I work for a company that has started a theraputic riding program for teens. We have a horse that while at a slow walk with lead rope attached and a young rider in saddle, fell. She went down slow but did fall all the way down and then onto the rider. Luckily rider was not hurt. Though right after she favored her leg and would not put a whole lot of weight on it. (from my angle it looked like she may have favored leg before she fell but not certain).
Vet was called out the following day. We were told that most likely she had a suspensory ligament injury (most likely a tear). Due to the amount of swelling the vet also thought tendon damage was possible. She said she should be left in a stall and iced for 15 min increments several times a day. Also prescribed butte for pain. Said full diagnosis could not be made without an ultrasound (which this vet doesn't have, we would have to get another and the expense was more than we were willing to do at this point). Vet was not very thorough we thought and so elected for a second opinion.
We had a person with many many years horse experience come look at her. We were told by this person that a suspensory ligament was suspected but also said that it appears she has arthritis in both knees and also back right ankle.
This horse is a mare, 14 years old standardbred. She was a harness racing horse at one time but I know little of her history.
She does appear cranky at times as well.
The program requires light riding, but we plan to be able to use horse to gallop and possible barrell race etc.
My questions are:
1. Knowing that the horse fell only at a walk and that these supposed injuries usually do not heal 100% can she ever be considered safe for youth to ride ? Being a company safety is very important to us.
2. If there is arthritis this usually progresses and since she now has a ligament injury on top of this, can we expect a good prognosis?
3. If she is not going to be safe to ride, can we conisder her for breeding?
4. Is the best option a new home where she can be a pasture pet the best option for the horse?
Sorry I know this is long. I am not a super experienced horse person, I am looking for further answers. We want the best outcome for the program and the horse. Please don't judge.