Well our return to riding Rosco didn’t go quite to plan... Rosco had been checked by our Physio, Faith, and she had given us the all clear to start the ridden phase of his rehab plan. We were really pleased with his muscle build up and confident that his pelvic fracture had stabilised.
What a great feeling! I was finally able to get back on him... We decided to give him a lunge to get rid of a bit of energy, then it was time to get on. I put my body protector and air jacket on, just in case! Then feet into the stirrups and bum in saddle, well at least for a short while. Rosco's first steps were fine then after a few metres, he tensed and his back lifted - Sue was telling me to get my leg off him and relax (not so easy when he’s arching his back and threatening to explode beneath you). Then bong! Full on bronking! At first I was reasonably stable as he more or less bronked on the spot, all I was thinking was, 'I’ve got this, just sit tight'. However, he started to move forward and jinked from side to side ominously veering towards some raised poles we’d set up in the corner of the arena. All that was going through my mind was ‘that’s gonna hurt if I land on them’... So, although I didn’t bail out, I think I did relax my grip, and that was it... the familiar ‘POP’ of the air jacket and Rosco stood looking at me on the floor, thankfully no injuries to either of us.
Umm what to do next...have another go? I’d run out of Air Jacket canisters so re-mounting was quickly ruled out. We decided to make a crash test dummy filled with some old overalls with sand, tied together with knots in the legs then strapped it to the saddle. I managed to get about 40kg of sand in it and it was quite balanced. We initially did some walking round with it on Rosco’s back, then a bit of lunging. Although he didn’t bronk violently, you could see he was a bit uneasy. Luckily we’ve got a very good relationship with our vet Jenny and she quickly arranged a check up, suggesting a precautionary back X-ray to rule out any issues. Thankfully the check up and back X-ray come back good and Jenny just thinks he may still have a bit soreness on his hip. It was suggested that we postpone the riding and give him another 4 weeks of long reining and in hand work.
Over the 4 weeks we’ve introduced his saddle and we now do all the work in his full riding kit (which he seems comfortable with). Luckily we have a mound at home with alternate step ups. A positive I can take from all the long reining is that you really do have to look and think ahead, planning your turn ahead of time - this will hopefully help me a lot during show jumping (I have a tendency to cut corners which in turn makes the jump difficult to approach on a straight line).
We have a double appointment booked with our vet and physiotherapist together in 2 weeks time, so hopefully I’ll get the all-clear to get back on him again. As a precaution, I’ve stocked up on Air Jacket canisters from R&R Country, just in case.
There are strong indications that suggest eventing may start again in July, so I’ve been upping the training on my wife’s horse Walter, and he feels fit and ready to go. During lockdown I built some new cross country jumps at home, and with the portables we now have a course between the fields of about 15 jumps (fantastic for training)! I took Walter round them last week and he was good, he hadn’t forgotten how to jump and he went round very keen and positive. Hopefully I’ll start to introduce a few local dressage and show jumping competitions next month and fingers crossed Walter will be “eventing ready" when the season eventually starts.