The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 26
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 27, 2011
    Posts
    15

    Default Day 1 of who knows how many of SDFT Rehab: Words of Encouragement Welcomed

    Hi all,

    Looking for a bit of sunshine on a blue day- my gelding had an ultrasound today and he's moderately torn his superficial digital flexor tendon... ugh. This is after 2 months of hand walking, given a premature "go-ahead, he's 100%!" from another vet, getting back on, and finding that he still was NQR.

    Months and months and months (and months and months) of rehab ahead. Vet said that he may be back to where he was in a year... This is my first experience with anything like this- I'm a relatively new horse mom. Have you been there, done that? Is there anything you would have liked to have known when you embarked on this journey to recovery?

    I'd also love advice on how you maintained costs and kept riding. His well being is my primary concern, but I am also feeling pretty defeated, as I was just turning a corner in my riding and confidence. I plan to take lessons and help out others at my barn should their horse need exercise and I get to them before the working students... but what did you do to continue learning?

    I'm feeling pretty lost and sad this evening... it's far from the worst that could have happened, but I'm still sad. *sigh.* There is a lesson and a reason for everything, and I'd love to learn ways you were able to shape something like this into a positive outcome.

    Reaching out to the COTH community for any advice/words/inspiration you would like to share... thank you so much in advance.
    Last edited by clairified; Jun. 23, 2012 at 12:22 AM. Reason: ***Jingles please!***
    Sit up and kick on! ~Phoebe Buckley



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2000
    Location
    Southern California - on a freeway someplace
    Posts
    9,933

    Default

    You have my sympathy.

    IMHO, you have to stay cautiously optimistic. Not so optimistic that your world will come crashing around you when things don't go well, but optimistic enough that you keep going. Because without a mental picture of a future where you're riding your horse the way you want, it can be hard to keep going and not do anything stupid (like not give it enough time).

    You are right to want to stay riding. My horse was in training at the time of the injury and the deal I cut with the trainer was that I could have lesson any day I came out and did everything with my own horse myself (which I would have wanted to do anyway). Some of the rides were wonderful and I lucked into one horse that needed an amateur ride but by an amateur that could deal with the aftermath. Some of the rides were more interesting, but I learned to keep my mouth shut and ride whatever I was offered. Some of those rides were outside lessons. I also helped out with other stuff--pulling manes, setting up at shows, doing paperwork--to show my appreciation. My horse turned into a major jerk once we were into the trotting part of the rehab and the only way I could somewhat guarantee staying in one piece was to use my lesson time for a private lesson and exile everyone else from the ring. Thus, if I wanted to canter I rode something on my own.

    The only thing I would have done differently with the rehab was to baby mine less during the initial stages. He might have been less of a jerk to ride if I'd done that. The second time around(*) I spent more time hand walking him in the ring, with other horses, even walking side by side with them. I also walked him a lot off the property. The first time I did nearly all of it around the outside of one ring because I was so paranoid he'd do something stupid and re-injure himself. In an ideal world financially I would have spent money to lease a horse from which I might have been able to learn more as opposed to riding defensively on the fancy one who looked hard at jumps, but that one was awfully fun to show on the flat.

    (*)As it turns out, my horse's issues (collateral ligaments between P2 an P3) the first time around may have been the result of neck arthritis that we found when some of the issues recurred three years later. So the biggest thing I wish I'd done differently is to do the nuclear scintigraphy scan of the WHOLE horse the first time as we may have found the neck issues then and been able to treat them sooner.

    Good luck!
    The Evil Chem Prof



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2000
    Location
    Southern California - on a freeway someplace
    Posts
    9,933

    Default

    Also, I highly recommend the Back to Work book. Read the whole thing--you learn a fair amount by reading about rehab from unrelated injuries.
    The Evil Chem Prof



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2009
    Posts
    121

    Default

    Great advice from both posts before me, and SO SORRY for your horse's injury...but welcome to the inner circle of performance horse owners. There's tons of support out here for you and the horse!

