Thoroughbred Makeover Diary: Back in the Saddle with Thalia

Hillary and Thalia riding once again
Hillary and Thalia riding once again (Courtesy Leah Beam)

I like to view goals as steppingstones on a journey rather than a destination at which to arrive. This mentality has allowed for the ever-humbling qualities of some horses to be a smoother pill to swallow when life hands you lemons. Sometimes things just fall out of place no matter how much planning went into them. Sometimes, all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy the lemonade. It’s in these times that we can often grow the most as horsemen and women.

Thalia's latest conformation shot
Thalia's latest conformation shot (Courtesy Hillary Ramspacher)

As Thalia’s training began to progress over April, I couldn’t wait to get her off the farm. Every trip in the trailer is a valuable learning experience for a young horse like her, not to mention I couldn’t wait to get her out into the show ring. That was, until one evening, before another scheduled field trip, when she came into the barn not feeling quite like herself, slightly uneven in her footfalls. After a quick once-over, it was clear that Thalia had thrown a curb.

For those unfamiliar with these types of injuries, a curb is a term used in reference to swelling of the soft tissue along the back of a horse’s hock. It is a fairly common injury with young horses and is not typically something that has any long-lasting impact on their career. However, it is soft tissue-straining and therefore it does require time to heal, which ultimately meant our goals were going to be put on hold for just a little longer whether I liked it or not, because, well, that’s horses for you!

The month of May seemed to creep by as we rehabbed and slowly started back to work. She continued to pack on the pounds and fill out during her time off and I even FINALLY convinced this filly to eat a treat, creating a bit of cookie monster in the process. I couldn’t work on her way of going under saddle, but I did fine-tune some ground manners and reinstalled a self-loading button into her bag of tricks while she was on the mend. She got to enjoy some full-body PEMF therapy sessions and direct laser treatments to aid in the healing process as we navigated her layoff. I was able to sit back and really appreciate the change in this horse since December.

Hillary and Thalia
Hillary and Thalia (Courtesy Leah Beam)

I took this downtime as an opportunity to get Thalia feeling her absolute best, enlisting the help of Dr. Kaley Seitz of Blue Oak Veterinary Chiropractic to make sure she would be in top shape as our first ride back approached. Injury aside, she had gone through some rather big life changes over the last five months in leaving the racing life behind and learning to use her muscles in a totally new way. All of that can be strenuous on a young growing horse and chiropractic work can really do wonders for them, getting them feeling better and allowing them to rebuild muscle in the correct places. Thanks to Dr. Seitz, we were ready to get back to work toward the end of May.

Since getting back under tack, we have taken things extremely slowly to make sure we don’t set the clock back any more. Sure, we missed out on some horse shows and other schooling opportunities while others got to have all the fun and ribbons, but we still have time to make our way to the Makeover. Some of our goals along the way have been adjusted but Thalia is feeling fabulous and ready to retake her throne as cross rail champion of the world in the near future!

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