Horse Life

The Day My Heart Condition Developed

Guys. Let me tell you about P’s first canter after 125 days of stall rest, aka the story of NOT ENOUGH DRUGS.


Unfortunately I wasn’t wise enough to ask anyone to video. A video could best tell this harrowing tale of a horse who realizes that for the first time in forever, he’s being asked to go faster than usual and has flashbacks of his old glory days of yore (aka racing, where he won a whopping $17,000 in 11 starts…aka he sucked at it). But you’ll have to settle for my words.


So for the 3 weeks leading up to Cantering Day, P has been on the following schedule:

Minutes 0-10: Walk

Minutes 10-15: Trot

Minutes 15-20: Walk

Minutes: 20-25 Trot

Minutes 25-30: Walk

Minutes: 30-35: Trot

Minutes 35-40: Walk

Exhilarating, I know.


So for the canter, we were supposed to replace the middle trot set with one minute of canter. Total. Not one minute each lead. Oh, and only canter every other day. Not even every day. Contain your excitement.


So leading up to the canter, all day I’m super nervous. What if he’s lame? What if this MAKES him lame?

Actual picture of me the day of the First Canter

So the Big Moment arrives: a few circles of trot, then I oh-so-timidly asked him for the left lead canter.

Pretty sure I turned this color from holding my breath

And P goes into this super calm canter, canters a few large circles, and comes right back to the trot.


Someone is such a grown up, amirite? I was bursting with pride at my super mature poneh.


So I turn him around, ask him to trot a few circles then ask him to canter. And P…TAKES OFF. That video of his spook from last week had NOTHING on this. All 4 off the floor and me, helpless, not being able to make any sudden movements…just glancing at my stopwatch periodically and watching a minute tick by…a minute and 30 seconds…until P was all, “Oh, this wasn’t what you meant? Cool, let’s just do an extended trot. No? Ok, regular trot. No? Walk? FINE.”

P’s actual expression

I swear my life is now shortened by 30 years AT LEAST.


The next day, I only rode him for the beginning walk, then hopped off to lunge him at the trot so I could stare obsessively at his right hind. And he was all, “canter now? Canter now?” but stayed in the trot so long as I did a zillion transitions so he wouldn’t get faster and faster.

And the next day when I cantered him (on the lunge)? Perfect gentleman. And still sound, thank the good Lord above.

Then yesterday when I hopped on and asked him to trot for his first set, he would shuffle a few steps, then break to the walk. And I FREAKED.

“He’s lame, he’s hurting. Clearly he’s on death’s door because what horse in their right mind doesn’t want to trot at the EXACT MOMENT MY WATCH SAYS 5:00? I’ve done all this work, I’ve kept him jailed in a stall for 130 days, and he’s lame and we’re going to have to start all over and MY WHOLE LIFE IS RUINED BECAUSE HE DOESN’T WANT TO TROT.”

BO (once I finally got him going): He looks totally sound. He actually looks really good.

The closer we get to completing rehab, the more neurotic I find myself becoming. I think this will all get exponentially easier once he starts going outside again, so if we can make it through these next 8 days, hopefully I’ll be able to CALM THE F DOWN.



23 thoughts on “The Day My Heart Condition Developed”

  1. Rehabbing horses is the worst. It is so easy to just drive yourself insane, but you’ve taken everything so slowly thus far that a small hiccup should be totally ok at this point.


    1. she is def still crazy from it (Amanda I mean) You KC were already crazy BEFORE rehab ๐Ÿ™‚ You will get there. You obsess and be neurotic? NAWWW LOLLOL ๐Ÿ™‚ You at least make us laugh hard. Thank you! YOU ARE ALMOST THERE ๐Ÿ™‚ P behave!


  2. omgosh the unpredictability of the horse in rehab!! charlie is generally a quiet horse, but we definitely had some heart stopping moments too…. ugh, i am still a little ptsd-ish about the stream we tried to cross when he was first back to tack walking and…. wow yea apparently he had forgotten how to cross streams in the interim. yikes. but yay cantering!! just 8 more weeks!!!!


  3. Omg I would have been right there with you. I can’t imagine the stress of rehabbing an injury like that, let alone having a crazy freak out like that from my horse. Hopefully, P keeps it together for a while longer so he can get back to running full time.


  4. Horses are really good at giving us heart conditions!!!! But agree with Sara- more wine for you and more drugs for P!!!!! Hopefully the weather will cooperate for P’s first (heavily drugged???) turnout extravaganza!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!! 8 DAYS!!!!


    1. Thank you! Itโ€™s been a serious test of sanity to rehab this guy. I honestly donโ€™t know how HEโ€™S kept his sanity as well as he has and Iโ€™m so glad for his sake that it may be over soon


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