Dr. Haberman came today.
Before she came, I got Grimm out for a little hand-walk, just to make sure his back was limber and to burn off some of my own nerves ... and Grimm was easily as wound up as he was yesterday. I'm pretty sure that he could still smell the bear.
Even with a break in his stall after the walk, we still decided to tranquilize him a bit before trotting him up. We didn't want to take any chances that he might get too excited on the longe and do something ridiculous. It was probably a good call. After a bit of screwing around, including snatching the longe line in his mouth and pretending to take off with it -- mind you, this is WITH the tranquilizers on board -- he finally settled in and did his work so we could assess his progress.
The verdict: 80% improvement.
The other 20%, we may never get back. Or, it could be stiffness or lack of strength in the tendons that he might work through, something coming from his back that we can work on later, or that fetlock that showed up on the MRI that hasn't been treated yet. Still, at 80%, he can go back to work, and the other 20% can be managed. And even with that 20% lingering, he offered the most fluid, willing trot I've seen from him since last July.
Dr. Haberman was happy with what she saw and pronounced him ready to start, as she put it, "excruciatingly slow rehab". We will progress excruciatingly slowly so that I can stay tuned in and watchful to catch any change for the worse that signals a need to stop and adjust, before it turns into a big issue again.
So, the journey begins with baby steps. Here's the plan for the first week:
And hopefully no bears.