The $750 Thoroughbred who made it all the way to Rolex last year before being pulled back from competition is steaming back, better than before.
AP Prime is outperforming himself and looking better than ever following months of rest, slow rehab, and a diet change, says owner/rider Leah Lang-Gluscic. The professional rider pulled her horse from competition last April after a tendon strain incurred in a jumping accident showed signs it wasn’t fully resolved.
Though AP passed all soundness testing with flying colors prior to the fabled four-star event in Kentucky, and competed in dressage, Lang-Gluscic yanked him from the hardcore cross country out of an abundance of caution when an ultrasound on AP’s left, front leg, previously injured in a fall, showed a “worrisome” result.
Dam: Czarina Kate
Foal date: March 14, 2005Though the goal-oriented equestrian, who quit an investment-banking career to compete AP Prime at the highest level, was very disappointed, in hindsight, the time away from competition paid big dividends.
“The time off he had was really a blessing in disguise,” she says.
A blessing because Lang-Gluscic was able to tweak his diet and give AP downtime, and only later, a slow return to work, she says.
While AP was taught to graze calmly in a field, curbing his tendency to gallop around, Lang-Gluscic changed his feed, and was amazed at the result.
After the transition, his topline became stronger, and he built muscle and developed a great attitude.
“It has been a real game changer,” she says. “I now had the time to experiment with his feed, and the results have been amazing. His topline has never been stronger, and he looks fabulous.”
His fabulous good looks were enhanced by a careful fitness regimen. Following a two-month vacation, the horse and rider spent another month on walk-only rides, and another two months on trot-only rides. And when AP was finally cleared for canter work, he started off indoors, cantering the straight line and making shallow turns, she says.
His recuperation was monitored by veterinarians Jill Copenhagen of Florida and Dana Marsh of Illinois, she adds, noting that though her horse never took a lame step. He was given all the care that a four-star competition horse needs.
And it paid off!
The pair recently ran a preliminary cross-country at the Rocking Horse Trials in Ocala, Fla., with excellent results. Though finishing mid-pack in the competition, AP put in his best dressage work, and proved to be more rideable than at any other point, she says.
“The whole point was for him to go in the ring and be relaxed. And we totally accomplished that,” she says. Afterwards, his affected leg was veterinarian tested, and proved to be in top condition.
With the return ride under their belt, AP and Lang-Gluscic plan to attack the competition season this year as they make another run up to Rolex. They will shoot for the CIC three-star at Pine Top later this month, and the CIC three-star at Carolina in mid-March.
“This little blip we had” at Rolex “really gave me some time to sit back and tweak his program. I don’t think he’s ever been fitter, happier or more sound,’ she says. “Everything’s really working right now. He’s got springs on his feet and he’s feeling so well trained and rideable. We’re picking up right where we left off last year, only this time, we’re more prepared.” Please see past stories about AP Prime and Lang-Gluscic: