Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Rehabilitation of Storm

. I have posted all about the journeys I have taken with this horse from the first trade through the second trade when we came to the fork in the road on that which lead to the lawsuit It seems only appropriate that I continue on with his story as long as there is still story to tell so that brings us to the story of his rehabilitation.

Before the horse came home I suspected Storm would have some issues. I had seen enough at BG's facility to know that the horse was probably being worked by the kids who are at that facility and none of them had enough knowledge to be training a young horse. It was only when I first turned him out at his homecoming that I got a chance to see the true picture.

I had never seen a horse so compromised in movement that the horse was affected even when he was loose. Everything about his way of going seemed to be artificial. His legs swung underneath him more like paddles than real legs and his shoulders didn't seem to be engaged at all. There was movement from the hind end but the range of motion was not normal for a horse with the kind of natural ability this one should have. Storm's forward was definitely broken.......and broken badly.

Knowing that there were be lots of criticism of anything I had to say about how the horse was going, I took him to the Wendy Potts clinic. Wendy turns out beautiful moving hunter horses and I knew that she would easily see Storms problems. It would be good to have her backing up my statements about the issues the horse had when I got him back and it wouldn't hurt to get some additional ideas on what to do to help him.

I had only ridden Storm about a half dozen times when I took him to the clinic so it was really after the clinic when the rehabilitation of Storm really began. The sad part was the weather was not cooperating and there wasn't much riding time. I had those ideas from Wendy I wanted to put to use but stringing two days in a row when I could ride just wasn't happening. The arena was just too wet and Storm spent more time spooking at puddles than we did getting any forward. It was hard to pull him around in those little circles without finding more puddles to make Storm snort......and fight. It just wasn't working.

With the arena a mess at the park I even tried working in the yard just to work on those exercises from Wendy Potts. I had the one area in the yard that would do for them but Storm was very naughty and got pretty broncy on me. Because other horses were turned out where he could see them he was thinking with the brains between his legs instead of those in his head. There was air between me and my saddle a couple of times and I was pumping plenty of adrenaline. It was not a fun ride and we didn't seem to be accomplishing much but getting my heart rate up.

The year before when rain was an issue and the arena unusable I would take Legs and ride him on the trails in the back part of the park. After Lytha came to visit I began thinking I might just have to go back to the trails if I was going to get any riding time in. She and I had gone trail riding there with Dandy and Legs during her visit. Storm hasn't been a part of that escapade because he has never been on the trails but I was thinking maybe he should have been.

This only getting to ride half a dozen times in two months was getting pretty old. Not to mention how can you measure any progress when you can't even remember the last time you rode. Mother Nature felt no obligation to me to make Storm's rehabilitation any easier. The clock was ticking and no riding was getting done because the arena was just soup on the days it wasn't raining but the trails were holding up pretty well. If I could get the horse out on the trails I could be putting some time on him there. Even if it wasn't arena work, I figured it would be good for his brain.

Storm wasn't really taking to anything new all that well but trail riding really seemed like the way to go for Storm. I figured I would probably have to get him a buddy to travel with the first time or two but whatever it took I was going to get Storm going on the trails if it killed me, that's figuratively, of course. I wanted it to be a safe experience for both me AND the horse. I began looking for someone I trusted to help me get Storm introduced to trail riding.

To be continued..................

The First Trail Ride....

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  1. It breaks my heart what they did to him over there :( I'm glad he's on the road to recovery now.

    Anyway... at least it looks like taking him out on the trails didn't kill you :) Were you looking for another human to ride with or a horse to pony him off of?

  2. A good start! I was waiting for a follow-up on Storm & how he has progressed since he has been home.

  3. That sounds like a good plan , I find if you can keep them settled and safe trail riding can be a great way to get your horse working well, the uneven footing and terrain seems to help balance considerably

  4. Thats tough when you need to get consistant riding in and nowhere to do it. I think the trail might be a good start. It might get him moving and hopefully relaxed enough to work on moving correctly.

  5. smazourek, you're right, he hasn't killed me.......yet, anyway. I was looking for a human to ride with. While I've done ponying, I wasn't reallly comfortable enough with it to deal with him and some of his antics.

    Tammy, trail riding was a good start for him. Now if the weather would just cooperate and life would quite interferring we might actually get this done.

    fern, I think you're so right about that. There was a lot to be gained by riding him in this manner.

    Crystal, it turned out to be a good plan but he sure needs lots more of it. Hopefully the weather will begin cooperating and the park will be reopened. It's been closed down due to the virus stuff.

  6. It's a shame what inexperienced people can do to a horse. Poor Storm, he must be so confused.

    I'm thinking trail riding might get his mind a little more relaxed and accepting of the new exercises you want to do from the clinic when the weather clears. Good luck with Storm's rehabilitation.

  7. I can certainly relate to Mother Nature not letting you get in any consistent training time. I did a lot of studying before training Gabbrielle myself, but now I'm thinking of sending her off to a pro, not just because my plans to train her have been thwarted for a third year in the row (1st 2 years to horse injuries while turned out in the paddock and this year to my mother's death), but because I know I don't know enough about teaching her how to carry herself correctly. I saw a horse clinic on TV in which Dennis Reis said that horses being heavy on the forehand can cause lameness, and I know she already has lameness issues. I don't think I've ridden her enough to damage her or form bad habits yet, but the potential is there. My other horses were trained by pros, and they just taught me the cues to keep the horse collected after the horse already understood the cues. I'm looking forward to your stories about trail riding Storm.

  8. It is amazing that how they learn to move under saddle carries over to how they move when loose.

    Since working Kat in long lines and now with the cart- lunging him is much different movement. Added freedom in his shoulders, rear end under him, driving from behind...

    Sad that Storm's movement was squashed like that, but at least it is repairable! I hear you on timing and getting workouts in. Kat and I are lucky to get in a workout here and there during the week, then two on the weekend. Anywhere from 1-4 a week at best. Not so much a case of weather permitting- it's time and life that keeps running interference. Where is the referee or umpire to call foul?!?!

  9. Poor, poor Storm. This makes me so sad and angry :(