Rehabbing Funny Bunny B’s Injury: Light Riding

“I may be being over protective and a little overboard with how cautious I’m being, but better safe than sorry…I will always do what’s in the best interest of Buns and I hope in return he makes a full recovery.”

If you’ve been following the series about Funny Bunny B’s complex injury, you know he’s been on a long road to recovery. If you haven’t had the chance to read about the nightmare, here’s a recap: On October 7, 2019, Funny Bunny B (Buns) sustained an injury to his right hind leg. He has a fracture, torn tendon and soft tissue damage.

On his journey to recovery I, along with In Stable Hands, have faced many challenges and educational topics that I have been sharing. We’ve faced and discussed proud flesh, his fracture, the tendon damage and maintaining a healthy weight. I’ve discussed a particular day where Buns decided it was a good idea to jump the round pen and pull down his stall front in a 24-hour period and kept readers up to date on vet check ups.

In my last few articles,  I told you the reasons why I have gone through such extensive care with Buns, rather than thinking about the option of putting him down. I’ve discussed the frustrations of having an injured horse and I recognized horses I’ve had the opportunity of riding while Buns has been healing. I’ve also turned to you guys and gals for your opinions and testimonies on the best sport boots on the market.

Now, for the moment you’ve all been anxiously awaiting — well maybe it was me who was just anxiously awaiting this moment. Buns is back to work doing some light riding on good footing! After discussion with the vet, we have developed a plan to get Buns back to work. I have been educated on different exercises and riding we can do and I I have started logging each of our rides. I would like to share those journal entries with you.

Photo by Chris Robertson

Our first ride back was on Wednesday March 25th. It was 24 minutes and 45 seconds in duration and a mile long. Here’s my journal entry for that day:

“This is Buns’ first ride post injury. We took a walk around the field. He got a bit frisky at the one point, bucking and cantering in place but overall it was a good first ride. He seemed a bit stiff in the hind at first. We’ll see if he comes up lame tomorrow, but hopefully he stays sound.”

Photo by Chris Robertson

The following day, I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was sound! I then proceeded to ride him for his second post injury ride which was 26 minutes and 57 seconds in duration and 0.9 miles long. This time I went with two other riders, Jen and Cari. Here is my journal entry for that day:

“Another good ride today. Went around the field again. This time did a little trotting and then did some cantering unintentionally because Buns is enthusiastic about being back to work.

I had Jen take some videos so I could watch how he’s moving.”

The following day, Buns was sound. I took him out for his ride, only this time I increased workload and time. On Friday March 27, 2020 we rode for 48 minutes and 14 seconds, covering the distance of 2.4 miles. This is my journal entry for that day:

“This is the third ride. Buns was a bit stocked up before riding but no swelling when we got back which the vet says may be his new norm.

I increased the time and did W/T/C. Leg reach in hind was significantly better than yesterday. Buns feels stronger today.”

After the increased work load, Buns stayed sound but I decided to give him an off day. Saturday he was off and on Sunday March 29, 2020 he was back to another light riding session. This ride was 21 minutes and 30 seconds in duration and was 1.1 miles long. In this journal entry I stated:

“Buns had the day off yesterday. Still no signs of lameness. His leg was a little swollen pre-ride today.

I wrapped the back legs with Tough 1 boots today. Before today I’ve been using Professional Choice. I didn’t like the Tough 1s as much. They moved position a bit and didn’t fit Buns as well.

The wind was insane today and it’s 78 degrees. Buns would try to canter off every time my dog decided to take a little jog.

He was well mannered for like 90% of the ride though. No cantering today despite him trying. Long trotted one side of the field and then walked the rest.”

Photo by Chris Robertson

This ride was followed by a two-day break due to my work schedule and motivation and then we had a not-so-delightful ride due to no fault of Buns. This ride was on April 1, 2020, was 18 minutes and 40 seconds in duration and was 0.9 miles long. Here’s what I wrote:

“Buns felt significantly stronger today. The ride started out really well. We worked a hill in the field at a walk. We then wrapped around to the other side of the field.

The ride turned sour. A loose dog from one of the houses below ran up and started biting at Buns’ legs and tail.

Buns started kicking at it and attempting to take off to get away from it. He then started bucking. Miraculously I stayed on.

My dog went to bat and chased the dog off. I cut the ride short and went back to the barn to check and make sure neither of them was hurt.

There were no bite marks on either of them. The boots must have taken the brunt of it. Thank goodness.”

Our next ride together was on Friday April 3, 2020. Buns had a fairly easy day this day as a friend’s kids took him for a walk around the arena. My journal entry for that ride goes as follows:

“Buns had a fairly easy day riding the kids around. He just tutted along quiet as usual.

After the kids were done taking a lap or two around the arena, I jumped on and exercised him a little. We did big circles or stayed on the rail.

No signs of lameness or favoring the injured leg.”

Photo by Chris Robertson

My last journal entry is from April 5, 2020 and goes like this:

“Rode Buns in the arena today. Did W/T/C but added different size circles in stead of just staying on the straight like in the fields. We trotted through some patterns, nothing too strenuous but he started favoring the injured leg. Not lame but when resting he began to hold it up.

So, at the first sign of any discomfort I called it a day for him.

I watched him walk a bit with no lame steps but he’s going to get a few days off to rest with some red light therapy until I feel like he is comfortable enough to start again.

I may be being over protective and a little overboard with how cautious I’m being but, better safe than sorry.”

On April 6, 2020 Buns continued to show no signs of being lame but I was convinced he was getting weeks off because, to be honest, the discomfort scared me. After speaking with a good friend, and trained professional in horse biomechanics, she made a good point that stopping work may lose all progress we’ve made. So we’ll do REALLY LIGHT rides and maybe some surcingle work to switch it up.

Rehabbing is a really humbling process and can be really discouraging at times. I hate seeing Buns weaker than ever and so limited in his range of motion and activity level. It’s going to take a long time to get him back to the level he was performing at but I’m going to continue to do everything in my power to get him to a full recovery. I will always do what’s in the best interest of Buns and I hope in return he makes a full recovery.