A Good Steward.

There is a big, giant, yawning chasm of me that wants to take Archie out and immediately go do fun things.  Like cantering.  And jumps.  And cantering jumps.  But I rein the joy-chaser in and we continue our timed trot sets.

Here is a chart, because we love charts.  #dataisbeautiful

The darker blue diamonds depict walk-only rides.  The lighter blue squares are where I reintroduced trot work.  Prior to the walking, we were hand-walking and had gotten up to twenty minutes (and a mile!).  So I scaled back in preparation for him carrying my weight and kept the first few rides short.  I slowly brought him up to 45 minute walks, with an average increase of five minutes per walk.

It's a beautiful place for walking.
When I brought in the trot work, I also decreased the ride time to account for the increased work and we went down to 30 minutes.  I started with a lap or two around the ring in either direction a few times.  Then I introduced trot sets.

We started with four two-minute trot sets with three minutes recovery between them (8 minutes trot).  I use an app on my iPhone to make sure everything is precise:  ten minutes of walking warm up, the tabata work, and ten minutes of cool-down.  From the four sets, I went to five two-minute sets (10 minutes trot).  Then I dropped the recovery period from 3 to 2 minutes.  And, finally, before the abscess, we had worked up to four three-minute sets (12 minutes trot).

Archie was back in work for six weeks, so you can tell that I took my fucking time with it. 

You may be asking yourself:  was all this really necessary?

Yes and no.  Is Archie going to be an upper-level performer?  No.  But do I want him to be sound and comfortable and correct for as long as possible?  Yes.  What does it cost me to take my time with him?

From the fun little abscess experience, he had two weeks off.  He's been back under saddle for a week and I've officially started him back at four two-minute trot sets, but with only two minutes' recovery.  I thought about this long and hard.  I knew I couldn't start where we left off because he spent two weeks napping.  I also knew it wouldn't kill him if we did.  But I just couldn't.

The dip in the center is where I offered him some water and the spike at the end is where I tried to outrun bugs.
The plan from here:  we had been a day away from moving into four four-minute trot sets.  From there, I was going to scale back the trot work (maybe two five-minute sets?) and reintroduce canter work.  A month after cantering, I was going to introduce jumping.

Sweaty after yesterday's ride.
So now, we're going to roughly replicate the last three weeks.  I hope to have him cantering in the beginning of June and jumping by July.

The 28 minutes of walking is just an estimate, but includes the breaks between sets.  And the canter work, it gets a little weird.  I want to increase his work load and four minutes seems like an okay place to do that.  To build his trot back up to the "max" and keep his canter work steady.  And once the trot work is at max, to increase the canter.  I feel like you can do one or the other, but shouldn't do both.  At least in a horse in rehab.

Meanwhile, we'll both be dreaming of this:

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  1. :-) I love how meticulous you are with your old guy. He's a treasure (albeit sometimes a squirrely one).

  2. Apollo and I might be stealing your get in shape program... :) Sounds like a great plan!

  3. love the plan! it's so easy to rush back, but pretty much nobody ever regrets being patient and careful :)

  4. You are the best horse mom. :) <3

  5. To be honest I have minimal experience with rehab programs, but overall this sounds very conservative which is great. I like all your charts and graphs!

  6. I am very impressed! I will have to book mark this for future reference!

  7. This looks exactly like my rehab schedules in the past and I can assure you that those worked really well! You guys are on an excellent track :)

  8. I fucking love you. I love data, I love graphs. I love horses. I love your horse graphs. I am making you a present because you are so amazing.

  9. I do like a good rehab program- and I love graphs....

  10. I agree you're the best horse Mom :)

  11. This is how you properly rehab.

  12. I am impressed with how dedicated and specific you are! That would be really, really hard for me.