I'm not really sure I can put "less anal" on this horse board
How many use the old remedy of time to heal a mystery lameness given they have the resources to turn the horse out for an extended period of time and have other horses to ride?
I have begun to go down the expensive (1K so far) and exhausting rabbit hole of figuring out a subtle issue that has no definite diagnosis. I'm due to spend more soon on a check up, but thinking I may just let mother nature do her thing and see what happens given that 30 days rest has yielded improvement.
Not my horse so the treatment decisions are not mine to make, but I'm boarding for the winter a nice teenaged TB that belongs to a friend. He's been sort of NQR on and off for a year or more, punctuated by periods of actual lameness. The working diagnosis is "something in the foot" but expensive diagnostics are not in the cards.
So his shoes are off and he's going out 24/7 at my place for the winter, maybe longer. Initially footsore, which is understandable, he seems to be doing well after about 6 weeks and certainly is comfortable enough to gallop and play. The test will come when we actually ask him to do something, but nobody's in any hurry.
I kept my trainer's upper level horse here for 8 months last year recovering from an injury. He's doing well now, may not be eventing at the CCI*** level any more but he's sound so far and the one thing that did happen with the "Dr. Grass" remedy is that his hooves are in great shape now!
I think the "put them out at grass for a year" method of injury management still has its place, if the opportunity exists.
I did that with my previous horse. He would flex positive on all fours, and was constantly lame and feeling crappy. After many exams, treatments, infiltrations and all sorts of other expensive stuff, I decided maybe he needed a rest. So I turned him out at a friend's boarding facility.
He was there for 4 months just being a horse. His muscle obviously disappeared and he had no hooves when we put him in again. If I did it again, I would put him at another place where I would be sure he would have a watchful eye on him, but anyways...
He was much better after those four months, which gave the vet a chance to actually figure out what was wrong with him. He was treated for his sacro-iliac and I sold him to a person who is using him as a show horse on barroque shows. We keep in contact and apart from the routine stuff, he's been awesome.
I've kicked them out, but only when I've known what's wrong, and that it was unlikely that they'd hurt themselves further.
Case #1: When Blush only had 3 weeks of a good response following her second round of neck injections, I gave up and turned her out. She's still not sound--we did not expect her to be--but she is comfortable out in the field and does just fine as a retired horse. At least she has not gotten worse, which is nice.
Case #2: Dove was diagnosed with a stifle injury on her prepurchase. Not terribly surprising (she was right OTT) and the vet felt she had an excellent prognosis with some time. Kicked her out and we'll see what we have in the spring. We may still need to use IRAP on that joint, but I was not going to jump and do that first. Also waiting and seeing on her probable ulcers, as downtime and grass can be very effective on those, too.
I wouldn't be afraid to give a horse 6 - 12 months off, though, even if I wasn't quite sure what was going on, but I would want to rule out things that would get WORSE with that sort of plan, first. I'd also want to make sure the horse was out in a safe environment and had enough space to really be OUT (versus in a smallish paddock.)
not sure what all you have done so far - and i agree with others that 1000 is just the beginning with a mystery condition. i would be sure that it is not a condition that would get worse with turnout - like something torn within the foot. however, i think putting them out and letting them just be a horse is one of the best things to do. lots of space, fresh air, running around and learning how to use their body in natural ways. they get themselves right. good luck!
Mother Nature can heal a lot if things. Honestly, I kind of feel like we may be overdoing the specialist thing with horses these days. I can see it for a competition horse, but a lot of backyard pleasure horses really can heal just fine with common sense, good caretaking and time as they can with using stuff like magnets,laser therapy or constant chiro visits.
Not my wallet, so to each their own, but I have seen a lot of stuff done that didn't do much more than relieve you of your money.
I remember my vet saying, when Keebler was rehabbing from a navicular bursa injury/surgery, that he would have setbacks due to breaking up adhesions and that a lot of times in the "old days" turning a horse out and just leaving them to it allowed them to naturally break up adhesions on their own schedule, with days where they'd run around and days when they wouldn't.