Old Bowed Tendon - Any Advice/Suggestions?
 
 

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Old Bowed Tendon - Any Advice/Suggestions?

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    07-12-2008, 04:58 PM
  #1
Foal
Old Bowed Tendon - Any Advice/Suggestions?

Hello everyone! I am throwing my situation out for any opinions/advice/experiences of your own you may be able to share with me.
I am purchasing a 3yo OTTB – rescuing him from slaughter, actually. I go to college in NY and we have a racing program where we break & train TB’s. This horse, who’s name is Chicken Tango (lol) was donated to us by a NY trainer after he suffered a mid bowed tendon (aka, its neither high or low, per se, but instead right in the middle). I will include photos that were taken 8 months after the bow. Anyways, he had a ton of stall rest and at about the 8 month mark we returned him to LIGHT training, or, *I* did, as he was my horse for the semester. I had him on a training regimen of basically walking and VERY light trotting. Well, one day our professor had the rider canter him WAY too much in an arena (I couldn’t ride him at the time, as a different horse in the program had broken my leg a couple months before. D:..) anyways… He soon came up SLIGHTLY lame. I do not think he tore the tendon again, but had we continued, he most likely would have.
All of this happened in March. I had him turned out in a very large pasture with about 4 two year olds for the summer. He went out there in May and will come in in August when I get him. Here is the concern… The bow is approximately a year old, actually, possibly a little older. He hasn’t been ridden since March’s incident, however during the stall rest following that I would put SMB boots on his front legs along with bell boots and wrap his hind legs with polos. He ran around but never pushed himself too hard, I think he knows his limit.
As I mentioned he’s now turned out in a pasture WITH HILLS which I heard was good for bowed tendons.
Have any of you ever dealt with an old bowed tendon? If so, what kind of a training regimen did you put them on when the bow was this old? I am thinking some SLOW hill work for a couple months, then move to trotting, then to cantering depending on his progress.
If anyone has ANY advice on this issue to share I would really appreciate it. I am doing a lot of research before I get him so that I can take the best care of him I can, and allow him to live the happy life he deserves, hopefully pain free. (=
Also, any nutrition and shoeing/trimming advice would be excellent. In the photos, note how badly trimmed he is. When I get him this will be fixed. I have a wonderful farrier but any advice/suggestions are great!
Here are the photos; mind you, they were taken in April 2008. He appears moderately light due to the healing bow, we didn’t want to add too much weight too quickly.

NOTE: It is his RIGHT FRONT. The left front is shaved as he had a small splint which is now simply a blemish.
1] http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v1...deView_460.jpg
2] http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v1...eView_4608.jpg
3] http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v1...ormation_4.jpg
Thanks guys!
     
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    07-12-2008, 05:14 PM
  #2
Weanling
The trim isn't as bad as I had pictured in my mind from your warning. LOL

The tendon should be conditioned slowly. Turnout is great, as movement is good for the leg to keep it limber. Stall rest can be counterintuitive after inital inflammation. Hand walking/trotting is a good place to start. On the flat, the progressing to more "hill work". Pretty much take baby steps. Muscles get into shape faster than tendons and ligaments and his leg will always be a bit weaker now. Using supportive boots can help at first, but relying on them too much contributes to overall weakness. You want to encourage the leg to regain it's strength, not depend on crutches.

Added weight of a rider should be introduced slowly, with walking only at first, progressing to trotting, and on up. I'd start with say, 20 minute walks, then gradually increase the time. Or exchange a minute or two of walking with trotting, but stick with your 20 minute time limit. Never increase impact AND time in the same workout.

For a trim, once the obvious lameness and swelling has subsided, really they shouldn't get a special trim, beyond making sure the toes don't get long and the heel isn't excessively low. Right after the injury, sometimes letting the heel be raised TEMPORARILY will ease pain until the worst pain is over, but again, you don't want to keep the heels high for long-it encourages a tight tendon and creates other problems not even related to the tendon. But I digress.

I had my old horse re-bow a tendon last winter. He had bowed it years ago barrel racing and it never bothered him (he had a year of turnout to heal before being ridden again) anyhoo, last winter the footing was choppy and frozen and he was running and just stepped wrong on the ice. His weak leg bowed. He had the whole rest of winter/spring off and recently my hubby started riding him again and he's sound, but he's restricted the rides to no more than 30 minutes of walking. The best thing is to resist overworking them when they seem fine. It takes at least a year to heal and to expect anything beyond walking/trotting before then is unrealistic. Vets that I have talked to around here all agree that a year off from anything more than walking is the best healer. Walking IS recommended, though to help the tendon fibers lay the way they should by being gently stretched. Stall rest lets the tighten too much, turnout is the BEST thing. Patience is the key.

Oh, and the hill work, think of it this way, anything that makes it more challenging (hills) adds stress, so while eventually they would be good for conditioning, I'd hold off on forced hill work. You don't want to overdo it. Same with tight circles, like longeing. It's too much torque for the leg at first.
     
    07-12-2008, 09:08 PM
  #3
Foal
Excellent. That's a very useful response.

