Guest Blog: A Break For Rosco

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cross country

As previously mentioned, Rosco is currently having ulcer treatment. The vet has recommended that we simply let Rosco “just be a horse” for a few weeks to help with the ulcers. We’ve rearranged our paddocks and we have now got him out 24/7 with access to winter grazing and unlimited ad-lib haylage. We have been doing all the stretching exercises our physio advised - Rosco is so keen to get his treat when I tempt him to reach down between his legs, he physically tucks himself under and drops to his knees to get that extra inch - I’m sure he would topple over if I didn’t give him his treat.

I had been booked onto a three day pre-season camp with Rosco at Somerford in Cheshire, so I decided rather than cancelling I’d go with Walter (my wife’s horse).  It has been a few years since I’d been to Somerford, and although the main cross country was closed due to the weather, we had use of the two fantastic arenas set up for cross country and show jumping. I had two lessons per day, so it was great for me to get my jumping eye back in and brush up on our technique. Walter is a little scared of coffins, he thinks TROLLS are hiding in them, so we focused part of the session on getting over his phobia. By the end of the session, we were doing some advanced coffin-jump combinations. As Epworth BE has been cancelled we are now looking forward to our first event when the ground dries up later in the year.

In our group at Somerford there was a 5* rider who had been to Badminton, she was riding some of her younger horses. It was great to rub shoulders and also see that they can have issues at times, horses are so grounding.  Not only was it quite intensive from a riding perspective, but as always with ‘Maggie’s camp’, there is a good social side with a few post dinner G&Ts leading to some quite competitive alcoholic party games! So much so, my sister-in-law, who was also riding, pulled her back and asked me to ride her horse Reggie on the last day of cross country training.

Having not ridden Reggie for 8 months I was a bit cautious, but after a few warm-up jumps our coach Angus decided we were ready for a course.  Reggie and I really gelled and we were on a roll jumping corners, skinnies and water until I lost my direction and asked him to do a nearly impossible line. He put in a fantastic effort to clear a really tight skinny jump, but on landing we went in opposite directions resulting in that now familiar POP sound...Yet another air jacket cylinder to replace!  After a check over and remount, we completed the course in confident style, non the worse for our tumble. That’s 2 falls in 2 weeks after previously not falling for several years, hopefully there’s not a 3rd fall lurking.

While I was enjoying myself at Somerford, we think Rosco managed to bang his hip on the gate post to his field. The gate is over 12ft wide but we noticed a paint scuff on his rug - he was uncomfortable and in quite a bit of pain. After getting the vet to check him over and run x-rays, unfortunately it was discovered he had managed to fracture part of his pelvis.  Although it’s not fractured all the way through (he’s basically banged his hip bone), there may be a bit of bone detached. The vet’s advice is now to restrict his movements, not box rest but a small turn out.  Once again I’ve been trawling through the internet and soaking up information from our vet. The prognosis is quite good but it will take time, fingers crossed the bone will reattach. We are planning to have him x-rayed again in 6-8 weeks. I’ve been covering all corners of his stable and field shelter with foam and rubber padding, but typical Rosco, he’s decided he likes foam - he’s stared pulling bits off already.  Under the vet’s advice, we have paused his ulcer treatment for the time being to focus on his bone repair and rehab. The fracture happened nearly 3 weeks ago now and luckily Rosco seems really happy and contented.