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Bringing back a Hunter with a lower branch suspensory tear?

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  • Bringing back a Hunter with a lower branch suspensory tear?

    In July, I bought my friend's horse in a loss of use insurance auction. He had been on stall rest for almost a year and had started jumping again in late January and was completely sound. The vets found out and freaked out and said the horse needed more time off. There were huge disagreements with the prognosis of the horse and every vet had a different opinion. The horse was jumping around sound only 40 percent healed .. anyway they stopped jumping him and went back to flatting. His second MRI result showed healing but not all the way healed. They claimed loss of use and I picked him up. Basically, I pulled his shoes and sent him to a barn that turns out for roughly 8 hours a day.

    So on to my question. I had the vet come out in December and he said he was 90 to 100% healed. We gave him another 60 days off to be safe and I'm starting him back up this weekend. Vet said he was "pretty damn sound" on the longe and was pretty open to bringing him back however (longe or undersaddle). I'm leaning towards u/s because I don't want extra torque on that right front, but I was wondering how you all like to leg your horses back up. He has obviously lost quite a bit of muscle, and I for sure want to get on him and work on respecting the leg (something he wasn't good at with his previous owner), but do you have any exercises that would be good at the walk and later on at the trot, canter, poles and eventually jumping to really get that suspensory flexing and working without damage?

    Here's a a few pictures of him because he's cute


    Thank you! I really appreciate it!

  • #2
    He's really,really cute!My biggest thing is stay out of deep footing and no lunging.Best of luck!


    • #3
      he does look super cute!
      i would stay away form lunging anytime you have a tendon injury.
      alhough healed (i assume they ultrasounded it), it may have healed thicker and the tendons are never exactly the same after there is scaring, there elascitity is lessened. but that does not mean he cant be a perfectly sound horse you just treat him carefully.
      i beleive its important to strenghten the whole body without stressing the injured leg. a tendon injury is not a fan of over extension so i would start him at a collected trot. walking up and down hills is beneficial. avoid tight turns and small scircles. typically we start by only trotting the long sides of the arena and walking the turns. the upward and downward transitions also help with the muscle building that then need after time off. do everything symectrically so you work exactly the same amount in both ways.
      walking over raised calavettis is also good and does not over extend the tendon.

      i also beleive in wrapping after work, and if there is any thickening both shockwave teatments and sweating the leg can help tighten it up.

      best of luck, he looks like a great horse and is lucky to have a second chance with you.


      • #4
        This is our rehab routine, which has had great sucess with several tendon injuries returning to full performance.

        Ryu Equestrian & Facebook Page
        Breeding Horses Today, for the Equestrian Sport of Tomorrow.
        Osteen & Gainesville, Florida.


        • #5
          Originally posted by MCarverS View Post
          This is our rehab routine, which has had great sucess with several tendon injuries returning to full performance.

          THIS IS A GREAT ARTICLE. Someone ought to put it in one of those "sticky" things so it can be here forever.....
          We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


          • #6
            Originally posted by 2tempe View Post
            THIS IS A GREAT ARTICLE. Someone ought to put it in one of those "sticky" things so it can be here forever.....
            I'm flattered! I thought it was about time I shared our secret to successful rehabs :-)
            Ryu Equestrian & Facebook Page
            Breeding Horses Today, for the Equestrian Sport of Tomorrow.
            Osteen & Gainesville, Florida.


            • #7
              Running a rehab in California I think McCarverS article is FANTASTIC and very similar to our protocol. Good luck!
              Specialized Equine Rehabilitation, Reproduction, and Fitness in the Wine Country of Northern California


              • Original Poster

                McarverS: That's incredibly helpful!

                Thank you for the suggestions y'all


                • #9
                  This is the go to guy for lameness in our area.

                  You can scroll to the bottom of the page and choose a rehab program depending on the seriousness of the issue and how long the horse has had off. Your own vet could probably give you the appropriate time frame for his rehab and then you could choose one of these programs.
                  Faibel Farms Custom Fly Bonnets
                  Like us on Facebook!


