Pole Time!

Scarlet has been doing really well recently. We’ve been able to consistently do our walks with minimal hind end disconnect. He seems to have more of his autonomous nervous system back. He is also depending on it more. Which works until it doesn’t. But mostly it is working.

I decided to time our walk this week. I hadn’t ever been timing them. I’d been gauging them on distance walked so we didn’t just arbitrarily walk around until I felt like he was done. But timing showed me that we’ve been walking more than I thought for a while.


So yeah, we’ve been doing this particular walk for somewhere on two week. True, he’s gotten better at moving and it has become easier for him as we go along. But we’ve been doing it without issue. I guess he is better than I had thought!

After walking through the arena each day, on Friday I felt like he would be able to do the poles. If he had been super bad on the first walk over, I wouldn’t have asked him to do more. And it was difficult for him to lift his hind for sure. But he did well.

One of the major things I notice with his hind end is that he is short strided and stabby. I’d like to encourage him to lift his legs in a more normal manner. Given how difficult this was, I imagine we are going to plateau at this exercise level for a while. That is okay. He can take whatever time he needs to recover. It’s much easier to say that when I feel like we are on an improving track. I miss riding him like I miss breathing. It’s hard to not do that. But I feel hopeful that we will be able to ride together again. So I will let the rehab go at the pace that is needed. We will get there.

Better And Weirder

I managed to squeeze in a brisk walk Wednesday morning before I had to leave town for a work trip so I only spent the time fretting about Scarlet getting two days off from his exercises rather than three. I was pleasantly surprised to find that he was stiff but not bad when I came back. In fact, he wasn’t even as bad as he was on New Years day. This was very cheering and I was happy that we were able to stay mostly on track with my hoped for gradual level up for him.

I’d also been able to talk with my vet about how to treat him going forward. She suggested one final weekly treatment and then I can go out to anywhere from one to three months based on how he is doing. She suggested keeping this going for a whole year.

Once every three months is really doable. I talked with my husband and he is conditionally on board. He wants to revisit every time scheduling comes up. Which is totally reasonable. We don’t know where Scarlet will be physically in three months and we don’t know where we will be financially in three months. So he is getting one more asap and then the tentative plan is to go to three months-ish and reconsider then.

As for walking, Scarlet has been doing pretty well. The rain is staying away so we’ve been able to walk for weeks consistently. It’s been really great. I can tell that his autonomous nervous system is coming back more and more. It’s hard to see day by day but I can see it from the way he walks. We’ve got some great moments when he is focused on me and walking. And then he gets distracted and tries to depend solely upon his autonomous nerves. And that doesn’t go well. His hind end gets very disconnected and swings around wildly. I really do need his attention when we are walking but I can’t always get it. But he can recover fairly well so I mostly ask him to halt and then he figures it out.

He also has a bit of interference happening in his hind end with his pasterns rubbing against each other. L. offered to let me see if a pair of hind boots she has fit him so I’m going to try those soon.


Sunday I had hoped to try walking him a bit in the arena. I wanted to increase his walks by distance but I’ve been thinking that the pole work should be starting soon as his hind end is still really stabby. I want to encourage him to lift his hind. So I planned to have him to a large circle in the arena and we will continue until we can do a full lap.

Soft footing is harder on him while walking. He seems to lose control of his hind end quicker. He is pretty weak in his hocks and twists while walking. He was having a bit of those issues early 2019 and I’d been backing him to help improve his hind strength but he lost all of it due to the time off and the neurological issues. Its just something that will have to improve with time. But stepping over poles is a more intense exercise than just shuffling along while walking. I didn’t want to have poles plus soft footing at the same time.

He felt like he was having a few more off moments on Sunday than I’d like for changing the exercise. I decided to play it safe and give him another day before walking him in the arena. We did head to an arena with a gate so I could let him roll. The last couple of times he’s rolled, he hasn’t bothered to walk much more than the necessary feet to get away from the fence before rolling. Sunday, he decided that he needed to circle the entire arena to find the perfect place. It gives me a heart attack to see his hind wiggle like it does when he tries to lay down right now but he is fully loose so I have to let him figure out his balance on his own. He really did enjoy the roll. He feels so good when he gets up that hes tried to run off from standing up several times. Its very awkward looking as he doesn’t move well enough for that yet.

He’s doing well now and I’m super happy with that. I have plans going forward. I have a treatment plan with my vet. It even looks like we are going to have a decent amount of dry still in the future. We are going to be able to build up more muscle. My hope is to get some pole walking by the end of the week but we will see how that goes. No pushing him if he isn’t ready.

New Year, Same Update

Coming into 2020 without having the ability to ride my horse is a bit weird. I don’t even know for sure that we will ever get back to there. But I still have him and I definitely am not going to lose him.

Our days are basically the same each day. We’ve had all three acupuncture and equipulse treatments that my vet suggested trying at first. Not exactly cheap at $212 a pop but they surprised me with their effectiveness. The first treatment had amazing results. His tail moved, he had even steps, we could walk farther. After the second treatment, he seemed to have done something to tweak his leg in the stall. I think he got too enthusiastic while rolling.

The third treatment was last Friday. I had walked him on Friday morning and then walked him Saturday mid-day.  Saturday he seemed really really off. He interfered/stumbled with his back end. He was also breathing hard when we had only walked for less than five minutes. I put him back in his stall rather than going longer and proceeded to freak out. I managed to talk myself into chilling and waiting to see if its just a bad day or a regression.

Sunday I went out and he was much better. He was a tiny bit stiff when we started but walked out really easily. We did a full ten minutes and he was able to move himself through his hind end exercises rather than me doing them myself. We also rolled in the arena. I walked him far enough into the arena that I wasn’t concerned about him getting too close to the fence while searching for a spot to roll. I let him go and hadn’t even finished latching the gate before I heard a grunt and saw him already down rolling. He wasted no time. After he got up, he farted off and cantered then trotted a few steps toward me. So safe to say, he felt pretty good on Sunday.

I went out this morning and he was still feeling better. So I’m a bit more relaxed about Saturday just being a bad day. He moved out very well and was happy to walk for the whole ten minutes. He did well during the stretching exercises except for getting spooked and having an in place shying moment. I’m just glad he did it in place because he would have stomped on my foot otherwise.

He wasn’t really breathing hard when we were done. I do think he felt a bit more tired as he had a very relaxed posture to him. I want to extend the amount of time we are walking but I will have to wait until this weekend. I have to go out of town Wed-Fri for work. I don’t want to increase the time and have him be sore and not out of his stall for three days.

I’ve got lots of plans for how I want to increase his walking. I’m taking it very easy and erroring on the side of caution if he seems any sort of too tired. But I do want to do things that will help encourage him to lift and put down his hind feet better. He is still taking short, stabby steps there, obviously. I need to add a bit of arena walking in before we try to do poles. I’ve only been walking him on the harder ground as his hocks are very weak seeming. He tends to interfere more when we have to walk over any softer ground. I think it twists more under his hind. We are working on getting him stronger. It will take time. But I’m making sure that any increases are very small so that he can build up and not cause himself any more issues.

I do also need to have a conversation with my vet sometime soon. I want to talk to her about what we can do now for treatment. I cannot keep up the weekly treatments. Its too expensive. But I do believe that they help. So I don’t really want to drop them completely. We will see what she says.

Hopefully, we’ve gotten to a place now where all Scarlet needs is time and slow exercise to get back to full health.