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Update: Suspensory Rehab Question

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  • Update: Suspensory Rehab Question

    A little back story first: Panache and I had a rotational fall in June and people on the ground said she reached out with her left front to keep herself from rolling over me. She was lame that next week with no improvement using bute or rest. Two weeks post-fall the vet came out to do a lameness work up and tentatively diagnosis is a left front suspensory, not awful but there. Immediately puts us on stall rest. A week later comes out with an ultrasound to confirm. Gives us 30 more days of stall rest then start handwalking, five minutes first week and increase by five minutes each week. Then start replacing five minutes at a time the hand walk with under saddle. Fast forward to now and she is now worked up to trotting about five minutes and hasn't taken a lame step since July.

    Now the issue: My workload has increased DRASTICALLY and I'm lucky to make it to the barn twice a week. At best I was doing 5-6 days a week, generally more like 4-5 days. I didn't increase the duration of work until after five rides. She even did really well with the side saddle we messed around with last week. A few things have "spooked" her and she canters off a few steps... still trots out 100% sound afterward. ETA: we walk for at least 20 minutes before trotting.

    And finally, the question: Am I doing more harm than good if I stick with increasing the workload every five rides? Yes, I am planning to talk with my vet about this on Monday... just wanted to get some ideas.

    Thanks in advance!!
    Last edited by JumpWithPanache; Nov. 30, 2010, 10:02 AM. Reason: forgot a detail
    "Beware the hobby that eats."
    Benjamin Franklin

  • #2
    When my gelding injured his rt hind suspensory, I was given pretty much the exact same rehab homework as you. I was pretty darn good at sticking to it every single day though. It was pretty miserable. I can't really offer an opinion because I hand walked 7days/wk, per the vet, then sat on him probably 5 days/wk.

    The thing about these soft tissue injuries is that you really need to get them moving enough to push the boundaries, but not so much to overload and re-injure. My vet definitely let me know that I needed to commit at least 5-6 days per week, or there would be a higher chance of healing "too tight" thus not being as athletic as before. Is there no one that you could pay, or owe a huge favor, to get them to sit on your mare, or maybe hand walk her, those extra 3-4 days/week?

    So...if I'm understanding correctly, every five rides would be every third week, right? I'm not vet, but my understanding is that would just not be sufficient to give her the best chance possible.

    If it makes you feel any better, my gelding returned to 100% and is still progressing in his training! (He was very green when it happened)
    The best is yet to come


    • Original Poster

      Thanks. It's just in this past week that the workload's gone through the freaking roof, so hopefully no harm done yet. Since things may continue this way I would like to find someone willing to sit on her. The hard part is that she gets really spicy during the winter, so not sure if anyone will want to get on her. Vet is very, vey optimistic that our 3' goals are still valid.
      "Beware the hobby that eats."
      Benjamin Franklin


      • #4
        Oh yes, I wouldn't be worried then. I thought you meant it'd been 2 rides/wk for a while.

        I have absolutely no data to back this up, but I have a theory on soft tissue injuries. I think the reason they have such a bad reputations for being career-ending, or just having a bad prognosis, is that people don't follow the advice to a tee. Too many either don't do it correctly for whatever reason, or don't want to be bothered rehabbing themselves, so they leave in the care of a third party that certainly does not have a vested interest.

        It's like birth control- yeah, there are a lot of stories out there about getting prego while on BC- but let's be honest. How many people do you think honestly follow the regimen to an absolute tee? That's right, not very many. So the actual effective rate is skewed by people who don't take it absolutely perfectly.

        That's just my 2 cents
        The best is yet to come


        • #5
          I've done three suspensory rehabs, and each time, the key was as simc24 described, consistent movement. I also had to work my horse in the winter, and he was still on stall rest, so I know what that's like. We tried ACE and reserpine to help take the edge off. I hated the ACE--he just seemed like a drunken sailor, and found the reserpine much more helpful.

          The problem with suspensory injuries is the build up of scar tissue that can prevent that area from being as elastic as it was pre-injury. That's where the right amount of work comes in. I'd make sure your horse is at least handwalked on the days you can't get out there.

          Best of luck!


          • Original Poster

            Well, I talked to my vet yesterday and she's not worried about some sporadic breaks from active work. Since Panache has been sound since returning to under saddle exercise she even suggested that we think about a bigger turnout than her 24x24 lame horse paddock. We're going to go back on Reserpine for a week before trying though so she's a bit more "relaxed". Ace would be a good option for sedation purposes except that she gets clumsy and we don't want her to make an oops. For under saddle work her recommendation is to get three or so consistent rides at the current level of exercise before making an increase. So for the week Panache wasn't ridden we'd need to wait a few rides before bumping up. The plan now is to re-ultrasound in January to get a seven-month update and hopefully cleared to canter, then again in April which is when we expect the rehab process to be getting her back to a full work schedule and (knock on wood) some light jumping again. As it is, we're going slower on the rehab than our vet originally laid out for us, specifically because of time constraints. Thanks for the thoughts everyone!
            "Beware the hobby that eats."
            Benjamin Franklin


            • #7
              my horse has lymes

              My horse has been sick with lymes started in september,he got better after 45 days of doxy but got sick again twelve day after done with doxy. Hes now back on doxy but isnt doing very good hes still very sore and stiff in his gaits. Its been three months iam wondering if someone else has had the same problem with lymes in there horse. Do they ever get back to normal or is it on going battle. sassy45


              • #8
                Just a thought about Ace and clumsiness. I also had to bring a horse back from a soft tissue injury and had her on reserpine. As we went off reserpine and was riding again (still in a limited capacity) my vet wanted me to ace her. I was really hesitant about using Ace. But I did it and found that I only need .25 cc -- I use one of her tiny allergy shot syringes. It just takes the flightiness away, but she feels perfectly fine to ride. If I give her .5, she's asleep. Apparently she's a cheap drunk. So you might try acing your horse just a tiny amount and see if that helps stop clumsiness but still give you less reactivity.