• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

When to add circles etc to work of rehabbing horse?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • When to add circles etc to work of rehabbing horse?

    I am (thankfully) back riding a gelding that was off for 1.5 years. His injury was never diagnosed..three different vets, three different opinons. However, it was narrowed down to right fore-quarter based on diagnostics. Whatever it was, it was definitely not below the shoulder.

    So...has been under tack for two months now, mostly walked for first month and I am at the end of the second month, we are trotting straight lines, doing some lateral work at the walk (leg yielding, shoulder fore, shoulder in). A lot of walk/halt transitions, some walk/trot transitions. No canter or circles yet.

    Some in hand work including backing up, leg yielding in hand. Each work session is finished with some stretching work and tummy tuck, pelvic tilt sort of exercises.

    So far so good, horse occasionally felt a bit "off" (only to my feel...no one else could see it) at the start but he worked out of it. The degree to which he feels "off" is gradually diminishing, last ride I felt nothing at the start at all.

    Does it seem appropriate to start introducing some large circles at this point? What about canter?

    Sorry for the long winded preface...thought it best to give more info than less.

  • #2
    How much trotting are you doing? With a horse off this long, and especially with an undiagnosed injury, I would avoid doing dressage until the horse has a base of being able to do an hour hack with approx 3 ten minute trots comfortably (with 3 minute walks between them) out in the country on slightly rolling terrain. That gets the bones/tendons/ligaments strong and makes going on to any further training much safer IMO. When they are at that point, you can safely add anything you want, as long as you do so gradually.

    Good luck!


    • Original Poster

      In one 40- 45 minute ride I probably do about 5 - 7 minutes of trotting. I recently started going all the way around the arena (well, I guess the circle question might be moot since I have already been doing half circles..), as opposed to transitioning to a walk before the corner.

      Hacking out on rolling terrain...sigh...how I would love to be able to do that. I lose daylight by 5:00 p.m (I'm not even home by then) so that leaves weekends for outdoor riding and we will be under snow by next week. I could hack out on the gravel roads on weekends for a few more weeks until the windchill becomes unbearable but then I'll be back in the arena full time.

      Bringing a horse back from an extended lay off in an indoor arena...not ideal I know but I think I might be stuck with it....

      Maybe I can convince my family we need to go south for the winter so I can properly recondition my horse


      • #4
        I've been asking myself the same question recently. This is the most difficult part of rehabbing to me.

        At the risk of waking up hubris or karma or whoever it is who has been responsible for my REALLY FUN year (not just this horse...) I'll tell you my story to date:

        My horse had a "mild" suspensory strain back in February. Got the all-clear via Ultrasound to go back to real work at the start of June. He had the odd bobble, but I was told to expect this as the scar tissue broke down. 99% of the time he felt great.

        1st of August, he was dead lame again. Literally, sound to lame overnight--someone decided it was time he got turned out again, swore to me that he just hung out and ate grass. Hmmm...) Same leg, same deal. So I took him home, laid him off completely (stall rest until sound in hand--all of 10 days, then small paddock, handwalking,) for 6 weeks, then started riding him--rolling hills, etc., at a walk and an easy trot on hard surfaces for another 6 weeks. He was solidly sound, no bobbles at all at this point. Better than he had been back in June.

        For the last month we have been adding in the sand arena. Firm, damp footing, not too deep. Walking only for a few days to start with, then trotting in straight lines, and we've just graduated to big circles and big corners in the past week. We've also started cantering about 6 of the straightaways per session. No lateral work at all at this point. There will be none until the New Year.

        He's stayed solidly, no bobbles at all, sound through all of this, so far, so I think I'm on the right track. We also walk for at least 10 minutes on asphalt during each session.

        My feeling is with the benefit of heinsight is that I shouldn't have pushed it at all back in the summer when I was feeling the odd bobble. Even though other people who supposedly knew better than me were telling me that he was fine. I think I was actually very lucky that he tweaked it again just to the point that he did rather than this ending up being a career ending issue.

        So I guess this is my long-winded way of saying if you've got even the remotest question in your mind, back off from pushing it any harder.

        Boring as batshit. Really, I know.


        • #5
          After a month of walking u/s, up to 40 minutes, we added trot five minutes at a time per week until we were trotting for 20 minutes. That should have taken a month but actually took three months (see blog). No circles no lateral work. Then we started to add the canter, again five additional minutes per week, until we built to 20 minutes of that. So now we were walking 20 min, trotting 20 min, and cantering 20 minutes. Still no circles or lateral work. At the end of the month of trot we were released to start normal flat work. I started with circles and gradually built to leg yields, shoulder-in, counter canter, etc. At the end of that month, we were cleared to jump. The vet told me to stop riding and call her immediately at any point when we felt any lameness.
          The Evil Chem Prof


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mozart View Post
            I am (thankfully) back riding a gelding that was off for 1.5 years. His injury was never diagnosed..three different vets, three different opinons. However, it was narrowed down to right fore-quarter based on diagnostics. Whatever it was, it was definitely not below the shoulder.

