I have two questions kind of: (1) would you do it? (2) have you done it and what were the results?
So…I have a TB who was ‘injured’ in the pasture about six years ago. It was a splint and he was rested and rehabbed but chronic lameness continued (mild lameness usually in clay footing). One day I went out and he was three legged lame. Vet out, ultrasounded hind suspensories and determined that to be the cause. Distorted fiber patterns on the left (mid way up the leg) but no sign of a tear anywhere. Normal on the right. Diagnosed as DSLD (which didn’t sit right with me then and still doesn’t) and told he would probably only have another year or two. We iced/rested and reevaluated in six months with no real change. Repeated for another year. Same thing. Now, he wasn’t really lame anymore, but he was dropped quite a bit. We decided to retire him. He had a few scares over the years where he’d be a moron in the pasture and cause flares and now his left hind suspensory is distorted along the entire length (branches to upper). He’s not dropped as bad (a little above the vertical when resting and doesn’t touch the ground even when trotting/cantering).
HOWEVER, he’s now been compensating for so long that his left stifle is incredibly weak, and he’s rolling his right hip. My vet STILL insists it’s suspensory lameness even though a block on the suspensory changes nothing (still same level of lame, not even a fraction better). X-Rays of the stifle and hock show nothing wrong structurally (mild flattening but no sign of arthritis or anything else). She’s wanting me to go in to the clinic to spend $500+ on an ultrasound of the suspensory/SI/etc. She’ll do an injection in the stifle as well. I asked about chiropractic and acupuncture and she said it won’t help anything because his suspensory problem is so acute. But he ISN’T LAME ON IT. He hasn’t been for years aside from a few pasture accidents.
Is it wrong of me to get him adjusted and do some light riding to build up his top line so he doesn’t hurt himself more? I’m not talking about hours of trotting and cantering, just a 10-20 minutes of walking and a little trotting in the pasture or on a trail. He runs himself around the pasture like a mad man because he’s so frustrated to be out of a job. I’m thinking he’ll hurt himself more doing that than if I give him a job and hop on him three or four times a week (obviously keeping in mind his limitations especially at first and taking it day by day).
The neighbor where I board is a true cowboy and he said he’d take the horse to rope steer tomorrow because horses are made to work. While I’m NOT interested in that, he made a lot of good points about horses needing a job (especially this horse. We were riding 6-7 days a week before his pasture injury and he loved every minute of his eventing career). I think a lot of my horse’s issues are lack of work. He’s kicking in his stall (started about six months after I stopped riding him) and he’s mildly aggressive in the pasture (nothing bad but he makes his pasture mates run with him every morning when they go out and every afternoon around dinner time).
We’ve ruled out any acute injuries in the ultrasounds and x-rays (Suspensories, hocks, stifles both sides). But he’s still lame in his stifle and hip which I am convinced is due to his compensation. Honestly if he doesn’t improve I’d rather put him down than let him waste away in the pasture for another six years. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s already been six years and when I hopped on him yesterday and he just about fell over backwards trying to show me he remembered all of our dressage practice. He’s miserable just existing and he is my best friend and my heart horse. I’ve owned him(or he’s owned me really) for nine years and the last thing I want to do is cause him pain. But in trying not to hurt him by letting him “be a horse” I think I’ve hurt him, mentally, even worse.
So the questions: 1. would you ride him and get him adjusted by a chiropractor or not? and 2. Have you ever done this and what was the result?
EDIT: I said “injury” because there was never a tear six years ago and hasn’t in any ultrasound since (every 6 months for the first two years, then every year after that).