    Your tendon is a better structure to injure than some - you can get this tendon back in good shape!

    People often say the year spend rehabbing their horse was tough and expensive but that both the horses and riders benefitted from it in surprising ways - education, relationship, physical improvement, maturity, perspective. (Sounds like what we get through eventing too...)

    The Back to Work book is great, and a little humbling.

    If you need it, get instruction on how to handle and lead a laid-up horse. TAKE NO CHANCES on getting hurt yourself and/or reinjuring the tendon (or even just losing sleep worrying about reinjuring the tendon.). If you wonder if it's possible to hand walk without drugs or without a chain or outside the arena, DON'T DO IT. Be 100% sure before you do something. At my barn we remind each other to never cut corners with any horse, healthy or injured. Notice when you are thinking about cutting a corner. Don't do it.

    Use tranq and Omeprazole (said before in some great COTH threads).

    Do look at the whole horse, including foot angles and shoeing.

    Keep a daily diary of exactly what is going on with the horse - good reference. Include medical stuff and behavior.

    GOOD LUCK! You CAN do this.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2006
    Location
    Saco, Maine
    Posts
    4,729

    Default

    I am SO sorry about your horse. You do everything right, you listen to the experts, you do what they say and still it doesn't work. Gad, doesn't it just make you NUTS. No advice for you but plenty of understanding and sympathy!

    I am working on a SDFT "tweak"...not a "tear" but jeeze, it is taking plenty long enough. He is my one and only, he lives at my house, there are no others nearby. I have not been riding. We had just had our "turning point" winter down in Aiken-FINALLY we were clicking and he was going and it was really exciting and finally fun. He did this injury in his paddock on March 30th. We've done the ultrasounds (3 so far), stall rest, Surpass, hand walking, small paddock turn out. Yesterday I got on his back. O Joy! It was delicious. He is SUCH a good boy, he has w.a.l.k.e.d this entire time. I get to walk for quite a while and soon can start throwing in a couple of trot steps. I am freaked-out-nervous about starting too much too soon but SO FAR so good...Knock on wood...My horse has developed an impressive batch of ulcers through this process (had him scoped at our last tendon check appointment) so I've added a pretty penny to the rehab process but at least he feels better. Fingers crossed for you...
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    11,164

    Thumbs up

    The Back to Work book is great, and a little humbling.

    "If you need it, get instruction on how to handle and lead a laid-up horse. TAKE NO CHANCES on getting hurt yourself and/or reinjuring the tendon (or even just losing sleep worrying about reinjuring the tendon.). If you wonder if it's possible to hand walk without drugs or without a chain or outside the arena, DON'T DO IT. Be 100% sure before you do something. At my barn we remind each other to never cut corners with any horse, healthy or injured. Notice when you are thinking about cutting a corner. Don't do it.

    Use tranq and Omeprazole (said before in some great COTH threads).

    Do look at the whole horse, including foot angles and shoeing.

    Keep a daily diary of exactly what is going on with the horse - good reference. Include medical stuff and behavior".-quote Event More
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    GOOD LUCK! You CAN do this.

    Some absolutely great thoughts!

    Any yes, it may be my imagination but having rehabbed a couple times, I found that I had better communication with those horses. A greater "team sense".
    Not that it helped with the rambunctious moments.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2011
    Posts
    62

    Default

    I have an extra copy of the book _Back to Work_. If you want to PM me your address I will send it to you and it's yours.

    I am about to move and am trying to purge as many things as possible. Plus, I understand how hard it is to have an injured horse, so I hope it helps!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 27, 2011
    Posts
    15

    Default Great Advice, as Always!

    Man, COTH'ers are the best. Invaluable advice.

    Generally I do keep a journal, but I had slacked off a bit in the last month of daily icing/handwalking. At the very minimum I can and will record the length of both icing and handwalking, his demeanor, and the status of heat and swelling. When the second opinion vet came yesterday, she got a good laugh when she asked for the background and I pulled out my "book." However, she said she really appreciated it when clients were that prepared!

