Rehabbing your horse after injury – Starting the trot by Equi-Learn

This is the second in the Rehabbing your horse after injury series.  Check out the first chapter “Rehabbing your horse after injury – walk exercises”

So you have had to OK from your vet to start the trot after you have been diligently and patiently walking for the first few weeks getting your horse back to work.  You may or may not have required a little calming help from some kind of tranquilizer or calming agent, which is something you should discuss with your vet if you  need it to help keep the horse on earth rather than in orbit! It is important for you to be safe and also for the horse to try and keep it together to help avoid re-injury.  You don’t want to set back your progress, the whole point is to get back to work slowly and developing strength.

Your vet will also let you know what your rehab program look like.  A general rehab program will start with your 20-25 mins of walk.  Check, done that.

Now you can start with minute of trot, adding a min of trot every couple or days …. and so on and so on…..   REMEMBER! At any time, you feel an odd step or a return of noticeable changes to the injury, then you should back off  and slow down your rehab program.  Go easy, go slow – remember the tortoise won the race.


Watching the clock for a minute is kind of annoying – so for the first day time out what one lap of the arena is and then figure out how many laps you can fit into a minute.  You are trying to rehab your horse as evenly as possible so divide your time into both directions evenly.  Then you can add #of laps rather than setting your timer.

In the trot, like the walk, you want the quality of work without the quantity.  You still want your horse to be in front of the leg, on the aids and working thru his body.  You don’t want the biggest trot he can do nor the smallest trot, but the one where he feels the most comfortable in his balance and working thru his body.  Watch video of Sidney, 6 yr old OTTB, coming back to trot work.

Usually most injuries require you to stay away from lateral work and tight circles.  So that limits you to going large and large circles.  So what can you work on rather than just going large with your ipod on?  Just like in the walk exercises ….

Transitions. Transitions. Transitions.

  • walk trot walk
  • trot halt trot
  • small trot, big trot, small trot
  • rein back
  • stretch trot and varying your frame throughout your ride

If you need to work on some lateral suppleness but since you can’t do any lateral work or smaller circles you can work on the straight line with true flexion/counter flexion. Other fun things you can do is poles, both on the ground and raised depending on your horses injury.

REMEMBER – ride on good footing, no lungeing yet, no small circles (if humanly possible as you ride your horse with four feet on the floor rather than four feet in the air like a horsey bouncy ball.)


Have fun and Stay Safe!


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