Orange One, see you next time!
If you missed the first part of this series and you’d love to discover more, then head to Back in the Saddle – Part 1 for the original instalment…