                  • #10
                    What my vet gave me for a collateral ligament injury was:
                    • Month of walking, starting at 30 minutes and ending at 40 minutes.
                    • Month of trotting, starting with 5 minutes (no turns), and then 10 (with turns), then 15, then 20.
                    • Month of cantering, starting with 5 minutes and continuing on as for trot. At some point, this would put you at >60 minutes, so started to decrease amount of walk to keep total at 60 minutes.
                    • Month of normal flat work, gradually introducing circles, lateral work, counter canter, flying changes.
                    • Then jump.
                    • No lunging or turnout until jumping 2'6". Lunge on huge circle. Turn out in relatively small area (I live in CA, there's no space for horses to be turned out for long periods of time, so they can bit a bit unsettled). Haven't lunged. Only turnout is in a relatively small paddock.

                    The month of trotting took three, due to various delays. The month of cantering took 1.5. Details in the blog linked in my signature.

                    Follow whatever your vet gives you and be religious about it. Get a watch that reads seconds and time yourself. If I had more than 2 days off due to rain, I went back a day for every day I lost (hence the month of trotting that took three).
                    The Evil Chem Prof


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks guys.. He has been getting turned out and doing whatever he wishes in the turn out.. We kind of got him and decided to just let him be a horse since he had been in a stall for an entire year. We drugged him the first day and put him in a little paddock and now he goes out in a big one with grass. Whatever happens, happens. I'm just glad that he is already walking and doing whatever else he wants to in turnout already, so that tendon is getting used.. At least I'm a little bit ahead there..

                      My vet just gave me rough numbers to follow and was pretty lax about it... I'm glad to have a set program for sure, but I just wanted to know ideas for working that tendon to give him the best chance of not getting re injured especially when we start jumping.

                      One more question.. My main horse is back at my other barn and I'm a full time college student, NCAA athlete and am 45 minutes away from both of them. Basically I'll ride this one monday, my jumper on tuesday, him on wednesday, jumper thursday and then both of them friday saturday and sunday. Is 4 to 5 days enough for a rehabbing horse?


                      • #12
                        That article is a pretty traditional rehab program, though perhaps starts trotting early than others. Ours is similar to Peggy's. We put a substantial base on by walking in the beginning (with a suspensory, ours are walking almost 50 minutes to an hour every day before we start trotting). I don't turn out until after they are w-t-c under tack comfortably, but our turnout options are big fields, so we have to be more conservative there. Make sure you take longer than you think you need - you'll do no harm by walking longer, and it'll help him leg back up consistently.


                        • #13
                          walking over raised cavalettis?

                          seahorse, you suggested walking over raised cavalettis. at what point in rehab? what does it do?

                          I, too, am bringing back a mare from suspensory injury. we've just about completed a month of 30 to 40 minute walking (including working up 10 minutes of trotting) in the ring. my vet wants me to keep it flat, with no hills yet. Hope to canter next month.

                          and to the original poster -- my vet said my mare should never be lunged again, but it would be okay for me to ride her in some circles.



                          • #14
                            You don't mention whatever you're using for leg protection, but I strongly recommend the original Professional's Choice Sport Medicine Boots. They really do give extra support. I could feel the difference when I used them on my sound horses. Also a friend's jumper was wearing them when he landed badly after a fence. The examining vet said that the boots saved the horse from a major bow. As it was, he had just small tears in the tendon that healed without leaving an unsightly leg.

                            Good luck with your boy. He is VERY cute and you've gotten some great advice.
                            ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                            Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                            "Life is merrier with a terrier!"


                            • #15
                              I always highly recommend Aquatred therapy. The water therapy stretches and increases flexibility of the soft tissue. The controlled movement increases circulation which promotes healing without concussion thereby inhibiting inflammation.
                              "ronnie was the gifted one, victor was the brilliant intellect, and i [GM], well, i am the plodder."


                              • Original Poster

                                Thank you all for the suggestions. I really appreciate this incredibly helpful advice.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by EverAfter View Post
                                  Thank you all for the suggestions. I really appreciate this incredibly helpful advice.
                                  He's SUPER cute. I hope everything goes well for you.


                                  • #18

                                    Originally posted by alteringwego View Post
                                    I always highly recommend Aquatred therapy. The water therapy stretches and increases flexibility of the soft tissue. The controlled movement increases circulation which promotes healing without concussion thereby inhibiting inflammation.
                                    I've been bringing a horse back from a meniscus tear and the Aquatred has been a huge help. He has been able to gradually put muscle back on without the concussion of the ground. We are still in the tack walking stages so the Aquatred has been a great tool to implement into our rehab. He's getting more fit while being able to burn off some energy, but all in a controlled manner. Hopes are the Aquatred will get him fit enough for the muscle to support the stifle while it's still healing. It's a long road but the Aquatred has been wonderful!