Reconditioning a young horse After two months rest

Hi, my four Years old reining quarter horse has fractured his splint Bone. After surgery he s been for a month on strict stall without going out. After that, as thé vet said i ve been walking him for three weeks and next week hé Can start working again. So total Time off IS Seven weeks. I would liké to know if someone knows a program to rebuild muscle and cardiovascular tone. Thé fracture did not affect any tendon or ligament. Thank you

Check the eventer forum. We spend a lot of time reconditioning from 0 after let down for the off season.

Basically, I start with walk and trot 15 minutes of walk with 10-15 minutes of trot 3-4 times a week for two weeks. I will add 5 minute of canter at the end of the second week. From there I will increase trot time by 5 minutes and canter by a minute for each subsequent week. I always vary the footing. I do not stay in one ring. I will do this in pastures as well as rings.

This is on top of long hacks (walk) that includes hills, starting a 30-45 minutes at least once a week. Hacks are on varied ground to encourage inflammatory responses needed to generate new tissue in bone, ligaments, and tendons. I walk on asphalt, dirt roads, and completely off road. It’s a great time to take your horse sight seeing.

After 8 weeks I should be able to trot 30-45 minutes continuous or do a canter set (3 canters for 5 minutes straight with 5 minute rests between). At this point, it all depends on what you do. This gets me and my horse up to the baseline needed to then condition for upper level eventing.


Since your vet is fully informed and involved in your horses medical condition, did they not give you instructions as to what you should be doing to rehab ?


Thé rehab yes but not thé conditioning once healed

Gotcha. Guess every vet is different and it must depend on if they ride or not?

Yes, thé surgeon just told me one month still stall rest and three weeks hand walking starting with 5 minutes building UP until 25 minutes a day. Thén hé told me i could start riding him again… everything healed very nicely, thé vet ultrasound and xrayed thé leg and everything fine.

Just lots of walking and some mild, small amounts of trotting and go from there as he rebuilds fitness and stamina— would be my plan if mine.

The rule of thumb I was taught is that for horses recuperating from injury, the conservative timeline for rehab is twice as long as they were out with the injury. So off for 7 weeks = 14 weeks rehabbing to reach full pre-injury performance levels.

This has rung true with my personal horses and others I’ve seen in our barn, but YMMV. My inclination is to always take things slower than recommended. It’s a lot easier to re-injure or irritate something by rushing or overdoing it.


The US Pony Club “C” Manual has a great section on conditioning, starting from zero.
While dated, Susan Harris’ “Grooming To Win” also has a great section on conditioning as well.

That is where I would start. Between these two resources, I have developed a 60 day back to work plan for my horse (annually, after tax season) that works for my situation.

You mean for an injury liké a tendon injury?

Your 60 days plan you use it After a Time off of how many months?

Due to the time change and my work schedule during tax time he is almost always off for 2.5 months. Sometimes it is more, sometimes it is less mostly due to the weather. But it is always about 2.5 months that he is a pasture puff.

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Any injury necessitating significant stall rest or time off.

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Yes i also was thinking About 2 months to recondition a horse that has been not ridden for two months

I’m the cautious type. I would probably do the same (walking, increase to 25 min) under saddle. Then add in the trot work, along with lots of walking on varied terrain.

Equestrian Canada put out a really useful guide to reconditioning following a break. It was originally produced to help riders get their horses back into shape after closedowns due to Covid, but can be used after any break in work. It was developed by a team including vets.

In French (I think you are a native French speaker if I remember from other threads?):


That is a great guide, thanks for sharing SolarFlare. Nice to have them provide sample schedules, including breaking down the type of activities/flat work.

You know, just let your horse tell you.

Honestly, horses don’t really get out-of-shape that fast. How “in shape” was he before the injury? I would assume that if he’s a reining horse, he was in pretty darn good shape to begin with. So maybe whatever you would have done on a normal ride, do 20% of that. See how he handles it. Do a slower longer warmup and a slower longer cool down.

My horses usually get 4 to 5 months off during the winter every year. I live in North Dakota and I do not have an indoor arena. I don’t clip and I don’t blanket. So if we do some light riding in the winter, it’s usually not even enough to break a sweat (because I don’t want a full-haired wet horse outside). And if the winter is very icy, then I don’t ride at all because it’s not worth slipping on the ice and causing an injury. In the spring, I usually like to get them back in shape in about 1 month before I start entering and then they get their running air back after a few runs (barrel racing).

If I always doubled the time they were off, to get them in shape again, well, it’d be winter time again.

But trust your own gut and listen to your horse. Use common sense. But again, it depends what a normal ride is for you before the injury and what your horse was doing before the injury.


Thanks it must bé hard to ride there. I live in Europe, south of France, WE have an indoor Arena and it almost never get below 0 degrees celsius so WE ride almost all year long. My horse before hé broke his splint Bone was in normal shape, but yes when i try to get them fit i try to follow a schedule but thén again many Times i have to adapt it to thé particular horse.

Don’t underrate the walk. I’d keep hand walking and walking under saddle for the next week or even two. I wouldn’t add anything else until you’ve ridden him a few times at the walk without reinjury or injury aggravation.

My filly fractured her radius at 18 months. I gave her 6 months off of forced exercise total. The first 3 where strictly stall rest unless she could handle being hand walked, the last 3 months were spent half stalled, half turnout in a small paddock, no more than 40x40.

When she turned two, we went back to working on saddling/bridling and then I broke her to ground drive. We ground drove another 4 months when I got the green light to get her under saddle.

Don’t rush these things. @Amy3996 is right on track with this too. Going slowly was one of the best things I could have done for her.