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Suspensory Success Stories

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  • Suspensory Success Stories

    Does anyone have any? If so can you either respond here or pm. Jumper with a suspensory tear and just trying to hear stories with positive outcomes.

  • #2
    Had a pony with a deep digital flexor tendon partial tear. After 8 months of stall rest/monitored walking and turnout plus about another 8 months of rehab, he was 100% better. Every case can be different, however.


    • #3
      My, now 20 year old, prince had a suspensory injury before I bought him. I (knock on wood) haven't had any trouble with it since I have owned him for the last 7 years. I showed him at 3'0" before I went to law school and he was fine. I still jump him around at that height every now and again and he is good to go.

      He was rested and rehabbed fully and apparently, healed completely. It is his old hocks that are the problem now, not the suspensory

      In fact, I bought him from a university donation program and I didn't even know he had the previous suspensory injury before I bought him.

      It's a bummer, but good luck with your horse.
      "The Prince" aka Front Row
      Cavalier Manor


      • #4
        My boy had significant inflammation and something else (not a tear, I can't remember what it was right now though) on a hind suspensory. I was actually given him because of this injury, as he was for sale at the time it was discovered.

        It had likely gone a while undetected, and that definitely affected the vet's optimism for a full vs partial recovery. He had two months off on paddock rest, and a rehab program that was scheduled for six months, but I actually lengthened it to about ten months. Prior to discovering the issue he'd had another two or three months off, so the slow pace was because of his total lack of fitness.

        Anyway, final ultrasound revealed absolutely no scar tissue or inflammation, a complete and total recovery. Considering he's 12 and was showing in the 1.20m's before the vet was amazed at how pristine his ultrasound was. He's back to full work, and could easily go back to doing what he was before.

        Stay positive! And let me know if there's anything I can do to help (I have a fantastic, very specific rehab program if you want to take a look at it).


        • #5
          My old horse had a suspensory strain in his front leg. He was schooling 4' and was just about to move up to showing 3'9. He had 3 months completely off (with turnout when footing was good) and had 3 shockwave treatments, over the summer. We brought him back as the vet suggested and he did great for a while. Did a show at the end of that year at 3' then the spring of the next year we did a 3'6 show and he reinjured (in a different area of the suspensory but on the same leg. 4 months off, with 3 shockwave treatments and he came back sound. That was about 3 years ago and he has been sound since, though we only ever jumped/showed him to 3'3 (Sold him last winter)


          • #6
            This is a timely thread, just got back from a hunting trip with a broken pony...vet out Thursday so will see what they say. In the meantime ice machine and poulticing.


            • #7
              My horse got cast as a 2 year old and tore BOTH hind suspensories. We had no idea until a year later when we went to back and break him and something just wasn't right. Did plasma, (PRP), shockwave and stall rest--didn't get enough healing and inflammation down so we did the tendon splitting surgery on both legs (one side got a neurectomy).

              Recovery took a long time, I mean almost a year and a half in the stall total but it was a complete success. The horse is 6 now and will do the Pre-Green and AA this year, my vet sees no reason why he can't move up in height from there.

              It was interesting trying to rehab an unbroke 4 year old WB, since when the vet would say "ok, now up the work to 10 min of walking on his back and 5 min of trotting," I laughed and thought this was how he got broke too! (And I'm sure I said a few prayers, a 4yo WB on stall rest is like a caged tiger!)

              Don't get discouraged at all, it takes time to heal. A friend gave me some very good advise in this situation, whatever stall rest the vet tells you to do--double it. Reserpine is your friend too, one incident of horse breaking away and galloping and bucking can send you right back to where you started...

              Good luck with everything!


              Member of the OMFG I got banned clique


              • #8
                You asked for success stories, here you go!

                Success Story #1: My horse pulled his RF suspensory as a four year old (he is seven now). It was a core lesion that went from the origin of the suspensory down to about mid-body. The suspensory had actually started to pull away from the bone at the origin.

