A lovely email came in from Matt, who took Flynn home on Monday, and it makes a perfect happy Friday post. Like most rehab horses, Flynn has gone home part way through his rehab; we made a good start down here and he's come a long way since he arrived, but over the next 3 or 4 months its up to Matt and Flynn to take his hooves to the next level!
"Although I don't believe in tempting fate, neither do I want to be too confident about Flynn's future at this stage as it remains to see how well his feet progress without the ideal surfaces etc. Nevertheless, I can at least say one thing with certainty. Taking his shoes off has been, without doubt, the way to go. I have 2 years of experimenting with other methods of treating his lameness to base that statement on!
I thought it worth giving you a 'Day 1 at home' progress report because it's at home that the difference is really clear. Although my brain leaves a lot to be desired at times, it does seem to have stored a memory of every Flynn footstep over the last 18 months or so. Even before he became unrideable there was something just not quite right with him. After taking him out on familiar routes yesterday it was clear (at least for that day!) that he was the horse he hasn't been for a long time.
We went for a 75 minute hack on the lanes. Although we don't have quite the length of inclines as you do on Exmoor, we do have some pretty steep short hills. I thought the downhill stretches would be a challenge for him still but he didn't flinch. In fact there was no lameness apparent at all, and I was really looking/waiting for it! He felt level and balanced and there were only a handful of minor mis-steps (and probably less than he used to have before his foot issues really kicked in). Maybe there was a small adrenaline element with being back home, but there's no denying, there's been a vast improvement.
Lameness aside, what really pleased me was his demeanour. Ear's pricked, happy looking expression, responsive to the slightest squeeze of leg, it was like riding the 'old Flynn' again. I don't want to get too carried away, so to be a bit critical, I'd say his stride length is still a bit choppier than it used to be and he would still prefer to trot on grass but saying that feels churlish. After all, it's only been 3 1/2 months since he hobbled off the horsebox at yours. Only time will tell if he continues to improve without the track system (and with the way I have to manage his keep here) but now I have a really good benchmark to base things on. Today, at least, I refuse to be negative. I am even imagining taking him on a cross-country course again. Nowt wrong with dreaming!"