Dude 1 Year Later!
So it was around a year ago this time, where my 17.2hh grey thoroughbred Dude, inflamed one of his hind suspensory ligaments. He needed 3 months box rest and then 3 months field rest. This all went very well and his ligament healed perfectly. Sadly, at the end of his field rest, we were not in a position to bring him back into work as it was winter and at that point I had no where to keep him. Luckily our amazing friend who had been looking after him during his recovery, offered us a field that we could turn Dude away into. My other horse Jet had also finished the eventing season so had earned a well deserved rest. They both went out in the huge field together for a few months off, just being horses.
I brought them both back to our yard and started to bring them back into work on the 23rd March. I knew with Dude, we had a long way to go before I could ride him. The first 3 weeks I spent solely on the ground with him. This included lunging, leading him over poles and also trotting him in hand along our concrete drive to strengthen up his tendons using pole work. All these exercises were essential in strengthening him up and preparing him for ridden work again.
Finally, after around 4 weeks of training and hard work on the ground I got back on Dude for the first time in a whole year! It was such an amazing feeling but he felt so much stronger and better than ever. Luckily for me he was also a complete angel and acted as if he’d never had a break at all.
I have been slowly building up his muscle and fitness using lots of different exercises including raised pole work, and lots of hacking! As Dude isn’t the biggest fan in the arena, I like to trick his brain by schooling out on hacks sometimes, but most of the time, hacks are a fun break from schooling.
On Saturday 20th May, Dude had his first competition and BE90 since his time off. He felt very ready and prepared. His flatwork has come on leaps and bounds, he is so much stronger and has put on so much muscle! I had also been jumping for about 3 weeks, and he was showing some lovely jumps. Sadly, the day didn’t go quite to plan as the stress and excitement of being back out competing got to Dude a bit! He did an alright test, with a few extra moves he thought he’d add in to spice it up a bit, such as a little buck into canter. Show jumping was much more exciting and Dude was very distracted throughout the whole round which resulted in a few poles. The cross country started very confidently and Dude was jumping so well but we finished with a baby stop and a few penalties for circling as we had to get ourselves together a little bit! I was very impressed with his attitude throughout the whole day, and I really feel his has matured a lot during his time off. Hopefully with a bit more focus on show jumping and some extra training sessions, we will be right on track to some double clears!
I will be keeping everyone updated with his progress on my Instagram, @mstouteventing. Stay tuned as I am very excited about Dude’s future and hopefully all our hard work will pay off!
Thank you for reading! Maddie, Dude & Jet x x x