Trotting on

Time for a bit of a Prem update, and because it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, the update comes in a few different flavours:

  • Leg update
  • Weight update
  • Turnout update
  • Exercise update
  • Lumpy update
  • Photo update

I’ll try and be brief, but there’s a lot to report:

Leg update
The most recent ultrasound scan shows that Prem’s injured leg (torn superficial flexor tendon) has made a near-perfect recovery

Weight update
I’ve been keeping Prem’s weight slightly light, instead of keeping his weight up (and therefore putting pressure on his limbs while he was standing in 24/7). Now that things have taken a turn for the better I’m gradually bringing Prem’s weight back to where it should be

Turnout update
I started introducing Prem to turnout very gradually. He didn’t have turnout as a racehorse, and he hasn’t been out of a stable since his injury in March 2017 – 8 months ago. In October I started him on ten minutes on grass, in a 10m by 30m post and rail enclosure, seven days a week. Very gradually I brought that up to four hours a day, then moved him to a 20m by 40m turnout five hours a day. Prem is now turned out 7.30am to 5.30pm in a 2 acre paddock

Exercise update
I picked up Prem’s exercise very gradually. Ignoring the horsewalker I started walking him out in-hand, in the arena, in August (before he started on turnout), for ten minutes a day. We stayed at that level for three weeks, and then stepped up to 15 minutes a day for two weeks. And then to 20 minutes a day for two weeks, and then increasing by five minutes a fortnight until we got to 45 minutes. When we got to 45 minutes a day of walking in-hand I started sitting on. We brought the duration of sitting-on walking down to 20 minutes a day, increasing by five minutes every two weeks. After six weeks I introduced trotting for a total of 5 minutes each day. We’re now at an hour of ridden exercise a day, and ten to fifteen minutes of trot work

Lumpy update
This is a puzzle. Prem has had two outbreaks of lumps. The first outbreak saw lumps over his back, neck, and a huge haematoma on his belly. The vet put the first outbreak down to an adverse reaction to a broad-spectrum wormer. Prem was on antibiotics for a week (have you any idea how difficult it is to get two large sachets of antibiotics a day in to a fussy eater?), and the lumps cleared up. The second outbreak was six weeks later. This time the vet couldn’t put his finger on anything. He said ‘Maybe he’s just a sensitive soul’. Hmmmm… Anyway, Prem had a shot of cortisone and is currently back on antibiotics for another week

Photo update
I’ve been spending some time tidying Prem up; his tail is looking smarter, and his mane is starting to look less like he’s borrowed it from a wild zebra. With the ridden work he is now beginning to muscle up and take proper shape again. And he loves being groomed. So after all this time, and after all these changes, the ups and the downs, this is how he looks today:

Premier Grand Cru

Premier Grand Cru

Not too shabby, I hope you’ll agree?

Four legs good!

The vet came out for Prem’s second scan today.

Backstory: the injury to his near-fore Superficial Flexor Tendon occurred in March. Since then he’s been on box rest, with in-hand exercise on an increasing scale. For the last few weeks I’ve been splitting up his in-hand: half of the day’s exercise in the morning, half in the evening.

The first thing the vet commented on was that the leg looks much reduced, and had lost its ‘banana’ appearance.

The second thing the vet said, as I was towed, at great speed, down the trot-up, was that Prem is sound.

The re-scan showed major improvements in all areas.

Comparison photos and measurements showed how much Prem has improved. And it’s a lot.

The vet has said that we should continue the walking exercise, but there’s no need to stay in-hand; we can progress to being ridden in walk.

Prem's near fore being ultrasound scanned

Prem’s near fore being ultrasound scanned

Yay!

For the last two weeks I’ve been walking Prem out in-hand, but tacked up, so that when I do put a saddle on him, it isn’t going to trip his mind out.

So the next time I tack him up, I’m going to try to sit on (if Prem will let me!).

I’ve put together a bridle from Beech’s tack which fits Prem as if it had been measured for him.

When we reach 45 minutes of walk, we can introduce five minutes of trot.

And in four weeks Prem can have an hour of turnout a day.

This is all such positive news, the vet said I was to keep on doing what we’ve been doing.

So we shall.

Horsing about (a bit)

It’s been two months since Prem/Bob arrived at his new home in sunny Leicestershire, and his character is really showing through now.

From the gentle little wicker I get in the mornings, to the full-blown YES!’ of a wicker I get at tea-time, he’s proving he has a sense of occasion.

And a sense of humour.

Like when I’m skipping out and he clamps his teeth on the shavings fork and tries to carry it around the box for me.

And the way he won’t let me top up his water bucket without taking a good long pull at the water before I put it in.

And let’s also mention the way he won’t take water from the automatic drinker in the first place.

Such a character.

🙂

Prem/Bob is up to 15-minutes of in-hand walking per day.

The vet said he would rather that we didn’t use the walker, so for 15-minutes a day Prem/Bob and I walk purposefully around the arena.

After just ambling about, leaving random tracks in the equirubber/sand surface, I hit on a cunning plan to raise the boredom threshold.

We are walking almost every dressage test I’ve ever ridden (and a couple that I’ve only judged, not ridden).

We had a few sticky moments with Medium 71 the other day, but that was partly down to a young horse pratting about in a nearby paddock, and Prem’s/Bob’s natural inclination to run through the bridle (we almost didn’t stay at walk).

As well as following these patterns in walk, we are also working on our halt to walk, and walk to halt transitions.

They’re not exactly snappy yet, but at least these transitions are becoming established.

His halts are now usually square in front, but he trails his hind legs as if they were stuck on with Bluetack as an afterthought.

Bless.

Prem’s/Bob’s second leg-scan is due mid-to-late September.

I’m hoping that the Vet will say we can consider saddling up, even if we do need to keep the work at low-level, zero-impact.

In the meantime, we’re just going to keep working our way through British Dressage and British Eventing dressage tests.

An unexpected bonus of mucking Prem/Bob out twice a day is that I have shed 3/4 of a stone, and I’m nearly back at my riding competition weight.

Leg up

Prem (who may be on the cusp of being renamed ‘Bob’) had his injured leg scanned by the Vet today.

The news is that there is only slight damage to his Suspensory Ligament.

Yay!

However there is evidence of severe damage to his Superficial Flexor Tendon which, the Vet said, would seem to be about 3-4 months old.

This estimate corresponds with Prem’s/Bob’s last race, when he was pulled up due to injury.

The Vet has suggested that Prem/Bob stays on box rest, but is walked out in-hand for five minutes a day, increasing by five minutes every two weeks.

Prem/Bob will have a re-scan in three months, to determine how things are healing, by which time he should be walking, in-hand, for 30 minutes a day.

As you can tell from this photo, Prem/Bob is thrilled to bits at this prospect!

Prem

Prem

New family member!

Last Friday was a special day.

We left Nottingham and drove to Sheffield, where we transferred from my car in to a lorry.

Then we drove to:

Scotland

Scotland

Once we had reached our destination, we loaded up the lorry, said goodbye to one and all, then headed back southwards.

At our destination, we unloaded the lorry:

Prem

Prem

I’m thrilled that Prem has come to live with us.

We have a bit of a long-term project on our hands, but I hope that by this time next year, Prem and I will be off bothering various equestrian officials.

Sam was brilliant, esp given that she’s not horsey in any way.

I think she secretly loved driving the lorry!

Anyway, here he is today:

Prem

Prem