Looking for advice - young, BIG warmblood of dubious wisdom managed to sprain the collateral ligament in the LF, on top of other issues. Mare has a long history of hurting herself in new & creative ways and has literally been off of work or in rehab for most of her “riding” career.
This latest round started with on again/off again lameness in the fall, right after the ground froze solid. Normal vet x-rayed and ultrasounded and found nothing. We’d give her time off, then start her back on the lunge, and within a day or three, the slight lameness going to the left was back. This was on top of ongoing issues with constant cross-firing & kicking out at the canter and just a lot of WTF behavior - would be trotting along fine, then just whole body spasm, didn’t like to hold up her hind feet, sore back that came & went. We treated for lymes & ulcers, saddle fit, mare sees chiro religiously, but was not making progress on any front.
Finally hauled her out to Tuffs in late December, got a full work up (including a bone scan), found the sprain via ultrasound ( having an expert who does nothing but ultrasounds IS worth the money). Bone scan lit up a LOT of areas, the LF, SI, hocks, suspensory…this is obviously not a happy pony. Tufts injected the LF and sent us home with a rehab plan to start with the LF ligament and work on the rest once we knew that was good…
So months of small turnout (mare cannot be kept in while everyone else is out, even on drugs she tries to tear down the barn), hand walking, shockwave every 2 - 3 weeks, injections at Tufts … I took her back to Tufts in early April and sprain looks significantly improved on the imagining but on the lunge, she looks nearly the same. I was told to walk her under saddle on straight lines and every month or so, test lunge her to the left and see if she is sound.
Well, we just did the first “test lunge” and she looks exactly the same as she did out at tufts 4 weeks ago which was the same as she looked in December, which was the same as she looked in November. Just a mild, 1.5 - 2 head bob ever few steps on the circle to the left but it’s still there. Fine to the right & straight lines.
My trainer wants to pull the shoes (we put her in egg bars early on on Tuft’s recommendation) and throw her out in a field for a year or two, then see if she comes back and, if she doesn’t, just retire her.
I’m seriously considering it because even if we can get this LF fixed, we’re still looking at injecting multiple joints with no guarantee she ever comes fully sound and even if she does, well, how long will it last? Mare is only 8 and was doing intro/training level work and doesn’t stay sound for more than a few weeks at time.
I know ligaments can take a long time - are we throwing in the towel too soon? This mare has been absolutely heartbreaking and I feel like I’m just throwing more money & hope down into a bottomless hole.