Red and I have been working diligently on his rehab plan. We've ridden every single day for over three weeks, starting with walk work, then adding 5 minutes of trot, having to backtrack to two minutes of trot after a day of walk work, and then working our way up to 5 minutes of trot again, doing that for a week, then taking a day of walk work, and now adding a minute of trot two days in a row - 6 minutes of trotting! That may not seem like a lot, but it's enormous. First we do 10 minutes of vigorous walk work. Then we trot - Red starts out at the trot a bit stiff - the leg is usually still a bit stocked up - but after a few minutes he loosens up and the trot is wonderful. We trot 2 1/2 minutes in each direction - in our tiny indoor, that's about 5 laps, take a walk break, then do 5 laps in the other direction, another walk break, and then one more minute of trotting - one lap in each direction with a change across the center. Then 10 more minutes of walking.
After riding, I ice his leg for 20 minutes with the ice boot, which he now tolerates well. After riding and icing, the leg looks significantly less swollen than it does during the day - I expect the circulation of fluids is a bit impaired from the surgery so things back up.
This week, we'll gradually creep up on 10 minutes of trot work. Once we're there, we'll do a week of that. If all goes well at that point, we can start to do more. That should take us another two to three weeks. Once we're there, we can think about introducing herd turnout - he's still in a pen with Pie as a "babysitter". Very slowly, one step at a time . . .
One thing I was remarking on while I groomed and rode Red was how completely balanced and symmetrical he is. He stands absolutely square, and when riding his hind feet track up exactly over his fronts. His body is loose and swinging - he practically sashays. What an absolute delight he is to ride, even with our limited work program.
Pie's neck and shoulder have gotten extremely sore again, after being a bit better for a few days - he was threatening to bite my head off when I went in his stall today. I didn't groom - that would have hurt him - and didn't ride, but did some light massage, which he tolerated, except for his left shoulder, which he wouldn't let me touch - he made faces and started pawing as soon as I put a hand on his shoulder. My vet/chiro is looking at him tomorrow - there may be some underlying problem. He's sound, and his feet are fine. We've ruled out Lyme, and the next thing to check is EPM - Pie has a history of atypical EPM symptoms. Poor fellow, I'm sorry he hurts, and we'll see if we can put things right for him.
Dawn has a mild strain of her medial right hind suspensory ligament - so slight that there's no obvious swelling, but it is sensitive to palpation. So our last several rides have been 20 minutes at the walk. She has her dental surgery Wednesday, and we won't be riding for a while after that.