Thursday, February 4, 2010

Back to Training

Well this blog was supposed to be about training and I've written bugger all over the last while. But now that I'm on a roll, (been out for a ride for 3 days in a row, yay me!) I think it's time to get back to training.

After my initial burst at clicker training, I let it fall by the wayside. Not because it wasn't working but because pretty much all I was doing with Fox was feeding him, mucking out the paddock and giving him a quick massage. This took all of half an hour. Now that I'm back up to being there for at least an hour and a half, it's time to get serious again.

I am going to use clicker training to get Fox picking his feet up better. Riding has meant more hoof picking out which Fox isn't happy about. Still not entirely sure how to do it with his back feet by myself though.

I'll also use clicker training to allow touching all over. There are still some sensitive spots that need working on.

I want to find a stethoscope so I can get Fox used to them. I am wanting to do a CTR some time this year and the vet check involves stethoscopes. So clicker training will be used for this as well. Though there will still be some doubt about his reaction to an actual vet which I can't do too much about.

Getting Fox on a float is still the big one in my mind. Now that I know a way that works I'm thinking of hiring a float for a weekend every few weeks. First day will be just practice, no going anywhere unless he decides to get in then we might go for a drive around the block. Next day, hopefully the preparation the day before will allow a relatively quick entry. Then we will go places. Hopefully it won't take too long before he's ok without the practice day.

So my weekly schedule is hopefully going to go something like this.

Stage one: While Fox is still building his strength and fitness 4x a week 20-30 minute hack at a walk, 1x groundwork and full massage and anything like trimming that needs doing.

Stage two: After his fitness increases and he remains sound we will build up the rides to 3x 40 minutes to an hour hacks with a wee bit of trotting and some hills to get his butt working, 1x 1-2 hour hack just walking maybe hills, 1x goundwork etc.

Once the arena has been cut for hay, (yes we have a grass arena) I would also like to introduce some pole work, also for his butt. This should hopefully coincide with moving on to the second stage.

I'm currently leaving stage two very flexible and stage three hasn't even been contemplated though I don have some goals for this year. We will just see how Fox's soundness goes. His legs are good, still up and down but never up past a certain point. The cold hosing makes no difference any more so that is once again out. He isn't clicking at the moment which is a sign that his DJD is under control and his back is looking good. He has no signs of discomfort and is very happy to be getting out and about again.

I'm still umming and ahhing over an ultrasound. The fact is, there may not have even been that much damage there in the first place. Fox was completely sound soo quickly. I have been comparing his recovery to the likes of Andrea and Go-go and it happened a lot quicker. But there is still the niggling feeling that I just want to KNOW that everything is ok. Another point that was brought up by a doctor was the fallibility of ultrasounds. I could get one and it wouldn't answer any questions I had. So part of me is thinking I must be a bad horse owner for not doing everything under my power to make sure he is ok and the other part is very conscious of the financial aspect of things. I admit, it's been a bit tight but this ultrasound has been the only thing that Fox has missed out on so I'm trying not to beat myself up about it too much. And things are looking up so we'll see.

1 comment:

  1. Way to go! Don't beat yourself up too much, the main thing is that Fox is doing better. I wouldn't have the ultrasound done unless the lameness came back worst than now. There is no need to ultrasound a recovering horse unless things turn to worst again. Your budget will thank you... and maybe Fox too!

    We've all had our hard times... Especially in this economy, I am struggling to keep everyone happy myself. I was planning to breed my mare, but if money doesn't pick up, there will be none of that and I won't kick myself if I wait an extra year... right now, the breeding would be planned for May 2011, there is still plenty of time between now and then for things to change.

    Good work having a plan to get Fox back in shape, most people don't think that their horse looses muscle mass when not working. I have made a plan for Dandy too, since she has been sick for most of the winter, on medication and on rest, she has lost some of her gorgeous shape that she had. So I plan on riding her lightly until Spring (walk / small trots), then moving up to a bit harder work, maybe introducing 1 hill (with gentle incline) to her ride and one small canter, but I want to eventually work up to 3 hills (2 steep ones spreaded throughout the ride), 10 minutes of continuous canter and the ability to jump small obstacles and creeks when need be. She was able to canter for 3-5 minutes last year and go up any hill without puffing too much, but she was still young (3 y-o) so no jumping was introduced and I did not push her to canter more than she was comfortable with. This year, she will be 4.5 in Summer, so should be able to jump small stuff (trees, etc.) and be able to maintain a canter for prolonged periods. I would also like for her to loose a little bit of weight, she has gotten a little round from last Spring and Summer on pasture so more exercise is in the picture for her. No problem, because she LOVES going out for rides. Plus, if I plan on breeding her, I want her to be in top shape so that everything goes smoothly.