                He was stall rested with hand walks for 6 months (it was an "exciting" six months with a stall rested 4 year old TB). After that, I brought him back to full flatwork under saddle BEFORE he had any turnout at all (again, exciting, lol!). It was about 9 months from the injury before he was back in full flat work, and 12 months from the injury before he was back to jumping some small jumps (which was the level he was at when he was injured as a four year old). I did do three rounds of shockwave a few months into the injury and thought it helped a lot.

                He continues in full work and jumps small courses. He has some hind end issues that mean I won't ever push him past 3', but if those issues were not there I don't see any reason he could not do more. I credit his recovery to doing everything exactly by the book in terms of rehab.

                Success Story #2: Event horse owned by a fellow boarder (I'm not sure what level - I think at least Training) suffered a severe tear of a front suspensory while competing. The injury was thought to be career ending. Horse was taken out of work, but was still turned out daying in a very small paddock where he could not run. He recovered to soundness for full flatwork and was repurposed as a dressage horse, although there was no reason to think he could not jump again if someone were to want him to (but owner's view was that it was best not to push it given the severity of the injury).

                Success Story #3: Former trainer of mine had a grand prix jumper that pulled his suspensory at least twice that I know of. He was able to recover enough to continue competing at the GP level for quite some time. He was eventually stepped down. My understanding with that one was that he had an injury that always showed up on ultrasound, but he was sound on it...so they kept competing him. He ended up dying of liver failure fairly young (I think age 16 or so)...not sure that the cause of the liver failure was ever discovered. But the suspensory did fine.

                Good luck with your horse! My advice is to stick with whatever rehab plan you decide on and don't rush it!


                • #9
                  One of my students had a horse with a front suspensory issue; she layed him up six months and he ended up returning to the jumper ring...currently have a schoolie finishing up his lay-up for suspensory tear...prognosis is that he should be able to return to his previous work level (3' horse). He's due to start back to work in a couple of weeks, and he's looking good now.


                  • #10
                    My mare, that was eventing at entry level and was 13 or so at the time, tore her right hind suspensory during the cross country phase of a competition. She got 6 weeks of stall rest with short hand walks every day then a carfully laid out program undersaddle that gradually increased work load over 3 months. The 3 months turned into 5 but at the last ultrasound she showed zero scarring or inflamation and we competed in 2 more events before I had to sell her due to lack of time and money. I sold her as a pleasure horse and she has so far been sound for the past 4 years.


                    • #11
                      I have a gelding that partially tore his RH suspensory about 4 years ago. 45 days stall rest, 60 days small turnout and handwalking, brought him back along slowly and he came back 100%. He's got another unrelated issue now, but he was schooling 3'6" and showing 3'3" successfully up until late last year. I am convinced a major factor is to make sure you follow the vet's orders precisely.
                      Last edited by simc24; Nov. 21, 2012, 07:14 PM. Reason: grammar
                      The best is yet to come


                      • #12
                        My horse, (who was a jumper), was diagnosed with lesions on both his hind suspensories, but mainly the left hind. That was last January. He also had some other issues, unrelated. The vet told me to keep on riding him but flatting only. In April I took him back for a recheck and it there was improvement but the lesions were still there. He told me to keep doing what I am doing because evidently the level of exercise I'd been doing with him, (which is what he'd reccomended), wasn't hurting him.

                        I've continued to ride him on the flat, and to me, he's improved, but still moves stiff behind. I do feel him to be more even on both hands where he'd been quick and lugging down to the right and generally less balanced. He's no longer quick and lugging down to the right or left, and I feel more impulsion going to the right than I did previously. So I'm going be cautiously optimistic. I will take him back to be rechecked in January. At present I've stepped up his flatwork a little and he seems to be holding up ok, but I will not be jumping him unless the vet says he's good to go. By then, we will have been at this for 12 months.


                        • #13
                          My horse injured his RF suspensory in May of 2011. He had a nice sized hole. We did some PRP and a lot of stall rest/hand walking for a few months, then started him back tack walking in July. When we started trotting, he just wasn't sound enough, so we made the decision to just blister the leg and put him in the paddock until we got back from Florida in the spring. His leg was big, fat and nasty looking, but by the time we got home, he was ready to go back to work. He spent two weeks going on the walker, then I started tack walking him. By August, he was in full work and schooling 3'6. He has not taken a bad step since, and we are getting ready to go to FL in a month!!


