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Rehabbing a suspensory tear

Roughly a month ago my horse ended up with a minor tear in the suspensory most likely in the field. I have looked everywhere but could not find any descriptions of how the horses leg looked throughout their journey and while you really can’t tell anything definitive without ultrasound it can still be comforting to know your horses leg doesn’t look grotesquely different from other horses healing. Especially for an older horse.
So here is our timeline so far.
Week one
Week one: due to excessive heat he had been stocking up all week but that day there was minor swelling that didn’t go down with turn out. No heat or sensitivity. No reduction with cold hosing and work. Completely sound
Week two: Still no improvement but no getting worse either. More flat working but figured it was from the heat and just being more tired. End of the week on a Sunday we had a lesson and he just was not moving forward and felt off riding but from ground looked maybe a touch short on the left front. We pushed him into the extended trot to see if that would give a more clear lameness and it did. Vet was scheduled to come out Tuesday.
Week three: Vet examines the leg and ultra sounds him. There was no concern for abscesses as he’s never gone lame from one and his current shoe set up would make one very difficult. He also was X-rayed and the only clean spot on my 21yo leg was where the injury was(small bone spurs here and there but none in areas that affect his comfort or movement). Upon US a very small tear was discovered and rehabbing options were discussed. This horse does not stall rest well and we had access to a smaller individual paddock that’s roughly 1/3 acre. Walking twice a day starting at 5 min increments and increasing each week. Coldhosing/icing twice a day and poulticing at night. With this we saw immediate improvement of the swelling Week three
Week four: Minor hiccup in manners walking because he is fit and enjoys working so we were having some baby rearing and trotting in hand (perfect gentleman in the field) so drugs were onboarded. After a couple days he was behaving much better but I swear he aims for the most uneven parts of the concrete driveway. Progress slowed down as the mostly solid feeling lump where the injury is was not going down. Que minor freak out and scouring the internet for everyone else’s experiences with rehabbing and finding no one mentioning how the leg looked as it healed. Logically I knew it wouldn’t. The vet also confirmed it would look this way for a long while but it didn’t help a ton being in the middle of rehabbing and not yet on the other side knowing how this will turn out.
Week five
Week five: This brings us to today. Starting our 15min walks twice a day with incoming rain so this will be extra fun. I feel like his leg almost looks worse but he’s walking sound and mostly resigned to his fate of hand walking and only seeing his buddies on our walks. The vet reassured me again it looks normal for where we’re at and our recheck will be in roughly 2 weeks to see how it’s healing. Part of my anxiety is due to my own physical health issues of Graves’ disease that literally started treatment last night and it’s rough. Even if everything were peachy and perfect I’d be an anxious mess. Add ontop my pony reminding me even during my own health crisis it’s never my turn and it’s a great little recipe for anxiety overload.

I’ll update as we progress each week in this journey but everyone also please share your experiences especially on the other side of this. Knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel can really help.

We purchased Hail Caesar knowing he had a previous suspensory tear in his hind leg. The PPE vetted sound, and we bought him. He was an upper level 3-Day horse --lots of work over really big fences! Two years later, in January, he bowed the other hind leg. Did everything recommended (shock wave was the new thing then) and had him ultra sounded weekly. He did 4-5 months rehab then limited to dressage for the rest of that year. Cleared to return to jumping.

We continued for the next 8 years taking him to about 10-12 horse trials a year all over the Mid-West, East and into Canada. After 10 years his rider (DD) she felt she was asking him too much to continue at his Intermediate (CCI**) level. He moved to another rider for the next 3 years. Eventually he bowed in the front, returned to dressage, and at 25, bowed the other front. He retired to my farm, friends, nice kids to wash him and braid his hair (he was snow white by then) and give him endless treats. I think he was 29 when he stopped walking to the barn to be fed. That’s my line in the sand. We did feed him in the pasture until his people could come and say goodbye.

For an upper level 3-Day horse, 10 years is a long career. He never refused a fence, and the kid never fell off. He is buried in a sunny spot in the pasture by his best mate.

Here is a video of him with 3 bows --but still flying high. Start at 3:31 for CC.



That’s beautiful and heartwarming

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