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How to bring back a horse with a bowed tendion

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  • How to bring back a horse with a bowed tendion

    I have a Wbx/Han. Gelding that bowed his tendon last November. We did all the necessary rehabbing and now the horse is ready to come back to light work, and after that he can go back into regular training again.

    My question is, does anybody have a "protocol" of how you would bring this horse back. He has lost almost all of his back muscle from the extended stall rest and a large amount of muscle everywhere else.

    I have done some reading and research about bringing horses back. But I have found, since coming to this site, that there are a lot of knowledgeable people on here, so I would like to hear what you think.

  • #2
    With my TB that had a bow, we gave him off 8 to 12 months. After that I started him in the lunge ring with just a halter and lead line and we started to walk and trot for a couple rounds. I eventually built that up over 3 weeks to lunging him for about 5 to 7 minutes. After each lunge I cold hosed for 10 to 15 minutes let the leg dry and rubbed it. If I ever felt any heat (which I never did) I would have backed off until the leg was cold and tight and started again. Since I (at the time) was working so many horses have him out was no big deal! Just remember every horse is different and start slow, even when the horse is doing well, just stop b/c you don't want him hurt again. Aftercare is the big secret!!! Good luck, it can be done with time and care
    No Worries!

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    • #3
      boot him up on all fours when in work ridden or ground work

      work him over ground poles on the lunge - 7 down centre line and 3-5 in the corners work the horse widest side of the half moon or half circles int eh corners no tack
      so you can work him in hand on figure of eights in walk for a few weeks then in trot then
      add you tack then do the same and repeat
      then after about 6 weeks raise one side of opposite sides so it looks like this vvvv
      one month later then riase on end of the corners but always start with the corners widest side first then down and into the narrow end

      as the horse lift his foot -- your working the foot on all angles this inturn builds up mussles in the leg which is soon to carry your weight by adding the saddle in the middle of the exercises helps the horse to compensate for that extra weight this is a 3mth programme of in hand work

      for walk and trot - then go back to begining and raise the poles both ends
      so the higher leg action can then start to work and the mussles in the leg as he lifts up and over the pole rather than just his foot/feet

      3rd month
      once hes completed then go back to low poles on the ground do the same execises but this time your on him

      so walk one month trot the 2nd month--
      the 2nd exercises for the next two months after the 1stset of exercises which
      all of this must be done 20mins only each side - 2/3 times a week

      then 3rd month ridden in walk as said then 4mth ridden in trot and walk

      5th month
      you should then be ready for the more basic start up of foundatiion work ie wlak all paces trot all paces using the half halt so the horse learns to use himself - as normal like as in a restart or breaking in a youngster

      5mth should be able re start the work you left him on before his injry


      always run pass any exercise programme with your vet -----my programme is used via vets here in uk for rehabiing liagments tendon injuries and leg injuryies where by the horse is deemed he can go back into work

      theses exercises are building up good tissues and mussles to compensate for damaged tissues and mussles ie building the horse up from the foot upwards in order to continue in his work add the weigh of tack before yourself - then the horse slowly gets back into from with you on his back and then like isaid should be ready to work

      do please boot up your horse to help support his legs

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a horse that bowed both front tendons, then rebowed one of them shortly after he got back to doing a little under saddle work (the 2nd time, it was because my other horse kicked him right in the tendon -- boarding barn worker turned them out together, which was a big mistake). My vet pretty much gave me a plan for work that we followed and it was a slow ramp up -- started with handwalking, which we were doing during and after his treatments (we did shockwave and platelets). Trot work was introduced under saddle, starting with 5 minutes a day, and then increasing that by about 5 minutes every week. The whole time, I was monitoring the tendons and we backed off if anything looked angry (hot or puffy or different at all). I also was using a Game Ready ice therapy system after every ride to cool the legs down. If I didn't have the Game Ready available, I used ice boots.

        Once we got him up to 30 minutes of trotting (bookended always with 15 or 20 minutes of walking to warm up and cool down), we re-ultrasounded before going on. Up until then, he was in a stall with small paddock (12x18 or so), but after getting to 30 min of trotting and getting the ok from the vet, we were able to start the transition to turnout. We started cantering a little after that, and I always still to this day do lots of walking before and after any faster work under saddle.

        This horse has had a lot of other issues, so he has gone backwards a few times as we've dealt with other problems, but his tendons are doing well now 3 years after the first injury.

        You might check out the book "Back to Work" as it is a good read on what others have dealt with rehabbing other injuries. I also have Tom Ivers' Bowed Tendon book and found it helpful as well.

        Comment


        • #5
          I am in a similar situation, my mare has a small tear in her DDFT inside her hoof. We are only 6 weeks into the prescribed 5 months of stall rest, but I found a new opportunity that I'm thinking of trying.

