Me and Rosco have been spending a lot of time together focusing on our stretches and rehabilitation work. Rosco seems to really enjoy the exercises and it's great ‘bonding’ time for us both. Rosco's personality is unfolding everyday and we really seems to be gelling, which is great!
The first thing we had to get to grips with was the long reining... We initially had a verbal lesson over the phone with Kathryn, one of my coaches, and after that it was time to bite the bullet and get him togged up with the new roller and lunge lines. One of Kathryn’s key pieces of advice was 'if it all goes wrong just let go of the lunge lines and let him chill'. We started in the safety of our arena and after a few initial muddles with trying to coordinate two lines, steer and keep Rosco forward, and look where I'm going, all without getting too close to him - multi-tasking isn’t my forte! After a few confidence building 30 minute sessions, we ventured into the field for a bit more variety that required less turning. However, there must have been a scary troll hiding behind one of the fence posts, and Rosco spun around and looked straight at me. News to me, I found out when you pull on the line when he’s looking at you, it puts pressure on his rear - this made him uneasy to say the least! Remembering Kathryn’s tip, it was time to let go! After a little upset with Rosco running round the field, he settled down and allowed me to catch him. A few more sessions in the arena and I must admit we’ve got the hang of it - we’re now doing quite complex turns and pole work, in and out of the arena, and touch wood there has been no more spins!
Part of Rosco's rehabilitation also includes walks in the Pessoa aid which has done wonders for my step count! I've been averaging over 20,000 steps a day in the last two weeks! Rosco has been up and down our local bridleway numerous times recently and he is really getting used to spooky leaves, birds and lots of walkers - it's working wonders on his desensitisation!
Typically with all the in-hand exercises, stretches and training, we've been spending about 2 hours a day completing the tasks, but Rosco quite likes the attention and he is a nice horse to be around.
Our physio, Faith, came back to do his check up recently. It has been 4 weeks since the last check up and she gave him the once over to make sure he was ready for the next phase of his rehabilitation program. She was really impressed with his muscle definition, general condition and the progress he has made. Faith has given us the all clear to increase his pole work, including trotting, raised poles and building up to getting back onboard him in the next few weeks - it's all very exciting and I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Our dentist came out last week and gave Rosco his annual checkup - there was just some minor adjustments to his bite and general rasping. He was very tolerant of the mouth gag and electrical grinder, which all helped in keeping his stress levels low for his ulcers - overall we were very pleased with the way he handled the situation!
We have also been trying to get his weight up slightly as he is a very fussy eater! Between the spring grass, our feed regime and rehab programme, he has definitely bulked up a bit. I’m still not sure we’ve got his feeds right just yet, but between our very helpful vet Jenny, and requesting feed advice from lots of manufacturers, I’m beginning to understand the science behind feeding for ulcer management. The biggest problem I am finding is that every manufacturer of food and supplements market their products so convincingly, they all state that they work miracles... I guess we will just have to keep searching until we find the right balance and see the results we need.