“I’ve hit a little bit of a dilemma. I’m having keyhole surgery on my knee in October half term when I’m on a break from sixth form. The only trouble is my mum doesn’t ride and she isn’t confident with horses after a bad experience with my last pony. My friends have offered to look after my horse whilst I am in hospital for the week and until I can come off crutches, which the doctors reckon will only be a week or two after the surgery. I know one of my friends is planning to ride for me but she only likes to ride in the field and school and my horse doesn’t like to do that.
My cousin has offered to have him up in Yorkshire whilst I recover but my mum has said no. She’s also said no to advertising him for share whilst I recover because she doesn’t want a complete stranger riding him, which I understand because he can be very forward and strong. Is there anything I could do to make schooling more interesting for him and my friend as it’s only until my birthday in December then I can start riding again?”
Oliver answers: I suggest that if you are that worried with other people riding etc, maybe it would be an ideal opportunity for the horse to have his holiday as well. Sometimes having other people schooling your horse can do more harm than good and it might take a very long time to undo. It won’t hurt him to have time off, all of mine are having at least 6 weeks off in the field and it does them the world of good for both body and mind.
If your mother is not confident around horses don’t force the issue as you don’t want either her or your horse hurt.
Then when you are back in action, lunge him for a couple of weeks and then start again with your programme.
I hope that is of some help and good luck with the surgery and recovery.