Well its been a frustrating couple of months, no update in March or April as I really didn’t have anything to share other than frustration and concern about what was happening with Aslan.  I decided to wait until we knew more about what was happening, before giving you an update and although we are not out of the woods, I thought it was time you heard from us as I know we have been quiet on Facebook.

On return from the Winter Nationals, Aslan started showing signs of discomfort in training. Not his usual forward self at all.  First thoughts were towards a tooth that seemed to have splintered but following some treatment from his dentist David and some rest to recover, he was no better in the school when we went back into work.

This meant that for the first time since our partnership began two years ago, I had to go to squad training alone and on foot.  Not my favourite experience but I still had the benefit to me from the squad nutritionist, sports psychologist, physiotherapist, conditioning coach and mentor –  just no coaching in the saddle.

Back home our vet Simon started further tests, trying to pinpoint what exactly was troubling Aslan when he was in training, as in every other way he was his usual cheeky self, stretching and craving attention in his stable as you can see in the video below.

Aslan was perfectly happy in his stable, eating and in turn out but continued to show signs of discomfit when in the school, so he was sent to our vets for more tests.  He was checked for ulcers and happily there were none,  but X-rays of his neck found what appears to be the problem – some inflammation around Aslan’s lower cervical facets.  It was not great news, but at least we knew what was going on and we could get him some treatment to help ease his discomfort.

As I’m writing this we are still not back in work, but Aslan is back out hacking as the second stage of his rehab and I’m pleased to say we were out both Saturday and Sunday of last weekend for lovely hacks in the sun – can’t believe how much I have missed riding him.  It was great to be back out together and Aslan felt very very relaxed as you can see in the video, which was so fantastic as I have been so worried about him.

So its been emotional, and it’s another couple of weeks before we start some gentle work to see where we really are, but things are looking positive so fingers crossed and in the meantime I can spend my time  focusing on my exams, which is probably the right thing to be doing anyway.  After a big rest I’m hoping he comes back stronger than ever.

While all this has been going on, I’ve been working hard on my strength and conditioning training at Fitness4Less with my personal trainer Iain Duncan, and also sessions on my own, working on my endurance.

I was also privileged to visit The Royal Bank of Canada in the City of London for the launch of their 2018/19 support to SportsAid. At this years launch I was invited to be one of four athletes taking part in the Q&A session which I really enjoyed.  The same time last year I remember watching others do the same thing and being slightly in awe of them talking so calmly and well in front of the audience, this year it was me and I think I did pretty well.  There is some breaking news on my support by RBC but I’m going to save that until next time when I’ll know more about it.

On the SportsAid Q&A panel at RBC with Tim Lawler asking the questions

One of my goals for this year was to qualify for the Gold Semi’s but this is now not possible given the current situation with Aslan, so receiving  the new Musto squad kit has definitely helped cheer me up – check out the photo below.

That’s it for now, a little short on excitement as my focus is really just trying to make sure Aslan makes a full and speedy recovery and of course getting my GCSE exams over with…

Hopefully, I’ll be back next time with good news on both fronts and I’ll keep you posted on Facebook, but in the meantime keep your fingers crossed that my boy gets back into work soon.

Ilse x

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