Mind you, when the horse was donated the bow was approximately three months old. I was treating it with open Balls Solution every day until it started to get a little blistery and I don't believe in blistering, so I layed off until the scabbiness healed and only painted it once or twice a week. This was the professor's idea.
The horse wasn't ridden with us at all for about 5-6 months. He was walked in the equicizer for a couple months. When we introduced the weight to him in February he was handling things SO well. He felt really good and when I told my rider to walk him a good ten minutes he was hard to hold, lol. He wanted to jig around the ring. My plan was to work him up slowly, which my professor ruined in March, as mentioned. After that he was returned to stall rest, and to support his energy level (despite the lowered ration) I turned him out in the round pen, wrapped up as I mentioned previously for 20 minutes. Of course, he had been hand walking then and was looking sound without weight so I didn't think I was moving too fast.
He hasn't had weight since then. So the slow walking with weight for 20 mins is a great suggestion which I find EXTREMELY reasonable and I will definitely do that. Should I move to a trot for 20 mins in a months time, etc?

Since then he hasn't been ridden
     
    07-12-2008, 09:13 PM
  #4
Weanling
You can kind of judge how he's doing and add a minute or two of intensity each day. If there's ANY sign of overuse, slack off again for a week or so.

Also, if he seems extra giddy before you can get the "edge" off, go ahead and wrap his legs and let him play outside first, the wraps are in case he goes overboard, but then take them back off for his regular work.

I don't like blisters, either. The old guy I have has pin firing marks on his legs. Poor boy! But I DO like use a nice normal liniment, like Absorbine or Bigeloil after the exercise. It's soothing and lets you feel around for more heat/swelling/tenderness right after. I'm not sure if it really helps anything, but it makes ME feel better. LOL And the attention doesn't hurt the horse any.
     
    07-13-2008, 12:30 AM
  #5
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by barefoothooves
You can kind of judge how he's doing and add a minute or two of intensity each day. If there's ANY sign of overuse, slack off again for a week or so.

Also, if he seems extra giddy before you can get the "edge" off, go ahead and wrap his legs and let him play outside first, the wraps are in case he goes overboard, but then take them back off for his regular work.

I don't like blisters, either. The old guy I have has pin firing marks on his legs. Poor boy! But I DO like use a nice normal liniment, like Absorbine or Bigeloil after the exercise. It's soothing and lets you feel around for more heat/swelling/tenderness right after. I'm not sure if it really helps anything, but it makes ME feel better. LOL And the attention doesn't hurt the horse any.
Very well said. I have seen a horse with a really badly bowed tendon that came off the track. He started very slowly and was slowly increased to higher fences and longer riding regiments. He will never be able to jump very high but he was fantastic for young riders and he never had soundness issues.
If you want to spend the money on it I know there is a steroid injection treatment you can do that somehow works in reversing the damage done by the bow. I have no idea how or why it works. Never seen it done, just heard about it. If you are concerned about competing at higher levels asking your vet might be a good option.
     
    07-17-2008, 06:17 PM
  #6
Foal
Another thing..
What are your guys' opinions on Trace Running Bandages or Track Bandages as opposed to SMB's for support. I know polos don't support much, rather protect.
Just wondering on your views.
     
    07-18-2008, 04:13 PM
  #7
Trained
I don't know that you really need support so much. The biggest long term effect from bowed tendons is the scar tissue which doesn't "give" and flex. Boots, wraps, etc. can actually hinder your goal here by not allowing movement. My girl came from the track dead lame with bad feet and two severely bowed tendons. The bows were old, less old and new... I don't know how many times she bowed to be honest. Anyway, Here we are 2 years later and she is just fine -- went on a 3 hour hack through bush, hills, mud, flats, walking, trotting, running full out... she came out without any heat or soreness at all. Her only limitation is the lack of flexibility, but my vet is amazed.

What I did -- NO STALL REST. Kept her in a smallish paddock for a month. Hand walked and trotted lots. Way more than the vet recommended. I did as much as I thought she could take without causing soreness. I would check her legs as we worked and never pushed it. I never did circles or lungeing. (I can do circles and quick stops now though.) At the beginning I cold hosed and put ice-tite on her legs, left it on for about 20 minutes and then took off the wraps. I honestly don't know if that helped her old injuries or not, but I KNOW that the exercise did. Over the last 2 years, only once did she get warm and that was about 8 months after I got her -- I pushed too much and rode her for almost 2 hours on hard gravel. However, now that is not a problem for her at all. I wouldn't worry about him running in the paddock anymore. It's been long time. He will only do what he is comfortable doing unless there is another horse that causes him trouble. Let him run and bop around in the field as much as he wants. My advice is to watch what your horse tells you -- any sign of not performing as desired must be an immediate signal for you to check for discomfort. If that happens, don't do what you did that day again or not as long for another month.

My girl would probably never be a competition jumper, reiner or dressage horse simply due to lack of flexibility and her appearance now, but she can do anything else I ask of her. She is never in pain and never has any heat in her legs at all.

Good luck.
     

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