Amber has been doing well – or at least, I think she’s doing well haha. I’m not expecting miracles about how quickly she’s progressing, but as with all progress she swings up and down. I started her at 10 minutes hand walking on the 26th that first week just to ease her into it, then went up to 15 minutes for the next 2 weeks. After the first week she was alarming us that she wasn’t really getting better and would not put much weight on the leg, so we upped the walking to twice a day and she’s been doing much better with the 2x a day regimen. This past Saturday was her best walk day yet, and she felt very rhythmic and cadenced. I’m not expecting that leg to be completely normal and exactly like the left one for a while – these things take time and I am really just looking for her walk to improve and be smooth, cadenced and easy and rhythmic. Her right knee initially took about 3 months of stall rest and hand walking before she was relatively okay to start a little bit trotting before a check up at 4 months, so I’m fully prepared for this to take just as long (I’m also being really careful haha).
All of the detail is mostly for me so that I can look back on this in case something like this ever comes up later, but she has her good days and bad days. They mostly seem every other day or every 2 days, so on those mornings where she’s been stiffer I’ve given her a gram of bute at lunch so she feels a bit better by the evening walk. The last thing I want is for her to start resenting her rehab and the walks, and I can tell it’s hard for her. She has been more vocal with me – she’ll start grinding her teeth a bit and looking back at me when she doesn’t like something – while it’s not a habit I really want her doing, I am happy she’s actually trying to communicate her dislike with me instead of being all:
She’s pretty sore on her back – I’ve been riding with pads and foam half pads to hopefully help her a bit, but there’s only so much I can do. Sometimes they may not want to walk because it hurts but it hurts because they haven’t been doing anything…..It’s a vicious circle. But even her favorite stiff-bristle brushes hurt after a curry on her sore muscles, so I’ve gone to my super soft goat hair brush and she hasn’t ground her teeth or looked back at me with her nose wrinkled like “HELLO MOTHER I AM TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING.” So I am learning too but it’s hard because she does that same thing when Whisper is getting more attention and if my mom and I are tacking up at the same time, so is it me causing it or Whisper? Slowly but surely I am trying to learn and be aware of the VERY SMALL things she does to showcase her dislike (I mean, give me a break horse; I can’t read your mind).
The good thing is, most of our sessions she actually is eager to get out. She wants to get out and walk, thankfully. She’s just meh when she’s not feeling well, which I absolutely don’t blame her for. We have had the poles out for Whisper’s rides, so occasionally I’ll walk her over a few, just to keep the walk from being exceptionally boring. She’s doing well – I think they’ve been helping her a bit, and she mostly hits them when she doesn’t need to bring that leg forward over the pole, but when she does she’s actually been quite brave in bringing it over. She doesn’t when it’s hurting a little more, but every time we go over I’m telling her how smart and brave she is and patting her. Her ears stay up as we meander along.
Saturday I thought we could up her to 20 minutes, and she walked really well with hardly any loss of rhythm. But the winds kicked up and she was pretty sedentary just standing there in her stall, and was pretty stiff Saturday evening for a 20 minute walk. Sunday morning she was still a bit stiffer than how she usually has been, so I walked her 20 minutes and took the walk time back down to 15 for the evening. That seemed to do the trick as she was a bit playful Monday morning from what I’m told – trotting a bit in her stall with her I’m-so-wild head shaking haha. Part of me is oh-dear-god-don’t-trot-yet and the other part of me is I’m-so-relieved-she’s-feeling-better lol. I think the surgery has absolutely helped her for the better, and while I miss riding her how I used to, I’ve been able to get into more complicated/finessed/finishing work with Whisper. She and my mom have been progressing really nicely and I’ve been finding a better balance between working Whisper and walking Amber. The only bad thing is that Amber has figured out that when the timer chimes its little tune on my phone that it’s stopping time and she halted on a dime the other night haha. Can’t say she isn’t smart lol.
I certainly missed her while I was gone, but now that I’m back we’re still chipping away at recovery! It also helps when your mother is a saint and volunteers to walk your horse in the morning for you when you have to work at the crack of dawn lol. It’s super helpful that she loves Amber too (except when she’s mean to Whisper which is…ah…all the time haha) but it’s really great having someone on your side that cares about your horse as much as you do.