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the timely words of encouragement. I've been dealing with the shock of a RF core lesion for the past few weeks, too. I've been lurking around this site, collecting information from other people's stories. It's hard to think of six months off (I'm a re-rider and this is my new horse after 15 plus years off!) but it's nice to hear we may be able to get back to some semblance of riding eventually. Many thanks to all who have posted (this one and all previous strings!) for providing a kind of lifeline.


                            • #15
                              You can find a silver lining!
                              I purchased a fancy untouched, unbacked 5 y/o to start up my adult re-riding after 30 years. Couldn't afford fancy AND started, so I decided on an unbacked (read:unmolested, no one else's problems to undo) grown baby 17h WB. We took the first 6 months to learn basic baby manners on the ground. Then, 1 month in to backing he became lame. After many theories, finally a vetting with ultrasound found torn front suspensory.
                              I had heard of suspensory horrors but was just overwhelmed (in other words, vomit,cry, vomit, why me?) 60 days complete stall rest, then 6-8 add'l months of hand walking with stall rest, 5-6 more months of limited walk/trot with stall rest with an hour limited area turn out.

                              In a nutshell, I have spent everything I have on a 3 legged 6 y/o fancy unrideable Baby Huey with attitude of a dragon...now with a year of daily work on a horse I can't ride.

                              Ok, so when life gives you lemons...
                              You learn how to teach your horse perfect ground manners.
                              You expect the unexpected and will know how to handle it.
                              You learn your horse, meaning of eyes, lips, energy level, mood.
                              You have a companion/bond that few others have.
                              You will be amazed how many offers you get from other horse owners to ride their horses once they see your compassion to your horse.
                              You will hand walk for miles and miles and miles...and learn to relax and enjoy it.
                              You will learn every tidbit known about suspensory, PRP, shockwave, tildren, stem cell, dreaded stall rest.
                              Time passes, you will have waves of exhilaration and waves of frustration. No one will understand the level of commitment but you, so have no expectations of husband and family if you want to stay sane.
                              Stall rest makes any horse crazy. Get some comfortable lambskin gloves and a soft cotton lead rope. The round pen is your friend.
                              Some use of drugs are Ok, but don't make your baby a pincushion.

                              9 months have now passed for us. We have 3-6 more months of rehab. We celebrate every walk, trot and will start limited canter soon. My horse has certainly not suffered from 9 months of groundwork, and I'm a few pounds lighter from our long walks. (people will pay $$$ for that secret!)

                              Don't get impatient. Do your best to enjoy the process. Let no one rush you. Everyone will say you're crazy, they are--not you. You will become a great horseman and wonder how others expect a pushbutton point and go horse and want what you have!

                              Don't use the calendar to gauge expectations and don't listen to negative people. There will be many free opinions offered, listen to your vet and tell the others thank you. FWIW, thanks!
                              no hoof, no horse
                              no head, no horseman. just wear it.


                              • #16
                                Thank you, huntcup, your post is exactly what I needed to hear! Our situations are similar - my mare is a 5 year old OTTB, we were just getting into a training routine and I was getting fit again and looking forward to the future. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, my future changed and I'm stuck second guessing my choices and feeling sick and confused. My learning curve has been steep and fast and I'm coming to the same conclusions you have - keep my chin up and stick to my guns as to treatment, regardless of what others are telling me. Thanks for the words of encouragement. Keep me posted on your progress - I'll return the favor if I can
                                Last edited by aleg@eachcorner; Nov. 22, 2012, 08:42 PM. Reason: missing word


                                • #17
                                  Here you go-- the good, the bad and the ugly, of hind suspensories. Mostly good!!

                                  Taking it day by day!


                                  • #18
                                    My OTTB had a minor front left suspensory tear in turnout after limping around with a bad abscess in his front right hoof. The injury happened hours before the vet came to check on the abscess. My horse had 7 weeks of stall rest and hand-walking (or hand-bucking & rearing toward the end), followed by another 3 weeks of limited turnout.

