I am giving you a really long response, dunno if it will be helpful, but it is my story right now with a horse with an injured leg. Unless this is something like a hoof abcess or a broken bone, the treatment for horse leg injuries are pretty similar, at least initially. I have mare with a torn suspensory that occured back in October. We are just now starting to ride her very lightly at a walk, and because her injury was hind end, she cannot do tight turns, small circles, hindquarter disengagement or anything. But eventually with some leg injuries, movement is critical to healing, I will get to that below. I am just going to tell you the story of how my mare is being treated for a specific leg injury just to give you some ideas and reasoning behind them. Without a Vet eval at least though, it will be hard to know exactly what would be best for your particular horse.
When a horse is first injured, you want to decrease the inflammation, so the cold hosing, if you can do it twice daily would be ideal. 10-15 minutes is my vet's recommendation. If the joint is swollen, after you hose it, you would want to use a supportive wrap to help decrease the swelling. When my mare was swollen, I used cut up matress covers and wrapped them around from coronary band to just below her hock (I cut them to fit that distance). I secured it with vetwrap. According to my vet, if you have a thick enough padding under the pressure wrap, it is nearly impossible to wrap them too tightly. The matress pads are economical (the vet wrap is not), because you can just wash and reuse them. Also to help inflammation, you would usually give bute twice daily for at least a week or two. We ran into trouble with my mare on bute. She would feel so good on it she was bouncing around like an idiot, and the vet was afriad she would make her injury worse, so we had to stop it after the first couple of days, but most people use it initailly for the inflammation. If you can get a vet to sell you some, or have a friend that has some, I would give it a shot. Do not be fooled if he quickly feels better, do not forget, it is the bute, he has probably not healed overnight.
Especially if the horse is lame, you need to restrict his ability to move initially. A large stall or square pen is needed. In the early stages of the injury, as I mentioned above they can delay healing or make the injury worse with too much activity.
I let my horse's swelling and level of comfort, along with my vet's guidance help gague how much excercise I gave her. When she was first injured, she was three legged lame, and I did not walk her at all. Once she felt better, that was within a few days, off the bute too I might add, we began hand walking. I could only visit my mare once daily, so I progressed from five to ten to fifteen minutes etc. Until we worked our way up to thirty minute walks. I think by the time we were at thirty minute walks we were about a month into healing.
My horse required restricted turnout, handwalking, and wrapping for at least 2 1/2 months. Then I gradually started leaving the leg unwrapped for short periods to see if the swelling could stay down. Once she did not have to be wrapped anymore, at about three months, we started to give her turnout in a flat area. My BO would take her out of her stall in the morning and put her in a square pen, because that is when she is the silliest, first thing in the morning, and then after she had gotten her dancing and prancing out of the way in the smaller area, we would put her in the large turnout for the rest of the day. She did pretty good at self excercising, just ambling around the turnout on her own.
This is where it kind of gets injury specific in the healing process. If a horse has an injured ligament or tendon, movement is critical for the new tissue being laid down to move properly. In other words, if the horse is standing still all the time, the tissue will develop in that pattern, while if the horse is moving as healing occurs, the new tissue will allow for movement. Tendon and ligament tissue takes a *long* time to lay down and adhere, and they are never as strong as they were before the injury. It can take as long as a year or even longer for them to really be riding sound. Hopefully your horse does not have this type of injury. But again, this is just my story and my point of reference.
At this point, we are on month 6 of healing. My mare is sound at the walk and back up (that was *really* painful for a long time). She has no swelling. She is not sound at the trot. I only trot her out very occasionally, and she has gone from completely dropping the affected hip side, to just a slight shortening of the stride. It is great to see her make progress, but it is hard to be patient and worry, and not know what her eventual level of healing will be.
So she is back on her regular turnout. If she gets rowdy in the morning, we just let her, and pray that it doesn't slow the healing process too much. She is now being ridden a couple of times a week by my trainer while she gives other people lessons. That way she walks a little, stands a little, walks a little etc. My trainer is one of my best friends also, so she is just doing it as a favor to me, though she said she enjoys having something to sit on and not getting sand kicked in her face while she is giving lessons
I am limited right now in my activity with my horse because I am not sound
I was diagnosed with small tumors in my foot and cannot walk well right now, am going to have surgery next month, so I am relying heavily on my friends and BO to help with my mare's recovery right now, though for those first three months I was there every day, rain or shine. Thank goodness my foot was not this bad when she was first injured, she really needed me.
The bottom line that I have always kept in mind is this statistic that I read from one of the major vet schools in the US. Of horses that sustain injury to their legs, *if* they are able to heal to be riding sound, 80% will do it with rest, controlled excercise, and time. The other 20% could be healed through surgery. Given those stats and my budget, I have to hope we are in the 80%. And it also goes to show you, if your horse is able to heal, you really need more patience and a good plan, than money.