    I have to agree that opportunities will arise for me to ride other's horses. Being quasi new to my barn (6 months) I think that my showing up 1-2 times every single day to hand walk and care for my horse is speaking volumes to the other boarders about how much this means to me. When you "only" have one horse, what else is there for you to do?

    And as you have pointed out, this is a huge opportunity to increase my own knowledge. Having this happen so early in the game in my riding career could be an advantage- I am learning some invaluable lessons, which will certainly influence every step I take moving forward, from how I want to warm up in the future to finding a good vet, to what red flags I will look for when I look to purchase another horse.

    I most certainly will be looking at tranqs when it comes time for tack walking. So far, he's been a perfect gentleman with hand-walking, but I have been well advised that even the steady eddies can pull some tricks after a lay-up!

    One huge surprise for me is the help I've received from my non-horsey husband. He generally grumbles about the time and $ I devote to my passion, but he really came around when this all happened, and I see us getting stronger as well.

    Life, it's a learning process...
    Sit up and kick on! ~Phoebe Buckley



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2006
    Location
    Saco, Maine
    Posts
    4,729

    Default

    "...One huge surprise for me is the help I've received from my non-horsey husband. He generally grumbles about the time and $ I devote to my passion, but he really came around when this all happened, and I see us getting stronger as well..."

    Hahaa. My non-horsey husband was just in charge of my 30 minutes-2xday- hand walking for *10* days while I went to CT to help with our newest grand child and his 2 siblings. It is so great when these men rise to the occasion. I guess they know how INSANE these damn animals can make us. AND how happy when things are working...
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2007
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    2,546

    Default

    I can't add much to the above. One has to really love these animals and this sport because sooner or later something like this happens to everyone. I found that leasing a horse helped the rehab healing times (suspensories x 2) for my former guy seem not quite as bad. I had something to ride and could mentally sort of back off my "hurry up and heal" impatience. Hang in there, just take it one day at a time.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2009
    Location
    Gray Court, SC
    Posts
    891

    Default

    I'll just add the the chorus. My mare was out for 10 months with astrained ligament. Three months of stall rest with just two walks a day for 10 minutes to start. I did not have the same opportunity to ride (full time job, little experience, and budget) so I used the time to just spend time with Mercedes. I groomed, hung out at the barn and helped, and just learned patience. To help me cope I put a calendar up with a big circle around the day the vet would check her next; an X through each day. I had three circles to get through.

    They day I got to walk her in tack was pure joy. Two more months and the vet said okay. We entered a dressage test a month later and she took blue. It was healing for both of us.

    As a side note, desperate to ride I took up on a horse with the intent to go to a long format show. As a rider I was not ready and I pushed to much, but I also discovered there are crazy horses out there. This guy put such a fear in me, ... it took a long time to get past it. Today my mare is retired at 24+ and she deserves it. Accept what is, take it one day at a time. Sounds like you already got that positive view back. All the best to you both.
    Last edited by JP60; Jun. 24, 2012 at 09:00 AM. Reason: editing



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2010
    Location
    Horse Heaven
    Posts
    1,926

    Default

    Oh, so sorry for you and your horse. Not sure if these examples will be helpful -- but here goes....

    I have spent months in a wash stall cold hosing a variety of horses that are now back in work (as a barn rat at various barns). Everyone remained cautiously optimistic during those long months of waiting. In two cases the vets were not able to pinpoint what the injury was! But the horses did recover because of the rehab care.

    Currently riding a retired UL eventer that spent over a year recovering from fracture in leg earlier in his career (someone was there for him, doing the day-to-day care). He is spending his retirement in light work teaching riders the ropes. A crooked legged TB at that. I marvel at his history and his gentle work ethic. His current riders are in debt to those earlier caretakers who were in the trenches for him.

    It is a precarious emotional roller coaster -- but often does end in sunshine. Best wishes and hang in there.