            So...has been under tack for two months now, mostly walked for first month and I am at the end of the second month, we are trotting straight lines, doing some lateral work at the walk (leg yielding, shoulder fore, shoulder in). A lot of walk/halt transitions, some walk/trot transitions. No canter or circles yet.

            Some in hand work including backing up, leg yielding in hand. Each work session is finished with some stretching work and tummy tuck, pelvic tilt sort of exercises.

            So far so good, horse occasionally felt a bit "off" (only to my feel...no one else could see it) at the start but he worked out of it. The degree to which he feels "off" is gradually diminishing, last ride I felt nothing at the start at all.

            Does it seem appropriate to start introducing some large circles at this point? What about canter?

            Sorry for the long winded preface...thought it best to give more info than less.
            to much to soon if the horse is off and you feel it stop working
            to the trianed eye a horse can be seen as unsound to everyone else hes not
            time for new rad with a vet and a farrier to re acess the case
            an when ones re habbing a injury to do with legs one doesnt start with riding
            but more with in hand work over serveral months start with in hand on shart walks then moving up to ground poles so the leg is built from the foot upwards

            i have done serveral cases of rehabbing and have a programme which i devised myself which is aprroved via vets for certain injuries

            so one whould have to run it past the vets 1st for approval ie equine vets

            the 2nd part is one would do circles yet as this would add extra strain and stress on damaged mussles and tissue
            the object of any exercise must be in conjuntion with the injury,
            as its to do with legs then you gotta build the mussles up slowly from the foot upwards so that the good mussles and tissues build up to support the damage ones

            as we dont know what type of injury it is - it cant take a long time
            for exsample any tendon or ligamen injury can take up to 2yrs before the horse is deemed fit for work and in that process it takes time on each stage

            for exsampel you have had the horse for 2months in work
            weight of you plus your tack is added weight on a horse with an injury

            has no one told you that when you work in hand - its a naked horse 1st working the horse through aplanned exercise programme from walk to trot
            over serveral months
            then you add the tack as a bit of weight, then you work the horse through the starting at the very beinging as you did when horse was naked
            then working to the planned programme from walk to trot
            then next stage you add you and start it all over agian
            the next stage is to work the horse in baisc flat work of walk and trot
            then the next is to continue with added movements of canter counter canter and going large as in large
            then continie to add the large and then smaller 20mtr circles
            then add the rest - once the horse can cope with all of the work
            then he would and might be deemed fit enough to conitinue with his carreer at each stage you have a reaccessment with a vet and a farrier

            what your doing is to much to soon so the horse is off as you feel it becuase the horse isnt ready yet for all this extra movements
            dont rush it - injuries take time to heal and patience is a verture


            • #7
              When the vet says it's ok, I personally would probably add canter before I would add circles. There's just a lot of repetitive motion stress that happens on a circle.

              So, I would add canter on the straight lines, just one each way, trot before the corner, and then build from there. You need the canter to build the wind. If the horse is having trouble getting one lead or being disunted then I would slow down and revisit the physical issues.


              • #8
                I have heard mixed opinions on the subject and it really depends on the injury, which in your case was never diagnozed
                My horse has been off for almost 2 years with front foot lameness. MRI revealed chronic lesion in DDFT. I gave him a year off, did another MRI this summer. He now had lesions in both front feet (he has some weird anomaly in his feet, which makes him prone to tendon injuries) and he now had adhesions between navicular bursa and tendon sheath.
                So, we did surgeries to clean it all up in July. He had 60 days of stall rest and handwalking and began rehab program on Sept 1st. They started his rehab at the clinic, and I brought him home on October 1st. At the clinic they had him handwalked for 5 mins twice a day, gradually increasing walking time to 20 mins in a day and started him troting.
                Now comes the interesting part- they had him trot on a longe line in circles, and actually recommended doing the same at home. I expressed a concern that circles would be stressful for tendons, but they told me with his OLD CHRONIC injuries it did not really matter.
                He was immediately cleared for under the saddle work, and we started with 20 min of handwalking every morning, and then 20mins of walk under the saddle, with 6 mins of trot on straight lines, increasing trotting time by 2 mins after every 6 rides. So, now we are at 16 mins of trot, and canter is happening on Dec 20th We do circles, but only after he is really warmed up and working. We also do a lot of lateral work but in short intervals.
                Vets at the clinic and our home vet told me to KEEP going if he looks off. For us its inevitable process as his adhesions need to break down, and as they do, he will be off. My instructions said to call the vet if he is off and has not been getting better after a full week.
                Now that I am reading all the suggestions, maybe I should back off with circles and wait with canter


                • #9
                  I have been rehabbing my horse for almost a year. Granted its a completely different lameness issue (torn DDFT on left fore, lesion inside hoof wall *headdesk*), but this is what I did.

