Sterntaler (Junior) was last scanned 18 months ago, March '17, during this time we have returned him to work and reached up to Advanced level using our ethos of putting more 'in’ than we were taking 'out. Maddi Burchell was a great advocator and motivator throughout. We targeted everything we could with bespoke supplements for comfort, calmness, digestion, circulation, well being, immunity, refining bespokes every few weeks. We used hours of Activo-Med laser and Activo-Med pulse magnetic floor as well as the Activo-Med Water treadmill with strong support from Serena Hickson who also rushed the Frio Ice Machine to us the very next day! This weeks veterinary report and visit has given us clinical permission to continue going up the levels. This result has never before been seen - he is now coming back, but there is always a fear of re-injury so in true Gingell style, our new quest is to gain even more ground breaking results by stepping up all the formulations and rehabilitation to match the next level of work, to see how long we can keep his dressage career alive and keep him happy and comfortable.
“Junior was presented to Rossdales Diagnostic Centre on 12th July 2018 for reassessment. On clinical examination there was enlargement of the suspensory branches of the right hind limb (medial and lateral branches) and the left hind limb (medial branch) but there was no associated heat or pain on palpation. The enlargement of the medial branch, of the right hind limb, extended into the body of the suspensory ligament. There was no pain on hind limb fetlock flexion and no pain on general manipulation or palpation of the fore or hind limbs.” Extract from this weeks veterinary report. The actual words from the surgeon Sarah Boys Smith was 'AMAZING, he is the best advert you will ever get to help other horses get the extra special lucky care that has been given to Junior.'
Junior was trained by a German Olympic trainer from age 5 – 11, destined to be part of the Australian Junior team. A top bred Westfalian, he was secure in his small tour aged 12 and working GP at home. He was competing at PSG aged 7 in Germany. He had huge amounts of training and discipline and was very willing in his work. I bought him as a safe, secure schoolmaster to deliver the dream of me competing at top level dressage. This drive was sparked during my years as marketing consultant for Albion Saddle Makers when sitting with Carl Hester many years ago. He really inspired me to give it a go. As a businesswoman with 5 children, fast tracking with a schoolmaster was my only option. Kindly Alex Gingell supported me hugely with this crazy dream. With his own International eventing behind him he understood the passionate drive.
After Junior was released from hospital, I spent hours over the stable door with our pony, teaching Junior to socialize kindly. He had always been safely hand-grazed and ridden almost always indoors. A big part of his rehabilitation was teaching him to hack down a lane so we could walk in straight lines on a flat, level solid surface not an arena surface - something he had never done. This was a huge challenge! It tested our calmers to the limit. He also had to learn to be turned out quietly, without a handler for security so he could keep moving his legs, after all his box rest and rehab walking. There was no expectation he would ever dressage again after his initial injury examination. But during my year of walking with someone at my side, Lorraine Webster’s racing rehab days paid dividends for me, for which I am forever in debt. I started to feel things changing. Rossdales gave me permission to do light schooling work too. It was hard! Junior knew every way not to do anything. Whether it was to preserve him self or persuade us he was just a hack horse now, we will never know. So I started doing some dressage movements on the hack – this showed me something I had never felt before – his slow trot developed instinctively into a – passage. He would walk and step into a piaffe. British Dressage Eastern Region and their incredible trainers, Mark Ruddock, Adam Smyth, Jill Day, Tracey Lowrie to name just a few watched all of his development over the next year. Then in the arena over careful time we took his work right back to novice long and low. We tootled around in little trot steps and I learnt about opening the back without powering around, but using four track shoulder in. I have paid for 4 fabulous trainers, Kim Radcliffe – who has brought my dressage to music alive, Paul Fielder who fitted his own designed Bomber bit and nudged his saddle fit to perfection, Luke Barber Davies his European roots meant he knew who trained him and what I needed to do instinctively, trained by Carl Hester it is bringing me close to the person who ignited a belief that I should give it a go. Adam Smyth who with our BD East sponsorship saw me go from being fearful in walk, to training me how to ride canter zig zags for a GP test within a year, Okke Krol of Dutch Dressage who supported me in my quest of knowing nothing to riding through an Advanced Medium Test for my husband at home, making it a delight for Alex to see it FINALLY coming together.
The constant care, consideration and attention has produced a Junior who is comfortable, very secure and happy in his mind, has field friends and a big paddock with bare legs every day. But more importantly he is just loving his dressage and his life. He is now training me to ride through the levels at amazing speed - I almost think the movement and he delivers it. We do not ask too much too often, we respect his injury and recognise wear and tear will start to show too. But at 15 he is expected to take me to PSG and beyond - once we have got more than 62% at Advanced 102 this summer.
This has been a journey of complete extremes but without these, so many lessons would not have been learnt, under very close supervision of Rossdales Hospital, who have simply never seen this happen before. Because of this we want to help more owners and horses either rehabilitee to beyond expected levels or as we are now doing with our youngster using rehabilitation lessons to train a young horse to prevent or minimise injuries. So often vets don’t see horses early enough. Again I think Alex Gingell was instrumental as he sent Junior and I immediately to hospital in our lorry as soon as he saw his leg was up after work.
Now it gets all too exciting!! Alex Gingell has given his agreement that we can now invest in our own facilities so Junior, our young man Hyperion and Katya’s pony can have all their needs met at home. So plans are now in progress to have a full Fitness Centre linked closely to Rossdales Hospital in 2019. Our amazing farrier has been instrumental in understanding Juniors movement and has light hind shoes with extra metal for more support on a surface. His front feet following his laminitis attack have been in imprints and are now padded and supported too. We are currently converting a stable into a physio and farrier bay with low level lighting and heat lamps. We will keep you updated as plans develop - but if you are reading this - having being given very worrying news about your horse - Junior was not expected to have made his recovery and his surgeon was open minded, supportive and encouraging to give everything we did a go. We are never going to stop our high level of care for our horses because what we are doing is working – we are putting in more than we are taking out and now we are going to step it up with our new facilities.
Junior has also, during the course of these 12 months has other health issues that we have successfully over come and are now preventing.
Serious Laminitis attack – so he cannot have any routine injections for joints, his diet and supplements are now low sugar and starch. His blood test showed he is not cushings prone.
A serious reaction to fly bites summer 2017, which threatened a systemic breakdown and saw him for months on steroids.
So what natural bespoke ingredients have we use to support him ………
What Activo Med Products did we use and how:
What 7 things we are planning to do different as we step up his work. Again putting more in than taking out.
Alex Gingell lost his top International horse Countryman to an injury on his suspensory, so he also knows the heartbreak first hand. He was initially of the old school opinion that recovery to competitions is not possible, but was willing and caring about giving Junior every single chance, against the odds. Not only does he wish he knew what he does now from a supplement point of view, but he is amazed, as are we all, of just what all these alternative products have achieved at a clinical level. The combination of both mine and Alex's determination to make a difference to more horses, means lots of new and exciting things, energy and experience is about to make a difference with Rossdales support to help us.
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