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Sunday, 1 July 2018

June Round Up

In one moment I think for the first time ever it’s felt like a long break in between writing my monthly round up... But in another Louie’s rehab seems to be passing much quicker than I anticipated. When the vets said 6-8 weeks before any sort of work can be re-introduced, it seemed a lifetime ago, yet here we are, having just passed the SIX WEEK marker!

I was a bit glum at the start of June, coming to actually realising that we weren’t going to make the Area Festivals that we’d qualified for, as well as having to pull out of a series of other BD and local competitions that we’d put on the calendar...

Instead of sitting around moping about the situation, I took the opportunity to going on an Access All Areas course with British Eventing taking place at Belsay horse trials; my favourite local event! I actually stumbled across the email advertising it during my Friday lunchtime and thought to give it a go last minutes. Texting the organiser, Ruth, I never expected there to be any spaces left, but I was delighted to discover there was.

The next afternoon, I skipped along to Belsay, slightly shy and nervous, to meet our guide and the other lovely ladies taking part. The course was much more than I expected, hearing first hand about literally every angle about what it takes to put on an event like this. From the passion and determination of the organiser, to hearing from long standing fence judges, to hearing the rider’s perspective, right through to walking the course with the designer. Take a read as we went Access All Areas...

Louie was starting to get a little frustrated walking in hand, and although I cannot in any way fault his behaviour, he was starting to get a little playful as horses passed the arena going to the field. Following a conversation with the vet, we debated at length about the risks to walking in hand & lack of control this brings weighed up against the weight of a rider but being much more in control of Louie. The latter seemed the more sensible option, but not everyday, and we agreed to still walk in hand on a morning, but on an evening, we could hop back onboard for up to 20 minutes walk in nothing smaller than a 20m circle...

I’m not sure what was more brain numbing boring... BUT it felt fab to be back in the saddle.

I was, as expected, nervous the first few times that I climbed onboard. Not for Louie’s behaviour, but because I was terrified his fracture would snap through under the weight of the rider. After a couple of times, I felt much more relaxed, and began asking for more contact, and to introduce walk-halt-walk transitions. After a couple of weeks, we were including leg yielding, shoulder in and walk pirouettes, as well as a couple of walk poles.

FINALLY...something to keep us occupied.

So here we were, mid June & four weeks into rehab, but a horse and definitely a rider that became bored of walking about quicker than you can blink.

Thankfully, after a reassessment, the vet was happy for Louie to begin being turned out in a small paddock for a few hours a day. We also concluded that in fact the humerus  needed a strong muscle density around it in order to support it - something which being stablebound was not helping. Again, weighing up the pros, cons and risks...

Initial reaction = hooray!!!
Secondary reaction = OMG! How will that fracture cope on such hard ground!?

I have to hand it to the yard I’m now stabled at, they were beyond supportive, doing some very creative juggling to give Louie the flattest paddock with the quietest companion. They were also on hand to turn him out every morning at 6.30/7am and bringing him back in 9.30/10am.

(Thank you to Anne & Ian, and all the accommodating liveries for all of their support with this!!!)

We agreed that we would start on the weekend, mostly so I could be there to make sure Louie was OK.

Louie can be a total drama queen about somethings, but one thing he is fairly sensible about, is turn out. So I wasn’t too worried, especially as I knew the little piglet would be more interested in the grass.

Here it is...

A post shared by Sophie Tunnah (@sophietunnah) on

OK, so he was clearly a happy boy, but if that’s the reaction after four weeks without ANY interaction with any other horse (all his neighbours live out!), then I’ll 100% take it!! And it was SO lovely to see him so happy ❤️

A few days later, it was time for a vet check, signalling the five week marker. I was away with work so it was Andrew’s turn to walk him out for the vets, and what followed was a very pleasing report from the way he is using the leg and that he clearly is in no discomfort, even after a couple of weeks with a rider and some turnout. Even better...a week later, we could start introducing low levels of trot work into our activity, starting at a few minutes and building it up.

Right on the six week mark, we did a few strides of trot!!! I felt all the nerves that I had when I’d got back on a walk - all of the what ifs can flooding in my mind. But I needn’t have worried, everything went to plan well, with Louie slightly perplexed as to me asking him to trot!!!

So we’re heading into July very happy, and are hoping to even make 20-30 minutes of a mid-July session with Cathy. Fingers crossed!

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