I’m sure y’all are tired of hearing about Mr NQR, but here we are. TL;DR at the bottom.
Anyways, my 11YO OTTB gelding has been at the rehab farm for 13 months following a suspensory injury. Well, we suspect the injury was earlier, but let’s call it 13 months. We did the full protocol (stall rest, progressive loading, all of it) for 8 months before the mental wheels fell off and I pulled his shoes and kicked him outside to 24/7 turnout. He’d barely made it to trotting under saddle, because he was just wild and very body-sore despite everything we tried.
He’s had 5 months of turnout, barefoot living, and massage since then, and he’s really looking and feeling great (he’s in 0 work though. This is based on the bodyworker and my BO’s opinion). I miss being able to go out and groom him, so I found a barn near my house that will keep him on fancy pasture board.
My ultimate goal is to ride him again on trails or whatever he can handle - I’m trying to decide if I should attempt to put him back to work now or wait until the spring. I’ll be continuing the bodywork and taking it slow, but I don’t want to jump the gun just because he’s close enough for me to go see him.
Contributing factors: horse has KS, and his soreness is concentrated at the lower lumbar area according to the bodyworker. It used to be his whole spine and SI, now it seems to be clinging to his lumbar area. I have not done any treatments for this, and TBH I’m not looking to spend $$$$$ on him anymore. Adequan or legend or some mesotherapy are about as much as I want to do. I also do not have a custom saddle for him (the fitters want him working first, which, yeah, but also I can’t ride in an ill-fitting saddle), but I do have a setup that’s “pretty good”.
So, WWYD? Put the horse back to work now (plan TBD, but starting with lots of handwalking) and see how it goes, or wait until the spring for a full year since I kicked him on Dr Green? Would an extra 6 months make a difference at this point? I really don’t want to go down too many new rabbit holes, but would it be worth it to get the vet out to do some pain-cycle breaking back injections or do Adequan? Should I just cool my jets and wait for spring to start him, which is easier said than done since I’m a one horse gal for at least another year?
TL;DR: horse has been rehabbed for a suspensory injury for 8 months, followed by 5 months of Dr Green when the stall rest was wrecking the rest of his body. Would it be too soon to start him back to work now, or should I wait until spring (aka a year of Dr Green)?