Amber and Whisper are pretty broke. Whisper is a bit la-la-la on trail and saunters and moseys along, and Amber is more like “OMG this is SOOOOO exciting” and kind of powerwalks and looks at everything. She’s such a curious soul, but it’s one of the things I love most about her because it makes her brave. (Plus if she looks too scared, I’ll back her away from it and then she’s like “I do not back away from things; now I MUST see what this is!”) She also knows that if something confuses her, I will let her look for as long she wants to figure it out but sanity must be retained.
This happened the other day. The neighbors had a little road racer (no freaking idea if that’s what it was – some cart-racing-box-looking-thingy that looks like the Mario Kart carts lol) at the same time that Amber spotted something different across the way.
She’s fine with carts, but I started to get cautious. Girl hasn’t done more than a walk in weeks, been on alfalfa (granted only a flake a day but still), and I’m on her with only a bareback pad strap and mane to hold should she decide to be silly. She was just staring at the doors and tires across the street, and I could just feel that happy reserve start to head to the top. This is another thing I love about Amber. She’s not spooky, has hardly ever spooked badly when I’m on, and when she does spook it’s the whole body jolt and all four legs plant type of spook. Also, if she isn’t startle-spooked you know when the spook is coming. You can feel it. She stares and blows and you know if something else comes up that just maybe we have a spook on our hands. Which is like, head shake, grunts and a teensy leap. Very tame lol.
Most of the time, if I’m bareback I just don’t want to slip off. This time I wasn’t worried about me coming off, and felt quite stable when the cart gunned up and Amber did a WEE and I was like please dear god no do NOT ruin your surgery! And it was over in 2 seconds. She had a hump, a sassy head shake, and I said whoa and then she kept walking at her saunter. I just chuckled after. She gave it the hairy eyeball for a few passes, so we stayed away from it and she didn’t even notice the doors or tires the next time I walked her. Wild and crazy this one lol.
I just love how broke these 2 horses are, but it’s been difficult to know what to do. I know she’s dead bored in the arena. There’s only so much you can do to stimulate a brain when you’re walking for 20 minutes trying to help a stifle. She’s always happy outside the arena, and really walks. She’s been definitely shortening that leg more the past few days, and I’ve been at a bit of a loss of what to do. It seems eerily similar to how she suddenly seemed to go downhill before she was good for access to her run a few days early. So we’ve started her on her mid-day turnout with hay piles scattered to help her walk so she doesn’t just stand in her stall all day. I also haven’t wanted to push her when we’re walking. I want rehab to be fun.
Also, it’d be better if SHE was the one making herself really walk, not me. So with that in mind, I put on her boots and her rope halter (she’s more respectful of that lol) and we proceeded to walk down the driveway. My plan was to just walk up and down our street in full view of Whisper and the barn the whole time. Since the last few times Amber has shown she greatly dislikes not being able to see Whisper, I figured this would help start the process of doing lovely trail rides again. Plus, the more she gets out the better she is outside. She got a little upset the first time we got to the end of the street and Whisper was calling for her (and running and bucking in the arena my goodness lol. Wish I had that on video lol). Once we made our second pass though she was much better about it (not that her protest was even on a bad scale in the first place. She’d just stop, be a little nervous and walk faster).
And boy was she walking. She was definitely excited to be out, and certainly ready to GO. She wanted to buck once, but gave the teensiest hop. It was the other reason I wanted to start doing this in rehab – she knows she’s hurting, and she’s been very careful with herself this whole time. And that same intelligence worked to my advantage while walking. She got happy, jigged a few steps, but mostly it was a very forward walk. We’d pause to sniff at the tires, or pause quickly for something else. We only walked 15 minutes before our neighbors popped over for a chat, but we all figured that was for the best. She had a good outing, then outside the arena got LOTS of attention to help the experience stay positive. (which is her fav).
She was sorer after the chat, so I mixed up a bit of extra grain with some bute in it. As sore as she did look, she was moving her leg better than she has in a few days. I think just like before, she was getting increasingly stiff, and we just have to get it moving and working. And I am really encouraged because she was moving SO NICELY. She only had 1 misstep with that right hind leg, when currently in the arena it’d be about 5 or so times. So that’ll be the plan for the next while – all of our evening walks will be outside. I want to hand walk her most of those times, get her more comfortable and have it be “routine” to get out there and be away from Whisper. It’ll stimulate her brain, and hopefully soon I can grab her some easy boots and we can start walking all around instead of just the street. It’s a process, but we’re getting through it!