I have heard about how an unfortunate situation, which at first may seem devastating, can actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise. This appears to be the case with my horse, Jaliska. My “cross to bear” arose a year ago when she became lame and the “blessing” appeared when I found Fred’s Barn – aka “paradise.” Let me explain.
When Jaliska’s sore back didn’t show signs of improving, I called upon a few experts to get advice on how to help her recover. The first person I reached out to was Peter Leone, a US Olympic Medalist in showjumping. “Put her out in a field through the winter,” Peter said. “Mother Nature can do wonderful things.” My second call was to Scott Keach, an Australian Olympic Medalist in Eventing and now a grand prix rider. “Give her a good amount of rest – I would suggest six months, better yet seven,” Keach said. “Too many people don’t give their (injured) horses enough time off. I give my (healthy) grand prix horses two months off every year.”
So an extended respite it was for Jaliska.
With this goal in mind I set out to find the right location for her rehabilitation. I first researched places down south, as they are much more affordable than the barns in New England. Then Erin, a friend of mine, suggested I look into local options as well, “so that you can check in on her to see how she’s doing,” she said. I agreed.
Erin showed me a website which had the names of many farms. One of the first I came upon was Fred’s; it caught my attention because it’s a mere four-minute drive from my house. “This is destined to be,” I thought.
I met with the barn manager the very next day. When I saw the 13 acres of lush pastureland connected to hundreds of acres of trails and fields loaded with jumps, it sealed the deal. I felt as if I had died and gone to horse heaven.
I couldn’t help but feel a little leery when I heard about the 24-hour turn-out, which is the standard at this barn; the horses are put in their stalls only during severe weather conditions. However, I’ve been told that this can be the best medicine for lameness, as the horses are free to move about under their own accord day and night.
Feeling better than ever about my plan, I agreed to the terms. I had Jaliska’s shoes pulled, and I moved her in for at least seven months of rest.
Learn how Jaliska fares in my next post.
Have you put your horse on field rest? I would love to hear about it. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org