In my quick drive-by reader's digest post of what's happened in the last three months, I mentioned that Paddy is recovering from a soft tissue injury. I'm pretty sure it happened during a ride where he INSISTED he wanted to trot at mach one-Haffie for about 45 minutes... we were out in a field, of course, not in an arena, but we blasted around and the next day he was head-bobbing lame at the trot. Several hundred dollars' worth of flexions, blockings, and xrays later, and the diagnosis was a soft tissue injury in the back of the foot on his right front. Mr. Paddy-pants got a month of stall rest and small-area turnout, followed by a month of unlimited tack-walking (in straight lines, on the road), followed by a month of trotting (in straight lines, on the road), starting with 5 minutes and adding 5 more minutes each week, till we were up to 20 minutes.
On the road again... I just can't wait to get off this damn road again....
This month, the vet wants us to start adding gentle corners and big circles - which we obviously cannot do on the road. And she recommended that we use an actual arena* with actual flat footing, instead of our usual riding areas which do not have any improved footing.
*Yes, we plan to build an actual arena. We just don't have one yet, dammit.
I considered hauling out a few times per week and paying to use an arena, but the nearest one is a 30 minute haul and there's a $10-20 arena fee per use. Add in the cost of diesel, and it's not a cheap endeavor. So I looked at boarding. Um, when did board become $600+/mo with 3 hours of turnout/day? I should seriously charge myself more, lol! And then Lauren over at She Moved to Texas was all, "Come board where I'm at!!!" Turns out, they had an individual pasture board spot available for about half as much as most places charge for stall board! There's a decent sand arena and a nice grass arena as well, plus the place is huge and you can "trail ride" up and down the paddock rows. Lauren also offered to help ride Paddy if I can't get out there as much as I'd like (still gotta take care of the boys at home, lol). Of course, it's a H/J barn and I'm the only person there riding in a dressage saddle, but whatever. Paddy's cute and makes up for all my faults. ;)
I took him out on Wednesday, and Simon was there to greet us.
Herro BFF PADDY!!!!
I rode him right after we got there. He was a bit looky (not surprising) and very forward but happy to walk on a long rein and look around. We did a total of 8 minutes of trotting in 2 minute sets, with lots of walking in between. He was hot and sweaty after that, even though at home we're up to 20 minutes of trot - working in any kind of footing is harder than working on the road, lol! But the best part is...
HE'S SOUND!!!!! Totally sound and happy to work. HOORAYYY!
And also he's totally rockin' the tousled beach-boy look. We just need to add some water to the sandbox and he could do the blonde surfer dude thing.
I was a bit worried we might have overdone it, but Lauren rode him the next day and reported that he was 100% sound and er, very forward. That's my boy!
I'm hoping that things will continue in this vein and we'll be able to do 2-4 weeks of trot with corners and big circles, and then the vet will give us leave to canter. Fingers crossed! In the meantime, Paddy is already building his fan club at the barn, lol!