It’s not really the best thing to see at the bottom of your discharge paperwork – “keep Indy as quiet as possible before the surgery.” He’s 8 months old, how the heck am I going to manage that??
Thankfully the vet did say he could continue going out with his friend. Yes, they will run around and play, but the main thing is to keep him from doing excessive things. We don’t want him to do more damage to his hocks. This meant no tearing around loose in the indoor and no long walks or jogs. Thankfully the weather does prohibit a lot of physical activity anyway!
So how to keep him in “training” so to speak? How do I keep him stimulated and behaving? Well, we can still train and keep him mentally satisfied at least. We can still go for walks in the indoor and around our track. Here we can practice halting, turning (though not too tight!) and general leading. He does like to watch the other horses being ridden and worked and is generally very well behaved when they go by.
I asked a friend at the barn, who also works at the clinic, what I could do to better prepare Indy for his big day. She was thrilled that I asked and said he is sure to be the best behaved baby they’ve had. She said please teach him to clip, especially around his hocks and hind legs. She also suggested I get him used to wraps on his hind legs, as he of course will be wrapped afterwards. She also thanked me in advance for making their lives simpler!
Clipping, as you know, we’ve already been doing. We still have refresher courses about twice per week. He’s been super about it and very relaxed. I actually even gave him a little bridle/halter path. I made sure to focus on his hocks and entire hind leg. He took it extremely well; even resting a hind leg while I ran the running clippers up and down.
I then grabbed a pair of polo wraps and brought him in his stall. I was alone in the barn and did not want to put him on crossties for his first wrapping experience. He was enjoying his hay when I knelt down next to him and rubbed the polo on his leg. He is used to me squatting down next to him as I have done since his birth.
I then wrapped his leg, from fetlock to hock. I got to the end of the polo before I remembered the large piece of Velcro at the end. I prepared myself, which turned out to be unnecessary. He didn’t flinch, just continued eating his hay. I forgot how much Velcro he has been around; his fly mask, his first blanket, Shady’s things, etc.
Now to be in a safe spot for the hopping around……
There was no hopping around. He picked up the wrapped leg three times, picking it up high towards his belly, putting it down, then picking it up again. That was it. He kept eating the entire time.
I then wrapped the second leg, going over the hock this time and halfway up his gaskin. No reaction this time either. I brought him out of his stall and into the aisle. He didn’t even do the usual “chicken walk” most horses do.
We headed to the indoor, where some of my friends were. They said something must be wrong with him to be behaving better than old horses. We walked and did a little trotting, he was great. We headed back to his stall where I easily removed the polos and told him what a good boy he is.
We will continue with the wrapping, adding standing wraps, and the clipping review just to keep him fresh. This will only help keep his stress levels low while at the clinic.