          Swimming! There is a facility near us that has a pool for horses, they do a lot of standardbreds and now jumpers. I went over there today and checked it out. I have to talk to my vet, but I'm feeling really good about it. She has lost most of her topline as well and I would love it if at the end of her stall rest period she wasn't even worse off than she is now.

          Maybe this would be an option for you as well? It is no impact and apparently allows a great range of motion as well as cardiovascular conditioning. I'm very hopeful that this will help her stay in some semblance of physical (and mental!) condition while she can't do any moving around on the ground.

          Good luck with your rehab...
          TPR!
          Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc
          www.goodhorse.org

          Comment


          • #6
            ETA: I am not sure now that i reread your post - is the completely thru his rehab and ready to go back to work? or is he done with stall rest and ready to start the moving part of the rehab?

            my answer below is if he is ready to go back to work.

            my suggestion would be to (re)start him like he was a greenie. start with lunge work using side reins to build a topline, keep the work short and sweet, a few times/week then slowly over time build it back up to where he ended adding riding work once his topline is rebuilt, and follow the training scale.

            If you haven't ever started a horse before , you might get the Klimke young horse book as it lays out a schedule beautifully... also the Crosely book does the same ...

            the key is to build slowly and steadily taking no short cuts so the horse has the best chance for future soundness.

            good luck !

            if he is ready to start with his riding part of his rehab there are a couple really good resources online that i used when i was rehabbing..... i will see if i can find them....

            Comment


            • #7
              We are using Klimke's schedule sort of to restart our Friesian after major surgery and nearly a year off - it will be a long road back but he's doing very well...We're treating him like a young horse being backed for the first time, but then he doesn't have any leg considerations other than he needs to tighten his tendons back up (he had abdominal surgery, btw).

              Comment


              • #8
                At my work, we have not been allowed to lunge most bowed tendon horses at all until they are well into their riding again! Too much stress being on the circle all the time.

                The best people to talk to are the racing and eventing types. A local Olympic eventer has a program she swears by that begins with slow, steady work on quite hard ground. All our local vets agree work in soft sand is detrimental to dodgy tendons coming back into work.


                For the fitness, I'd second the swimming. The horse can't really hurt himself that way and a tiny amount of swimming is equal to a LOT of work on the ground. I'd be talking to an experienced event horse trainer/producer who has dealt with many tendon injuries and devising a program that builds strength and fitness up again, without compromising the healing of the tendon. But the biggest rule I have come across is, no sand, spend 3 months on hard ground to harden up the tendon. I know of a young horse recently who was supposed to have a slow steady fitness program completed on hard ground. The owners failed to do so and followed the program to a tee - but mostly in soft (not deep, just soft) sand. Sure enough, the tendon bowed again, and so much so this time that the vet basically said, get rid of her, she's just a broodmare now.
                Blog posts, updates & videos tweeted to all my followers on Twitter!www.OnceUponADressageDream.com ~ www.twitter.com/dressageblog
                www.youtube.com/cheekywb

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cat - OnceUponADressageDream View Post
                  At my work, we have not been allowed to lunge most bowed tendon horses at all until they are well into their riding again! Too much stress being on the circle all the time.

                  The best people to talk to are the racing and eventing types. A local Olympic eventer has a program she swears by that begins with slow, steady work on quite hard ground. All our local vets agree work in soft sand is detrimental to dodgy tendons coming back into work.


                  For the fitness, I'd second the swimming. The horse can't really hurt himself that way and a tiny amount of swimming is equal to a LOT of work on the ground. I'd be talking to an experienced event horse trainer/producer who has dealt with many tendon injuries and devising a program that builds strength and fitness up again, without compromising the healing of the tendon. But the biggest rule I have come across is, no sand, spend 3 months on hard ground to harden up the tendon. I know of a young horse recently who was supposed to have a slow steady fitness program completed on hard ground. The owners failed to do so and followed the program to a tee - but mostly in soft (not deep, just soft) sand. Sure enough, the tendon bowed again, and so much so this time that the vet basically said, get rid of her, she's just a broodmare now.
                  swimming is good but it better done under a hydrate pool under supervision as they work closely with vets hence why racing and eventing yards use them

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Short version once horse was allowed to be ridden:

                    One month of walking u/s, 40 min by end of month.

                    One month of slowly increasing trot work, starting with 5 min (and no turns) and ending with 20 minutes. No circles, figure-8's etc.

                    One month of introducing canter work, as for the trot work. Start subtracting from walk work so total time = 60 minutes

                    One month of "normal" flat work including circle, lateral work, counter-canter (gradually building).

                    Start jumping (this is NOT a dressage horse), again slowly. Allowed to lunge on large circle and do limited turnout once he was jumping 2'6" again. Have not lunged or really done turnout due to paranoia.

                    Longer version on my blog linked below.

                    Highly recommend the Back to Work book.
                    The Evil Chem Prof

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