I know it’s only been a few days since I gave the rehab rundown. When I was writing it though, I wasn’t thinking of Sierra as needing rehab. The rehab was for Ki, since he had a diagnosed injury to his soft tissue. Sierra was supposed to be good to go once she’d had appropriate rest for the injections to do their thing. As I was working her today, I realized that I had been approaching her from a standpoint of needing legged-up. It occurred to me that approaching her current work from rehab point of view may be much more productive and efficient overall.
I had started her back to work slowly in December. At first all I did was exercise her in the round pen. After a bit I added packing the saddle around to the equation. Then I sat on her and walked for a few minutes. Slowly we added some trot work too. JW had asked in the comments from Saturday’s post if the training I had been doing might have contributed to the horses getting sore in their hocks. My answer to him was a bit more focused on Ki. Before Sierra got sick last summer with Pigeon Fever, she was just at the point where I was asking her to stop from a lope. No big hard stops with long slides, just looking for her to hunt for the ground a bit. She wasn’t really bad about it, but she wasn’t really good either. I really hadn’t got back to that point with her this year, because we didn’t have much of a lope. My biggest complaint from the summer was she would slam her shoulders in to the left in any sort of left turn.
Her turns although slow have been feeling more correct. She didn’t have much drive through the turns, but there was no frantic slamming her shoulders hard to the left if I so much as hinted at a turn that way.
Today, she was very willing to lope. Yay! On her left lead. The lead she had been giving me grief about for the past month or so. No right lead though. Whether we were tracking to the left or right all she would give me was left lead. Hmmmm. Finally at the end of the ride I got her to pick up right lead. Maybe now her left lead is so much more comfortable than it was that’s all she wants to do? Maybe there is more scar tissue that I need to work through from the Pigeon Fever? Maybe we just had a really crappy day?
The upside is she is definitely more comfortable now on her left lead. Once she was on her right lead she seemed fine too. It’s almost as if she figured that my cues to lope off only meant left lead. It is not anything I find too worrisome. She seemed to pick up her leads correctly last summer, no doubt she’ll get back to that place.
The big thing is I need to change my thought process from legging-up (re-establishing fitness) to rehab focused. Legging-up gets me in a mode of simply trotting and loping around until she’s comfortable doing such for x minutes. Thinking of it as rehab has me focusing on her overall fitness and development. It’s also a frame of mind that has me more open to subtle sorts of feedback from her. Such as preference for one lead or another. (At this point, after our ride I’m regarding the lead thing as an item of note. If it doesn’t get better after a day or two, then it points me towards a possibly larger problem.)
Is it really odd then that Ki’s rehab basically consists of trotting intervals until we are up to a certain amount of time? Essentially my definition of legging-up. Yet in his case I see it as rehab too.
This difference between rehab and legging-up may just be in my mental filter of the world. Sometimes the power of words absolutely amazes me, shifting my thought process from getting Sierra fit again to looking at this as a rehabilitative process feels much more effective to accomplish the goals I have with her. Then again, it’s possible I’m just being overly analytical and should just shut-up and go ride.