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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2009

    Default Bringing your horse back into work

    Just curious to hear what everyone's vet recommended for a bringing-back-into-work program after a 6 month or more stall rest for a tendon or ligament injury.

    I'm looking for how walk work progressed, when trot work was added and what restrictions were on trot work (e.g., no turns at trot), how trot work was incrementally increased (how much, how often) and when canter work was introduced.

    Lastly - when was full turn out allowed in the timeline?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 5, 2012


    My guy's conditioning program is a little different as his problems were (very severe) in his back, but because of what looks like an old torn ligament, we are super careful with his joints. He does not work without his legs being wrapped. He gets one recovery/rest day per week. If he has bodywork (chiro or massage) or trimming/shoes, it is done on this day. I build up the workouts to progressive difficulty throughout the week. Two days before rest day is the most intense workout. I want to make sure he has another shorter workout the next day (before rest day) to try to work some of the lactic acid out of his muscles and prevent soreness and stiffness.

    Hopefully this will help a little despite the injury differences!

    Week 1- No weight on his back from me. Walking only. Hills. Lots and lots of hills combined with flat fields. I just lead him with his lead rope. It's a great workout for me, and we work on ground manners at the same time.

    He was very sore from the work, but the number one thing both the vet and farrier insisted on was not backing off. Bringing him back into condition slowly but consistently. Upon the vet's recommendation, he got 1 gram of bute two of the days on week 1. My vet said this would be acceptable up through the first week. Just enough to help him work through the soreness and stiffness without resenting the work.

    Week 2- Basically week 1, but we added in very short trot sets on flat land. We also had a trail ride under saddle (walking only).

    Week 3- Basically week 2, but we are adding in more walking with short trot sets under saddle. No real indoor work yet and not asking for much bending, etc.

    So far everything is progressing very well and I can already see his stamina is improving. I am careful to be flexible in the plans when he is sore but not backing off. If he is very sore, I just go back to hand walking him over hills. He is usually relunctant at first, but is able to work through it and I can tell he is tired but feeling much better for having done a little work.

    And if you have any questions or something seems even a little off, never be afraid to call your vet. You'll feel much better knowing for certain something is just a normal symptom of bringing him back into work as opposed to inflamming an old injury.

    Best wishes!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 14, 2009


    I've done a few different injuries, both soft tissue & fractures. I always went on the conservative side and added 1-2 weeks more of... before increasing.
    Vet said;
    hand graze 2 weeks I would do 4
    walk 10 minutes 2x daily for 2 weeks I would do 3 weeks
    Start under saddle @ week 5, I'd wait to week 7

    Your Vet is best to give a general outline of work-as he knows the injury.
    And as above don't be afraid to call w/ questions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2009


    Just to clarify: I am working closely with a vet. Three in fact I was just curious to hear what everyone's else's programs are like. That's all.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2009


    I've successfully rehabbed my horse from tendon tears on 2 different occassions.
    Same leg, different tendon.

    I too have allowed more time than what the vet said, just to be sure. I
    handwalked for an extra 2 weeks, etc. I also did a lot of walking under
    tack, and I was careful to not do any circles or tight turns for a while. I
    would ride around the back pasture fenceline, or along the trails, and try
    to stick to doing long/straight areas, with very few corners. After doing
    the walking under tack for a full 2/3 weeks, then I'd add trotting, but only
    on the long/straight areas. I'd come back to walk in the corners. At first
    only 5 minutes of trotting, then 10 minutes, then 20 minutes ...

    After a few weeks of this, and barring any swelling, heat or anything, I'd start
    adding some big loopy circles and such.

    I didn't do circles or anything only towards the uninjured leg, because I thought
    that would create an unevenness that would be harder to fix later.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 27, 2010

    Default Great Site for rehab plans

    Hi, I used this to rehab my horse. They also have different plans for 30 day rehabs, 60 days, 90 days, and 4 month programs. I did the 6 month to be conservative. Horse was monitored by ultrasound before cantering and then before turnout started.

    Hope this helps!

    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2009


    RB - nice chart; I may stash that in a file somewhere.

    I rehabbed a horse last spring from a stifle soreness, one month of stall rest and vet instructed to rehab as if it were soft tissue.
    We went back to under saddle for a month BEFORE turnout allowed.

    First week was walk only. Second week some trot allowed, ONLY straight lines down the long side, walk corners and short side.
    Fourth week some canter allowed, same as trot, straight line only.
    Then onto big circles here and there, but we did not do much in the way of lateral work for several months. When I could I did some of the walk and trot work out in our bigger pastures using our (very small) hills.
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 30, 2003


    This is amazing timing. I was just wondering the same thing. Sport has his ultrasound coming up next week and we are hoping that we will be able to start rehab work. He has been doing some handwalking for a few months now but we are now almost 9 months since his injury, so it would be nice to have him exert his energy in ways other than trying to kill me while handwalking.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2006
    Northern Virginia


    This is a thread from when I was dealing with rehabbing my mare's suspensory. If you scroll down to LDavis's post there is a fantastic description of bringing her horse back to work which includes how much trotting/walking/etc., and how much she increased it each week.

    I actually used that as a template and made a spreadsheet to keep at the barn where I could track our progress. It was a very big help since I had someone else helping with the riding. We just checked off each ride as it was completed and followed the schedule.

    Good luck! The endless walking is boring, but it's worth it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 5, 2007
    Jersey girl!


    I am currently just past half way in our walking work for rehabbing a torn tendon in Dublin's foot...

    Week 1 - Started with 10 mins of walking under saddle
    Week 2 - 15 mins daily
    Week 3 - 20 mins daily
    Week 4 - 25 mins daily
    Week 5 - 30 mins daily
    Week 6 - 35 mins daily
    Week 7 - 40 mins daily
    Week 8 - 45 mins daily

    Week 9 will be the 45 mins of walking + 5 minutes of trotting down the long side. At this point we will re-evaluate. If he is sound, then more than likely the stem cell worked and we are on track. If not, then we need another injection and to basically start over. Right now we are at week 6 so we have a few more to go...
    Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~
    Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
    "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
    I love my Dublin-ator

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