                  Injured in October 2008 - jumping accident, hand walk and tack-walk, until the injury was diagnosed in February 2009 using an MRI.

                  From February - June he was in paddock turnout only, increasing to Aqua-Thread work. I was hoping to get him sound enough to do dressage - vet said that should not be a problem.

                  In June I brought him to a private barn where I could ride him in a ring with trail access. Vet recommended trail-riding only for the first couple months, to keep the resistance that sand provides down and the path as straight as possible. I didn't start trotting until late July. And once I started trotting, it was only for 5 minute intervals, adding a couple minutes every few days on a straight line. At the end of August I started doing some light long-lining at the walk and then the trot, horse was becoming holy-living-terror on the trails and I needed to work him down a bit before I got on. This was fine for a while, he was a sound as could be.

                  Come Octber 2009 I had just started cantering in a straight line, while keeping all trot work and lateral work to a minimum. I did large circles at a walk, and had only done about three at a trot to date. The temperature dropped one day and he had a freakout - which rendered a new injury, so he is now out for the winter in pasture, because I honestly don't think I could deal with his winter personality, bucking and rearing with no covered arena, and having to do most of the rehab on trails - which are not always open in the winter. (Don't be discouraged - my horse is a special horse - he is Murphy's Law Horse).

                  So, that all being said. I agree with a poster above - I would start cantering straight lines before you do any circle work - or keep the circles at a walk for now. Be patient - even after this long rehabbing it took one freaking windy day to send my horse sky high and he tweaked the other leg. I know how you feel - wanting to do stuff - and I would fathom a guess that your horse probably WANTS to do more like my horse. But, I would recommend taking it easy, especially if you are working primarily in a ring. What does your vet say? The only time I resorted to circle work (on a line(s)) while I was rehabbing was because horse was too high to safetly go out on the trails.

                  So, bottom line, whatever your vet recommends what is the correct path for your horse with his injury/lameness, and judgement if vet did not give specific instructions. Also, based on what you said about him feeling off - I would count that as a red flag - have you watched him jog out? I only found my guys second injury by practically forcing it out of him on a small circle - I know that me personally can see if my horse isn't tracking up by a half inch - others who do not know him as well would say he looks sound.

                  Hope your guy has a good recovery!

                  Equus_Girl and I have had very similar issues with our rehabbing horses, I am thrilled Jax is on the road to recovery! I wish Creggan would stop messing around and get serious about life... oh well, I can rest easy knowing he is happy being a horse/mashmallow in the pasture for the next few months - hoping it will work wonders.
                  Coruscant Stables


                  • Original Poster

                    Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. As you can imagine, my horse's lameness has been a frustrating experience. One thing is certain, we are not talking about a forelimb injury. He twice had nerve blocks from the point of shoulder down; he did not block out sound. So, two out of three vets said it was right forequarter. Vet #1 initially thought shoulder muscle (but no "ouch" response anywhere on palpation). No result on flexions.

                    Vet #2 thought it was an SI injury and everything began with uneven hoof angles (which has now been resolved; different farrier). Vet #2 did shock wave therapy and advocated a return to work (this was early summer of 08..did not see improvement).

                    Vet #3 thought it was nerve damage to the shoulder (not sweeney, different nerve, sub scapular he thought) and the only remedy was time. He also thought it might be hairline fracture, diagnosis of which would require nuclear scintigraphy for which I would have to travel 14 hours).He also suggested six weeks stall rest which was done in the summer of 08, horse even lamer after stall rest.

                    Vet #1 re-evaluated horse a couple of times, thought maybe neck was involved, maybe arthritis in neck. No radiographs are possible here; I would have to travel at least 14 hours for further diagnostics. Regardless, Vet #1 and Vet #3 said turn out for 6 months to a year and wait and see.

                    Vet #1 re-evaluated him in mid-summer of 09 and said "This is not a lame horse". So I did begin in hand work in summer and then some work at liberty. I started sitting on him in a tiny bit in August, took until mid November to introduce trot in the indoor arena (did trot a wee bit outside, long sides of ring, in September).

                    What I have noticed is that the more he works, the better he feels . My thinking on the lateral work at the walk is that it would stretch and strengthen the shoulder and hindquarters?

                    My preference would be to do as lstevenson suggests, but that is not my reality unfortunately. Nor is more diagnostics (or frankly, getting more vet assistance....my vets have pretty much shrugged their shoulders and I am on my own).

                    Interesting to hear other peoples stories (and to know others struggle with this too!) Thank you.


                    • #11
                      With what you've said, if he were mine, I'd just sensibly fit him up and ride him and see where that took us.

                      Good luck.


                      • #12
                        Well if he is better with work, then I would progress in work. I know my horse gets worse regardless of his past lamenesses with stall rest (hence why his last major lameness was not stall rest, but a stall with a paddock so he could move around without going bonkers in there) because he overcompensates with the other side to protect ouchie limb. In fact he quite often first comes up lame in the wrong leg because of this.

                        Good luck!
                        Coruscant Stables