Experiences w/ Suspensory Rehab


Oh, dammit! I am so sorry (this is Rory, yes?) this happened. PRP, Shockwave, whatever the vet prescribes and confinement, hand (or tack) walking under sedation, and patience…so much patience is what you’ll do and need for the next 6-12 months. The avulsion means he pulled a piece of the bone away at the attachment of said ligament (my ACL did this to my femur when I wrecked mine). Not really a fracture, but a loose piece of bone that is probably still attached to the ligament and maybe ‘stuck’ back to the bone too. (That’s what mine did! Like it healed itself!). Anyway, good luck and feel free to PM/DM if you need some venting space. Been there, still there, paying those bills…

1 Like

I’m so sorry, as you know, I completely and totally get it. When the vet was out for mine and she was doing the blocks and it didn’t block hoof (I thought abscess), I felt dread and then by the time it was confirmed on the ultrasound I was barely choking back tears. I had to put mare away and rush out of the barn before anyone asked me how it went or they would’ve been flooded out of the barn on a wave of my tears.

From my own experience (granted, no avulsion for mine), the first few days are the hardest. Then you get your game plan from the vet and your greatest enemy is boredom. But I’ll take boredom over the sadness any day!

Fingers crossed it’ll “just” be a long rehab to full soundness you’re looking at. Keep us posted!

I’m up to five minutes of trot a ride, looking comfortable so far.

1 Like

Of course it’s Rory, my regular vet on vacation even guessed it was Rory. I think he secretly has Munchausen’s. He neighed at my regular vet’s vehicle when it pulled up to my gate :woman_facepalming: The fool.

I guess I know what it is now, no real game plan yet until my regular vet is back next week, so just putting on his ice boot (which he loves anyway :roll_eyes: ) daily and giving equioxx for now. Sigh.

Ohhhh yeah okay, just got the first bill for diagnosis :dizzy_face: :skull_and_crossbones: I love my vet but oof. I have a feeling I’ll be hitting up ye olde credit card; I’m trying to sell a thing that will help but no real biters yet. I’m soooo happy I just bought this idiot a cha-ching dressage saddle that he claimed he loved and have had maybe 20 rides on it, at least I can pay on both at the same time on the same card and said card started the year with a zero balance :rofl:

1 Like

I have never, ever been so glad a horse was insured as I have been now! Mine is a front suspensory, and neck arthritis. I would have used up half my savings/horse emergency budget without it at this point, between vet bills and rehab costs at my barn. I am using an excellent lameness only clinic (Northwest Equine Performance) that is only 10 minutes from the barn, which totally helps. We aren’t 100% yet but we are only at 6 months post injury, which is about 1/2 way through. Have some more diagnostics on the calendar as she seems to have plateaued in her recovery. Dr. wants some additional information because every time she comes up a bit sore in a trot set, we cannot get her to replicate it in front him! So frustrated! Good luck, Jenn-- soft tissue injuries are heartbreakers (and bank-breakers!)


The horse that won’t show lameness for the vet is so frustrating! A friend of mine had one like that and bought a Pivo JUST so she could film every. single. ride. to have footage for the vet. Helped them find a very weird combination of mild issues though!

We have shot lots of video, sending it off to our vet so he can at least see what we are unable to replicate at the clinic. It’s a great tool, which has allowed us to sort out what is and what might not be wrong…sort of.

I have surveillance cameras and one in his paddock, and literally downloaded a video just in case… but he thankfully flexed crazy lame, she called us off about 4 trot steps away.

1 Like

As someone on the other side with a perfectly sound horse back competing and who has moved up from his pre-accident level, don’t lose hope. Mine did the same thing and the surgeon said it’s actually fairly common and it eventually reabsorbed (maybe not the right term, but it’s not an issue now). PM me and I can give you the long version of what all we did.


I didn’t see it mentioned… Did you guys pulls shoes or ? My guy is normally shod around with clips and epoxy and often pads on the front and lives in bells because keeping them on is a running joke among my friends. He does chip and get gnarly looking, but not the point that it causes another lameness issue or anything, just looks bad. My vet says to save money I can pull shoes or stay shod and request farrier put on a “suspensory support shoe”?? Between getting him sound and saving money, I’m going to pick getting him sound, which means all the fancy things from the vet. How much is being shod or not going to effect things?

My vet recommended keeping shoeing as close to the same as possible so all the variables were her “normal” and what works for her. Granted, she doesn’t sound like yours - really fantastically crappy feet, front left grows out like a platypus bill. Shod all around, leather pads in front. So barefoot wouldn’t really be an option regardless. But it made sense to me to leave all variables the same when trying to heal something. My farrier mentioned suspensory support shoes and explained the mechanics but none of them stuck in my head, will be interested to hear if others tried that.

