View Full Version : Mild front/high suspensory tears - what was your "timeline"?

Apr. 17, 2009, 03:12 PM
On week 10 of stall rest for my horse with a front high suspensory (mild) tear. Vet to re-ultrasound as soon as we get an appt.

To those with a horse with the same injury, what kind of timeline did have on recovery (i.e when did yours come off stall rest, start walking under saddle, etc)? It seems there is a big difference b/w front and hind as far as recovery time?

Not trying to rush things... just wondering :) Oh, and how your horse is doing now.

Apr. 17, 2009, 04:27 PM
My horse is going into month 5. Mild front suspensory strain. Went back for ultrasound last week, and got the okay for trotting for---get this--- one to two minutes, in addition to walking. Will continue with that for two more months and then return for another ultrasound. If horse feels solid towards the end of the two months, I can increase trot to 5 whole minutes.

It sucks and it is a long time, but what are you going to do?

Long Shadow Farm
Apr. 17, 2009, 04:29 PM
My QH gelding had an adhesion on his front left suspensory in the inside right under his knee. He was off from the 2nd week of December until like the first of March. He could have started back the first of February but I just didn't have time and the weather was bad. We went right back to work with no problems, but he was out 24/7 so he never really lost much fitness. He is great now and not had a lick of problem from it.

Good luck with yours.


Apr. 17, 2009, 04:40 PM
My horse's injury was hind, so the timeline is slightly different. But to the extent it's useful . . .

He had a mild, high injury, and we began hand walking from the day of diagnosis--and did the first of five rounds of SWT. Walk time increased over several months, then transitioned to walking under saddle, and we began the painstaking process of adding trotting, two minutes a week, after about three months.

All told, our horse went from injury to jumping courses in about eight months. His suspensory has healed really well, though we've dropped him down a few levels, mostly because of arthritis and age.

Based on what I've read, I'm surprised your vet has recommended total stall rest for this kind of injury. Are you sure it's a mild strain? I was told that controlled exercise was really important for high quality healing.

Apr. 17, 2009, 05:19 PM
Before the official diagnosis, my horse was on stall rest and handwalked for 2 weeks.

Timeline from that point on...

Month 1: Mild high front suspensory diagnosed with U/S #1. Start walking under saddle almost immediately. Vet agrees that we can try to keep him in his (very quiet) pasture while rehabbing.
Month 3: U/S #2 shows no progress (despite horse being sound), so he is pulled into stall, handwalked for a few weeks, and starts walking under saddle (30 min.) again.
Month 4: Based on soundness (no U/S), vet approves building to 5 min. of trotting by the end of the month.
Month 6: U/S #3 shows significant improvement. Begin increasing trotting by 5 min. every 2 weeks.
Month 8 (April '09, currently): Horse is trotting 20 min. under saddle and goes on trails with some hills. (We're still avoiding circles and deep footing)

Plan for May: Build to 30 min. trotting, do U/S #4, and hooopefully be approved to start cantering by June.
My horse is doing great and hasn't really shown any signs of lameness on that leg since Month 1. He's just wondering why he's not allowed to canter anymore haha.

Good luck with your horse! Suspensory rehab sometimes seems like a never-ending process (which is probably why my post is so long lol sorry...).

Go Fish
Apr. 17, 2009, 06:13 PM
One year, start to finish if you plan on jumping again. I know some try for sooner, but I think it's a mistake. Don't ask me how I know!

Apr. 17, 2009, 07:09 PM
My then-20yo gelding (that I use for eventing and jumpers) tore his R front suspensory in March 2008. He did 2-3 weeks of stall rest...which didn't go well...so instead he was turned out in an ittybitty paddock. Over the course of the summer, we did several ultrasounds, and gradually turned him out in bigger and bigger fields, added some friends, and kept him on 24/7 turnout, as he was much more level headed that way. He was cleared to start back to walking under saddle August 1st.

Our rehab riding schedule started with 10min of walking, adding 1-2 min per day to get to 40min of walking at the end of a month. Sept 1st we started to add some trot - 3 one minute trots interspersed into the 40min workout. We increased the trot work gradually over the course of a month, until he was trotting for a total of 20-25min in a 40min workout. We added started cantering again October 1st and started trotting grids in November. December 2008 was his first "real" jumping lesson after his injury. I don't jump him much in lessons anymore (since now at 21, he know his job...and I use my younger horse to work on my issues), but he's still competing. He did his first horse trial in February 2009, and started back doing some Level 2 & 3 jumpers in late Feb/early march.

