A few years ago we attended the Centaur Russell Sports Seminar that Rachael Murray spoke at, one of the key rehab features that she highlighted was to NEVER work the horse when it was fatigued. Rehab work was all well and good if the horse was practising good repetitions, but as soon as the horse was tired it was only practising evasions (from good functional work).
She then highlighted the absolute importance of watching your horse from behind during pole work, water treadmill work, anything involving the hind end and hock flexion. Stating that we would all be surprised how quickly the horse fatigued from this work and little and often was so much more beneficial than slogging out hundreds of reps a time.
Just a little video for you guys to look at, it really highlights the importance of looking at your horses as they work.
This shows you how quickly a horse in rehab can tire. The mare in the video is coming back into work following various issues, she lives out and has a lot of natural movement in her life.
The video shows raised poles - 6 in a row - being walked over, the first rep is her first rep, you can see how straight and true each foot flight is, no pulling the hoof into her midline or wobble on the hocks and she walks straight. Cut to her 4th rep, so she's walked down, back, down and then we are behind her to walk up. You can see the change in the walk, the swing of the hind foot inwards in an effort to clear the pole, the wobble on her walk as she fatigues.
Her owner hadn't seen this because she is at her head and can't see the hock, she had noticed the wobbling, which was why we were looking at her more closely.
3 reps is plenty for this mare to be doing at the moment, far less than the owner had anticipated. But 3 good reps is way more beneficial than then doing 3 more bad ones where she's praticising the wrong pattern.
Once again, go slow, notice and if you are unsure ask for help.
Go slow to get there quicker and ENJOY THE JOURNEY.