    To keep costs in line -- are you at a barn where you can exercise horses for a trainer / fellow riders who need the assistance. Any chance of trading horse care for riding opportunities? Are there less expensive boarding situations to reduce costs?



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    8,943

    Default Sunshine Jingles & AO ~ for your horse and you ~

    Sunshine JINGLES & AO ~

    One day at a time ~ be kind to yourself ~ this is not a quick or easy assignment ~

    BUT YOU can do this ~ plan your work and work your plan and ((hug)) that horse ~
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2000
    Location
    Upper Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    3,027

    Default

    I can commiserate...I think the whole "not knowing" part is the hardest. You're in limbo...every day seems like forever. You want definitive answers and that's the one thing you can't get, whether it's a diagnosis or how long rehab is going to take.

    My forever pony Rally, who I've had since he was 4 months old (he's 4 now), came in about 3 weeks ago with the mildest of scrapes on the outside of his hind leg; however, there was significant swelling. He was sound on it, though. I spoke with my veterinarian and we decided to treat by cold hosing it, wrapping it while he was in (he was on night turnout), and administering a week's worth of antibiotics (SMZs) and antiinflammatories. My vet felt it was okay to keep riding him as movement really helped keep the swelling down and because Rally was sound.

    Fast forward a week and a few days, instead of getting better, the wound has become larger, expanding to three times the size it was originally. In addition, Rally had become very lame. I'd noticed he seemed NQR when I had ridden him 3 days before; he'd had the next day off, and by the following day, he was definitely lame under saddle.

    My vet came out immediately and radiographed the leg. We were both concerned there was a bone chip trying to make it's way out. However, the cannon and splint bones we're perfectly "clean" and the swelling seemed superficial. No tendons or ligaments were involved but we'd known that from the start. We started Rally on doxycycline and antiinflammatories. However, 2 days later the wound opened on its own and we decided that going in surgically and taking a look at what was going on was the best option.

    So a week ago Friday, my boy had surgery under general anesthesia, which was so stressful to watch. My wonderful vet found a good amount of "dead" tissue underneath the skin and irritated bone on the splint bone, which he scraped. He stitched everything up and left a small incision on the left to keep the skin from being overly stretched and allow drainage.

    Right now, we in the middle of 2 weeks of stall rest...just finished up the antibiotics and antiinflammatories. Bandage changes and light therapy every 48 hours; standing wraps 24/7. Hand grazing every day and ace in the morning to keep an energetic youngster IN his stall. He is still lame at the trot, which is to be expected. But I just live in fear that he'll never be right again, no matter how much I try to be positive.

    It's hard to see him in pain, and he doesn't understand why he can't go out for turnout and why I saddle up another pony to ride (thankfully, we have 3 ponies--so I'm able to ride our young driving pony that is a year older than Rally to help me stay in shape and also give my mind a break from worrying so much). We have no idea how long it will take Rally to recover.

    Others are right in that you do develop a different relationship with your horse/pony. I do a lot of grooming, massage, hand grazing...so our relationship is less about "work" and more about just hanging out together. Rally is so funny and loves to play with whatever he can get a hold off...he makes me laugh even when I'm sad.

    The end of this week the stitches come out and we reevaluate where we go from here. It's been such a short period of time but, as I said earlier, it seems like it's been forever. Horses give us our happiest moments and also our most difficult. We invest our hearts and souls in them, and their pain and suffering is ours as well. You quickly realize that it's not about the riding as much as just seeing your equine friend healthy and sound again.

    My best wishes are with you.
    Kelly Soldavin Harvest Moon Farm
    www.harvestmoonfarmpa.com



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 21, 2011
    Posts
    98

    Default

    Yep, been there done that, more times than I really want to remember.

    The main thing I learned is to seek out the best veterinary care available, even if it's inconvenient and/or more expensive. I was blessed early on with a vet who was aggressive about referring serious injuries to the world-class equine hospital 2 hours away. I've stuck to that approach through moves around the country, often to the annoyance of the local general vets who weren't so openminded. It's paid off--in spite of three "career ending" injuries and half a dozen less serious ones, my 'heart horse' is sound for light riding at 23.