Here he is in March 2009...looking pretty good for being 21 and post-suspensory injury:

Trixie's mom
Apr. 18, 2009, 06:40 AM
i concur with Gofish

one year...rest...leave them alone. i know because i spent a fortune on every 'therapy'...stem cell and on and on...after bringing horse back to work, carefully...30 days later...same thing....only worse.

sent the horse to california, turned him out in a flat pasture, left him ALONE...

one year later, careful bringing him back to work...perfectly sound. still going strong several years later...

rest...one year...

Apr. 18, 2009, 08:16 AM
i concur with Gofish ;; rest...one year...

My gelding had midgrade RF lesion 12-13 years ago (pre-fancy stem cell at al.), and had 10- 16? weeks stall rest, and he was a loon!!

The day of his last ultrasound, he jerked out of the tech's hands and proceeded to bolt out of stable leaving sparks on the concrete, and lapped the 35 acre farm for 15 minutes!!:eek:

Needless to say, even though the ultrasound appeared clean after that, we still turned that horse out for 9 months +. He came back the following year, had a good go in the A/O hunters, and has been in use ever since and he's 20 now. :)

Apr. 18, 2009, 09:14 AM
I was overly cautious with my guy. It was his right front, and he was on stall rest for almost 8 months before he could even think about being turned out.

We just now have him in a very small, turn out, just enough to safely roll and trot a few steps.

My goal for the summer is just getting his muscle back, he didnt not do well on stall rest, lost weight and muscle. If he can be walking and maybe trotting under saddle by the end of the summer Id be happy.

He is much too nice of a horse to rush back.

I am being much more cautious than my vet, she told me to start walking him under saddle by now. I feel more comfortable with him getting a lot more turn out first.

Good luck with your boy!!!

The pony pops that go on the stall wall were a life saver for him!

Apr. 18, 2009, 11:36 AM
It takes a year if there is any tearing at all IMHO. Not a year of stall rest but a year to completely rehab the area and you're probably looking at most of that time with not turnout. My friend got her horse a square pen (round pen with 4 sides) so that she could at least put her horse in an outdoor stall during the day. He also got lots of ACE when this was going on. Give it the time it needs and your horse will come back just fine. Good luck.

Apr. 19, 2009, 12:05 PM
One year, start to finish if you plan on jumping again. I know some try for sooner, but I think it's a mistake. Don't ask me how I know!

I completely agree.....more time is your friend w/ these injuries. Mom was a race horse trainer, and I'm all too familiar with these sorts of injuries. I've never seen a horse get less than a year (this includes the rehab time through trotting under saddle) not have major problems.

My current horse has had two major soft tissue injuries and returned to jumping. Both times, he was given a year w/ shockwave treatments, etc. It's painful, but worth it if you want the horse to have a chance to return to his/her job. Suspensories are particulary tough. Sorry you're going through this....good luck!

Apr. 19, 2009, 01:25 PM
I have seen some mild tears (maybe they were just strains?) come back in 6 months (to moderate work), others needed a year.

However, our vet pretty much never recommended complete stall rest. It was always either hand walking on flat, level ground, or complete turnout in a small pen (once again with flat, level ground), usually for 6 months or more.

Apr. 19, 2009, 09:39 PM
Mild strain RF suspensory, area 2B on u/s; no tear.
Month 1 - HW
Month 2 - u/s shows healing but horse sl off so tack walk
Month 3- same deal as month 2
Month 4 - start same as month 3, but diagnose collateral ligament damage via MRI towards end of month (good news is that scintigraphy shows healing of original suspensory injury as it does not light up at all during the soft tissue phase)
Month 5 (more or less) - go back to HW as start IRAP/shock wave for six weeks plus 2 weeks at end; horse sound so cleared to saddle walk
Month 6 - saddle walk
Month 7 - start to trot (for exactly one day); horse gets impaction colic and spends week in horsepital but no surgery; start back trotting towards end
Month 8 - supposed to built trot to 20 minutes total in 5-minute increments, but rain intervenes
Month 9 - redo month of trotting
Month 10 - start month of cantering, which actually takes closer to six weeks, due to rain
Month 11+ - normal flat work, building to lateral work and counter canter
Month 12+ - start "jumping" which quickly regresses to a lot of pole work b/c horse is a bit too happy

That's where we are today. Original injury was May 3.

Apr. 20, 2009, 05:31 AM
Thanks for all the replies! We have been doing 30 mins of handwalk 1 x day since first day. Now Ace-ing before each handwalk due to rearing.