                                    Frankly the chronic hoof issues (thin soles) have proved much more of a problem than the suspensory tear. Both my vets see the suspensory as a nonissue after 10 weeks and I have not seen any signs of discomfort or inflammation after the 7 week mark. Ask around and take your horse to the best leg equine vet in your area. My reg vet almost had me convinced I should turn my horse out to pasture for 4 months. The best leg/hoof vet in my state said "don't give up on this horse. He's a high quality guy and he'll be worth it." He also said my horse had made peace with the suspensory issue and to make my farrier my best friend since he would be the one to fix my horse.

                                    Once I switched to my new farrier (farrier #4) no more hoof lameness or abscesses either. Oh happy days!!! . We've had five months of complete soundness & two months of jump training. My boy is doing great & I am so happy I didn't give up on him.


                                    • #19
                                      I am intrigued by the different rehab regimens that are prescribed for suspensory issues.

                                      We have been given a horse to rehab who has a hind suspensory issue. The horse has not been visibly lame since we've had her, but apparently there was a history of intermittent lameness, and the ultrasound showed the suspensory lesion clearly.

                                      Many posters on this thread have described regimens involving lengthy stall rest and very limited handwalking. Our vet did not require any pure stall rest. We did a couple weeks of handwalking, and then started walking u/s (my daughter only weighs about 90 pounds). 5 weeks into it, the vet is letting us introduce some light trotting.

                                      This vet has a good reputation for remedying tough soundness issues, so we hope her program is the charm for this nice mare!

                                      It may be that the ideal rehab program differs depending on whether the horse is actually lame and how chronic or old the injury is.

                                      Common sense-wise, it also seems good to maintain some muscle strength, which may help support the injured area, assuming the horse can tolerate some movement.

                                      Fingers crossed. We don't need her to come back to her pre-injury level (3'6" jumper); we just need her to be comfortable packing a kid around 2 foot jumps.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Horsegirl's Mom View Post
                                        I am intrigued by the different rehab regimens that are prescribed for suspensory issues.

                                        We have been given a horse to rehab who has a hind suspensory issue. The horse has not been visibly lame since we've had her, but apparently there was a history of intermittent lameness, and the ultrasound showed the suspensory lesion clearly.

                                        Many posters on this thread have described regimens involving lengthy stall rest and very limited handwalking. Our vet did not require any pure stall rest. We did a couple weeks of handwalking, and then started walking u/s (my daughter only weighs about 90 pounds). 5 weeks into it, the vet is letting us introduce some light trotting.

                                        This vet has a good reputation for remedying tough soundness issues, so we hope her program is the charm for this nice mare!

                                        It may be that the ideal rehab program differs depending on whether the horse is actually lame and how chronic or old the injury is.

                                        Common sense-wise, it also seems good to maintain some muscle strength, which may help support the injured area, assuming the horse can tolerate some movement.

                                        Fingers crossed. We don't need her to come back to her pre-injury level (3'6" jumper); we just need her to be comfortable packing a kid around 2 foot jumps.
                                        I'm one of those with a very different regime. The vet I took him to is one of the best in the Wellington area, so I'm trusting him. My horse also has other issues and I guess that's why he thought it best to keep him going. He also thought the lesions might have been there and we're probably chronic.

                                        When I took him back for a recheck, the other two issues were ok. One was that he'd apparently foundered at some time in the past and there was a deformation of the coffin bone on his right front. A change in shoeing, adding rim pads, and he trotted out sound. I don't know what that might have had to do with the suspensories behind, especially the left hind, but its intriguing.

                                        Some days I dispare and some days I'm encouraged. I'm trying to get him to carry himself rounder, better under saddle, to improve his ability to carry his rider better. I think it may be helping him.

                                        OP, keep your chin up. It takes a long time and patience to rehab a horse. Sometimes it doesn't work, but I'd say most can make it. It sounds like this is your horse's first injury, so that's a plus.

                                        Many jingles for you guys.