I talked to Three Chimneys’ vet, Dr. Morehead, earlier in the week and he suggested that I start bringing Smarty back to work, as it has been 6 months since his injury. I have been hand walking Smarty daily, and he recommended starting to walk him under saddle for a week before slowly incorporating the trot and working my way up from there. I’ll continue to check Smarty’s ligament for any heat or swelling through the process to make sure that he is good to go. Dr. Morehead thought it would be about 2 months before the horse is fit.
On Wednesday, I began working with Smarty on a longe line at the walk, all tacked up. I believe that he’s been longed before, as he sort of knows what’s being asked of him. We worked in a round pen, first tracking left. He did fairly well, despite falling in and bulging out just a bit. By the second day of walking on the line he was doing even better and moving forward nicely. Tracking right was a different story. He was having some issues on Wednesday and didn’t improve on Thursday; Smarty continually stopped and turned around. So we’re taking it a bit more slowly working to the right as I train him to go both directions.
So far he’s been great! No fireworks, bolting or over-excitement. At the walk, Smarty has a wonderful headset, relaxed and low. For the moment at least, there is none of the stereotypical racehorse tense-neck-head-in-the-air going on. I'll keep y'all updated on his progress!