    Has your vet discussed the various "high tech" therapeutic options available today? It might be that none of them are suitable, or affordable, but IMO any vet worth dealing with will at least mention things like shockwave, IRAP, stem cell, and laser therapy. I've done all except IRAP (which didn't exist then) at different times. Stem cell was a brand new experiment when the horse above had it--I agreed because the prognosis for his suspensory core lesion was otherwise "poor". It healed well enough for him to event

    The most common mistake I see relatively novice owners make is unquestioningly following advice, whether from a vet or a trainer/barn manager. Since you've had a second opinion vet out, it sounds like you're already getting past this. Ask lots of questions, and keep asking until you get answers that make sense--to you and to your horse.

    Other than that, lots of good advice already offered that I won't repeat. Good luck!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr. 30, 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3,131

    Default

    Good Luck OP!
    You have a great attitude. I have found that time spent helping a horse is always rewarded, the relationship definitely benefits. Maybe something else will come up for riding, you never know till you look.
    Keep you chin up, you are a hero to your boy.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2006
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    5,053

    Default

    Just coming out the other side of a SDFT rehab-- we jumped a mini course this past weekend!

    Here is a blog post I wrote about the process... it is not unlike the 5 stages of grieving.
    http://teamtacot3d.blogspot.com/2011...ess-rehab.html



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2005
    Posts
    278

    Default Chin up

    Easy for me to say, but I'm the survivor of a front suspensory. It took almost 8 months -- stall rest, hand walking (with drugs), walking under saddle, incremental trotting, incremental cantering. Yesterday my horse finished a tough BN event...sailing over his x-c fences. Good luck!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    13,234

    Default

    Been there...done that ...bought more than one T-shirt.

    Been through this or similar issues on muliple horses (at times, more than one horse at once!).

    Things that I have learned....sending them off to a top knotch re-hab facility may be hard on you, but is sooooooooooooooo much easier and better for them. They are calmer, the good places can easily do the consistent long slow work needed....and I do believe their chances for a full recovery are far better.

    Cut the grain, up the hay, keep them on a fat supplement and a good protien supplement like Tri-amino. Keep good hay in front of them all time...use a slow feed hay net if they are easy keepers.

    Drugs are your friend. Do not have ego...turn to chemical assistance as soon as there is an inkling of them losing their marbles.

    Have the best vet help. I have great vets...and have done every top treatment there is (IRAP, PRP, shockwave etc) to help my horses but you do have to always balance costs, risks and proven benefits.

    Good luck.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    13,234

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KellyS View Post

    Right now, we in the middle of 2 weeks of stall rest...just finished up the antibiotics and antiinflammatories. Bandage changes and light therapy every 48 hours; standing wraps 24/7. Hand grazing every day and ace in the morning to keep an energetic youngster IN his stall. He is still lame at the trot, which is to be expected. But I just live in fear that he'll never be right again, no matter how much I try to be positive.
    Try not to worry...these sort of injuries take a while. I had one that did a puncture wound to the bone. The start of a small bone infection even though we treated with antibiotics right away. It hurts...and it hurts for a while. Took my guy about 3 months stall rest and aggressive antibiotics but he fully recovered from that. My understanding at the time was that most recover fine.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



Similar Threads

  1. Words of encouragement & jingles for 1st JR CDI!!!
    By Whitfield Farm Hanoverians in forum Dressage
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: Jan. 27, 2012, 01:12 AM
  2. Replies: 12
    Last Post: Sep. 1, 2010, 02:38 PM
  3. Little Encouragement --tendon rehab blues
    By Friday1 in forum Eventing
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: Nov. 18, 2009, 11:20 PM
  4. SDFT injury and upward slopes
    By Ritazza in forum Horse Care
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Nov. 11, 2009, 06:02 PM
  5. OPINIONS Definately Welcomed!
    By KielysDream in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 275
    Last Post: Feb. 8, 2007, 12:00 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
randomness