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making the transition to field board? Suggestions?

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  • making the transition to field board? Suggestions?

    I decided to let Dr. Green have a stab at my horse to make his hind suspensories better. After 10 months of careful rehab, he came up sore in his one suspensory. Last ultrasound 30 days ago didn't show much of anything when he came up sore but a little inflammation and vet looked at him yesterday and said he was 60% percent better from last months setback but thought an ultrasound now would be overkill. Vet said he is healing, just at his own speed and thought to reevaluate him in the spring. He is currently on night turnout for about 10-12 hours. I was thinking of just turning him out full time with a quiet companion to see what I got in the spring. He would have a beautiful hilly field with a large run in shed. I'm just worried that it might be too much for his injury to be out 24/7 and in a hilly environment? He is an althetic horse but one that is sensible. His would be companion is a mare who is super quiet and rather not do anything but walk around. I'm thinking that the constant movement on his suspensories would be good now at this point? Vet was not against it as long as he was not running around. Any other suggestions to ease the transition to field board?

  • #2
    Someone with more knowledge might chime in here, but I don't think hills are good for suspensory injuries. I think flat ground would be more conducive to healing.


    • #3
      Would you want him on field board for monetary reasons or you think it will aid in his rehab?

      If you could accurately predict how your horse will move around the field you might have an easier time with the outcome but unfortunately horses have a mind all of their own. Even our best prediction can be futile. Personally speaking, my horse would prob do more damage with too little turn out than being out 24/7. I find many horses trend this way. If he runs or plays enough out there, I don't see much difference with there being hills or not.
      "Truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is." Sir Winston Churchhill


      • #4
        A bunch of questions for you: how "busy" is the environment, meaning, how likely is it that environmental factors would set them off? Would it be just your horse and his mare buddy in a big peaceful field all by themselves? what would happen if the mare was brought in - would your boy have to cope for an hour or a day by himself? What about the opposite - if he comes in, will she flip out? does their pasture border on other pastures where the horses might get ripping around if they get cold on a rainy day in October? kids on ATV's? combines and spraying crops in spring and fall? I'm just trying to think of all the things that get our otherwise placid rough board bunch to lift their heads out of the grass for more than a heartbeat.

        My experience with rough board herds is they are usually very mellow. Not having to be cooped up half the time, their energy level smooths out a lot and unless something sets them off, they don't run around much simply for the joy of running. They do, on occasion, get a wild hair if a pack of bicycles goes by on the road or if they get cold on a windy, rainy day. It's a hard decision in your shoes because the "work hardening" that takes place during the 95% of the time that they're walking around nicely stuffing their faces can potentially go out the window in a heartbeat. But that could happen with 12/12 turnout, too. My horse tore a high hind suspensory years ago, while on rough board in a 10-acre, mildly hilly pasture (first snow they played in the parts of the woods they don't normally go into) and after 6 months of carefully monitored rest and rehab, we put him back in that pasture. He had one tiny setback and lived the rest of his life like any other creaky event horse.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. The mare is actually mine so I would bring in him and the mare if I decided to ride her. The pasture is set way back from the other fields so nearby horses and distractions would be limited. The reason is both monetary and for rehab. I can basically do a two-fer-one for the cost of stall board to field board. The mare has a chronic cough that is worsened by stall board so this would work out for her too. I am just concerned about the hills. He is in a relatively flat 2 acre field now and the field he would go in is about 5 acres with a gentle to moderate hill. Thanks Betysk, you give me hope! I'll take creaky over lame anytime!

          My game plan if I do this is to turn him out in current pasture Friday night, then bring in for breakfast Saturday am, sedate him and the mare, and turn out Saturday am in new field? Watch and pray?


          • #6
            Assuming your vet has considered DSLD and it's not that, but truly "just" a suspensory strain, please speak to him/her first about the benefits/drawbacks of your plan.

            I've rehabbed suspensories before and hills, soft/muddy ground, uncontrolled exercise were off the table.

            Good luck.
            Patience pays.


            • #7
              Hill and soft tissue repair are not to be used in the same sentence.
              chaque pas est fait ensemble


              • #8
                I only have experience with one -- bilateral high hind suspensories, allegedly the worst kind. We did a facsciotomy and very strict rehab -- the difference was that he was sound fairly early on, u/s progressed well, and he never had a setback.
                When he started turn out again, it was flat, with quiet companions, on good ground.
                That was probably 4 months out. We didn't put him back in "his" field, which is 70 acres, plenty of hills, and a typical rough board herd (as others have said, mostly very quiet but punctuated by occasional bouts of group exuberance), until we were 7 months in.
                He was back to w-t-c under saddle by then.

                The transition went really well, horse was so happy, and we never looked back. But we were pretty far into "fixed," in terms of soundness, progress on ultrasound, and being back in work.

                Good luck!
                The big man -- my lost prince

                The little brother, now my main man


                • #9
                  Is it possible to crossfence part of the field with electric fencing so he can't get to the hills?


                  • #10
                    I had a horse who injured his suspensory on the right hand. We did all the possible treatments and rehab for months, with no serious improvement (we would treat, then rehab and when we started working 6 months later he was still lame). We finally decided to turn him out for the winter, 24/7. He was a stallion, so at a greater risk, but it was becoming very hard to keep him stabled and without any use. So thats what we did.

                    We brought him back 6 months later, and apart from being very thin, he was super, and I hadn't seen him so happy in a couple of months.

                    So my advise goes against what most people think is reasonable. Turn him out, he will keep himself moving and actually aid in the recovery. At least thats what happened for me, thankfully


                    • #11
                      The difference between 12-hour and 24-hour turnout is not that much. I really wouldn't be worried about adjustment issues if he's already out that much. As for the suspensory, that call really can only be made by your vet, who has seen the ultrasounds and knows how the lesion is healing already in response to 12-hour turnout.

                      Horses are always a gamble.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SwampYankee View Post
                        The difference between 12-hour and 24-hour turnout is not that much. I really wouldn't be worried about adjustment issues if he's already out that much. As for the suspensory, that call really can only be made by your vet, who has seen the ultrasounds and knows how the lesion is healing already in response to 12-hour turnout.

                        Horses are always a gamble.
                        This is how I feel as well. I do not think a horse out 24/7 will be more prone to galloping around and acting stupid than a horse that is stalled 14 hours a day, and then turned out for 10… just the opposite in fact. I would expect the 24/7 horse to be quieter, as it is not pent up for hours on end, and then released into freedom!

                        I would think the only thing you would need to worry about changing him over to 24/7 turn out would be increased grass intake.
                        APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                        • #13
                          my horses get 24/7 turnout all summer, both tb mares and they do fine. The first summer for each was rough but after that they've been fine. They get stalled in the winter/crappy spring months though.
                          "My ideal horse is the horse that I fall in love with again every morning when I see his face hanging over the stable door, looking for breakfast. " - Jim Wofford