My boy had an upper LF 70% suspensory tear and 8 months later was back in full upper level work. A year later we are doing 17 one tempis P&P etc. They can come fully back!! keep your hopes up! I did PRP, Prostride, more PRP. shockwave, cold lasered EVERY day, walked every day for months, did full protocol of trot and canter rehab, special shoeing and frequent ultrasounds to know how much work to add. My vet was strong on moving him as much as possible and as much work as reasonable to keep the suspensory flexible.


I rehabbed one lower suspensory on a front leg which included a chip that did not need surgery and sesamoiditis and one upper suspensory on a hind leg on a different horse. It was before newer techniques were around so all old school.

Lots and lots of hand walking. Riding for a few minutes at the walk and building up slowly. It was a happy day when lunging and then turnout were allowed.

Setbacks are not so much setbacks as a part of the healing process they kind of forget to tell you. When it heals, if won’t be as stretchy so it will re-tear. It can be micro-tears which can show as soreness or as much as a re-injury until it finds its optimum length. It just depends as to whether or not it’s just a back off just a bit on the work or start over. It is not really a setback so please don’t get discouraged. It’s just the healing process.

I had to redo the upper suspensory a year or so later. Slow warmups and cool downs are your friend. Be careful who rides your horse as they may push too hard. The lower suspensory with the extra issues stayed in a support wrap for so long I almost forgot what she looked like without it. When it finally healed, it stayed healed. Both horses ended up doing well for years and had no more issues with the suspensories other than what I posted here.

Watch saddle fit because they will lose condition being off and a overlooked sore back with no lunging first during the initial rides is just dangerous. I also had to use a stud chain and carry a dressage whip during hand walking for the second round of stall rest for one. She wanted to play and its harder to hand walk a horse after being kicked. She would come out of her stall walking on her hind legs. Fun times.

It’s great bonding though. They seemed to really appreciate it as they felt better and got back out and went back to work.

Good luck.


@TheJenners How’s it going with Rory?

Maresy has recheck ultrasound scheduled for the 30th of this month when, according to my schedule, I should be at 30 minutes of trot. I want to get a visual on it and not just assume it’s healing well before we add in canter. Overall she doesn’t seem sore, just had a bit of a wall to climb in terms of her cardio after months of walking. Now at 20 minutes of trot she seems to have broken through it and has energy to spare by the time we’re done.

Overall as boring as parts of it have been, it’s been good for both of us. I’ve been able to finesse some things working at a slower pace, and her muscling looks better than it did pre-injury as we almost started over and she’s more comfortable.

1 Like

I suppose I can’t complain too much? Positive and negative: He handles being in well, so there’s that. He has decided that evening feeding is when he practices his Gangnam style dance moves so as soon as I get in the barn I tie him in the stall. It’s frustrating to grab his hay net to fill it and get it to him post haste and hear him cantering in his small run :roll_eyes: so he gets tied instead, then released once he has dinner in front of him.

Positive: He had his first Shockwave and Prostride treatments umm… not last week but the week before that, and his next one is this Friday. He is oddly sound, I don’t know what to make of that.

Negative: our regular vet looked at the ultrasound and he actually did injured both branches of the suspensory, go big or go home right?

Negative: he has a racquet ball size shoe boil so that sucks a big fat one.

Basically I’m depressed. I need to make myself ride the pony but I just don’t want to…


Ooof. I’m sorry about all those negatives.

What’s a shoe boil?

I’m sorry to hear the negatives but I totally get it. It sounds like the same thing is getting you down that was getting me with all the little changes to your barn routine and the added, very meticulous care in terms of keeping them contained. It DOES get easier, I think once you get your rehab program going momentum will make it easier. Boring. But easier.

As far as the soundness goes, I found mine - out of the entirety of this experience - was lame maybe two days out of the last six months of rehab, including in the very beginning, so I’m not sure that’s abnormal. She was lame when the vet originally came out and diagnosed, but pretty much immediately looked sound once the rest/handwalking started. I’m sure that’s what tricks people in to thinking it’s healed, or that they can keep working and the horse just has off days.

1 Like

Also called a capped elbow, in case you know that term? So he also has a stupid giant donut thing he has to wear, which I have to make sure isn’t rubbing him, just one more thing yanno?


Ah yes capped elbow I’m familiar with. Shoe boil was a new term for me.

I’m familiar with the pain in the assery of having yet another thing to deal with


Hardly comforting given all that you’re dealing with, but when I had to use one of those huge donuts because my horse was getting a capped elbow, it changed the way he laid down. After a week or so, I was able to stop using it.

1 Like