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Broken legs and recovery.

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  • Broken legs and recovery.

    This article paints a pretty grim picture but these injuries happened at speed with baby horses.


    I knew a horse a decade or so ago 'Patches' (A quarab gelding) who broke his leg kicking a stall wall. It cost his owner 3000.00 in vet bills but he was good as new afterwards. I didn't think to ask what sort of cast/sling if any they used.

    How many others here personally knew/know horses who broke their legs, got proper vet care, recovered and went back to work.
    A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
    Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'

  • #2
    My BO's cutting horse broke his leg from kicking in his stall. This was back in 1998 (I didn't know him or the horse then. Funny, he JUST told me this last night). Horse was treated and recovered, and while was never a cutter again, was an awfully good trail horse. He just passed away two years ago at 28.
    Ulysses- the most perfect all-terrain vehicle ever. Hencho en Mexico

    Mr. Walter Bumblepants - Foster Dog Extraordinaire


    • #3
      Define broken leg. I have had condylar fractures, sesamoid fractures, slab fractures, chip fractures and cracked cannon bones to name a few. All recovered. I had one catastrophic breakdown in my career, it was shattered sesamoids that took the suspensory ligament with it.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


      • #4
        We had a 7yo gelding who got kicked in the shoulder and ended up with a T-shaped fracture of the ulna. It was non-displaced so, after three months of strict stall rest and another few months of gradual return to turnout, he healed beautifully. The fracture was in the elbow so he probably ended up with some degree of arthritis at some point, but he was still perfectly sound at 13 when my mother sold him (with full disclosure of the injury).


        • #5
          My horse was kicked and shattered a split bone about 7 years ago. He had surgery to remove it and healed up quite nicely after 3 months of stall rest/light turnout. You would never know it except for a small calcified bump on that leg.
          Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
          My equine soulmate
          Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding


          • #6
            My OTTB got a vertical fracture on his cannon bone when he was a 2 year old. They only kept going with him because he was showing a lot of promise and his 2 siblings were very successful. He made 24 starts from 3-5 and won a few but they said when he came back he wasn't as good as he had been. Who knows if that was because of the injury or just that he was older. I don't know how they treated it, but he's never had any issues with it since.


            • #7
              My Bluey fractured his femur. There's no fixing that. Broken legs mean many different things, you have to be more specific.


              • #8
                I've had to euthenize two with nasty breaks.
                ... _. ._ .._. .._


                • #9
                  I knew an Arabian broodmare who I was told "shattered" her pastern. It looked shattered - very mangled and her hoof wasn't pointing in the correct direction. She limped because mechanically there had to be a limp, but didn't appear to feel any pain - she was stunningly beautiful and always had a happy expression on her face, and she would just go nuts playing in turnout! I know she spent time in a sling and had some surgery, but don't know if there was metal in there to support her or how it healed, or what the actual break was. It was clearly an expensive recovery, but she managed to recover enough to have no problems carrying the extra weight of foals.

                  I don't understand why some horses are able to survive the extra weight on the other legs and some aren't. They can recover at least to some extent, yet even a horse getting the top care Barbaro was can lose the fight to laminitis or other damage to the previously uninjured legs.

                  Other times there are horses who survive and it's hard to believe they could have. It wasn't a break, but my rescue mare was unable to stand on one of her legs when I got her. She doesn't have any indication of having had veterinary care when she was injured, but must have had something to not succumb to infections despite the fact she shows no signs of having had stitches to try to repair some of the damage of even close up the cuts. Somewhere along the line she had tangled in barbed wire and shredded the top of her right front leg. That leg is now just skin, scar tissue and bone with none of the normal soft tissue on the outside of the forearm.

                  She had already had a foal and somehow survived the pregnancy, sale at auction, ride in a packed truck from the auction toward Mexico, and being starved while unable to put much weight on that leg, and without her other legs breaking down. It's just amazing that a horse can survive something like that at all, and she now runs and bucks and leaps and jumps and shows zero sign of distress despite the fact that right front acts about like a cane, moved from her shoulder muscle. Her knee is actually bent about as much as it is capable of bending in that picture - luckily she is well behaved about it, because otherwise she would be hell on trimmers.
                  If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                  • #10
                    I have had several ottb's with fractured seasamoids. Some went on to eventing careers. Had one horse who broke his leg in his stall overnight. I have no idea what he did, but he broke his ulna near the top. A big chunk was broken off. He had to be PTS.
                    Derby Lyn Farms Website

                    Derby Lyn Farms on Facebook!


                    • #11
                      I had a horse who was kicked and had a saucer fracture of a rear cannon bone. ~5 months of stall rest but recovered 100%, not visible, returned to his jumper career.

                      He was always weight bearing though. I'd imagine the more catastophic fractures have a much lower recovery rate.


                      • #12
                        About 20 years ago, the barn where I was a working student had a horse who had broken a leg in his younger years as a lesson horse. I don't know what exactly he broke, but he was used without restrictions-- jumping, dressage, etc. Shortly after I left, the school had to put down a young horse with a spiral fracture to his cannon bone so I agree with others, it totally depends on what they break.


                        • #13
                          I personally know of a draft horse who broke her rear canon bone. The owner splinted it with pvc pipe, and kept her sedated to the gills and in her stall for a number of weeks. He didn't mention a sling. I think he tied her head up so she couldn't lie down. When I met her, she was part of a team taking people for sloop sleigh rides at a maple sugar camp. The leg was unsightly (large lump at the fracture site), but she seemed sound and capable of work.
                          My Equestrian Art Photography page


                          • #14
                            A few years ago a beautiful big hanoverian gelding I was riding and showing with a friend was kicked in the pasture. The kicker had hind shoes!Poor guy's humerus was shattered into multiple tiny pieces. i saw the xray and was devistated. First vet to see him only stitched up a small cut on his cannon and wrapped the forearm. No xrays were done at that time.Vet refused to come back out the next day when horse in obvious distress. Local vet friend hurried over and took the picture. She helped him over the bridge a short time later. I still miss him.
                            BO still turns horses out with hind shoes! Friend and I no longer board there.


                            • #15
                              I have a nine year old mare, who's leg was broken at two days old. Her dam stepped on her and broke her hind cannon bone. She was rushed to New Bolton Center and Dr. Richardson operated.

                              You can see the leg is thicker then the other and she has a small lunp on the inside. She does moves short on that leg. Otherwise, she is sound.

                              She has been started under saddle and has been on some trail rides, but I don't push her beyond that.


                              • #16
                                A friend had his two-year-old Arabian stallion break a leg while being lunged in the round pen. I don't recall the details of the break, but the full leg cast went from hoof to elbow.

                                At the six month mark, the cast smelled terrible, and the owner feared that gangrene was developing. He had the vet out to do the final deed, but the vet suggested they remove the cast first to see the condition of the fracture. It turned out that the horse was just fine - the leg had healed, but the dirt/slime/sweat/whatever had created a stinking mess at skin-level. The skin healed quickly after the cast removal. I don't know if the horse was ever performance-sound, as his intended career was to be an endurance horse, but he could cover mares, allowing his bloodline to be salvaged for the breeding program. He actually covered his first mare while wearing the cast, with the help of half a dozen people.
                                "I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder."