5 year old OTTB, cooped up.

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5 year old OTTB, cooped up.

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  • Ottb on stall rest
  • 5 yr old ottb

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    07-18-2011, 03:01 AM
5 year old OTTB, cooped up.

For starters I have inherited a 5 year old fresh off the track TB who has a bowed tendon in his super digital flexor. The vets say the bow is not going to affect his performance at all once its healed and I have plans to turn him into a hunter or jumper.
With that being said the poor guy is stuck on stall rest for the next few months, and as you can imagine he's bored and hyped up beyond belief. I try to take him out for grass but the second another horse walks by or the dogs on the farm start to play he gets all excited and wants to play too. Except his version of playing involves leaping on all fours, rearing, flailing legs and strike outs. I expect this seeing as he's in a stall 24/7 and as much as I correct him he just gets more worked up. Then the second he's back in his stall or on cross ties he's quiet as can be and an absolute joy to be around. Again, I can't blame him for being worked up and expect him to act up but being as large as he is and how crazy he gets I'm getting nervous.
I have worked with OTTB's before but not to an extent or situation like this. I'm kinda at a loss of what to do and all the advice I have received is to yank on the chain lead more which I feel is going to do much more than upset him or drug him until he can be turned out.
Any other ideas on what I can do to teach him this is not acceptable and or any tips on how to handle this.
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    07-18-2011, 04:15 AM
There is a bit of controversy regarding the best long-term treatment of tendon injuries.

Let me say first that you should not take anyone's advice over that of your vet unless it's another vet. At most, you might end up with something to discuss with your vet.

In my experience, I have seen much better results with tendon injuries when a horse is left without pain meds of any sort and is given constant turnout with a small herd of very docile horses. Not only does it help their mentality by not keeping them isolated in a stall for 23 hours a day for months on end, but the low impact, constant movement of moving around grazing seems to help them heal faster and better. With the lack of pain meds, the horse realizes his limitations by knowing when something he does hurts and being turned out constantly alleviates his need to act like a fool and possibly re-injure himself or injure himself worse by doing his aerial acrobatics on the lead just because he feels a bit too fresh.
    07-18-2011, 08:52 AM
I can't relate to the OTTB side of things, but certainly can to the recovery from a tendon injury. I went through this with my youngest fella (who recently had the snip but was a 4 yr old stud at the time) It can be very trying. He was on complete stall rest for the first month with gradually increased handwalking & eventually turnout. Smrobs is right about the differences in opinions on treating & handling such injuries. With mine, I'd have loved to let him be on turnout 24/7 but knowing him well, being calm & just taking it easy wouldn't have happened & he would have created more problems.

LOTS of grooming time, toys (Woodstock had more fun banging around empty gallon milk jugs than any of the horse toys I bought for him.) I got to the point where I'd sit in his stall and read the current issue of Equus out loud to him, balance my checkbook, did some carrot stretches, and clicker trained him to touch his nose to a cone, etc.

I also agree with the pain meds, it's better for them to feel some of the pain so that they don't get a false sense of being okay and hurt themselves worse. I'd also suggest getting him on an ulcer preventative as the stress of stall rest (plus pain meds) can lead to them very quickly. I'm not a TB person, but as I understand it they are already fairly prone to ulcers to begin with.
    07-18-2011, 10:15 AM
Usually once a horse is over his sillies he settles down. If you keep him on stall rest, I'd feed hay only as anything else can add to his energy. We can't expect horses to digest food very well if on stall rest as walking is what keeps things moving through their very long gut.
    07-22-2011, 11:49 AM
Yeah he's getting hay only. I also put some toys in his stall to try and keep him a little preoccupied. He seems to be a little better now when I take him for his short walks, soon the vet is going to have me hand walk him and that should be interesting. I really don't want to drug him all the time, it makes me nervous just thinking about it. :/
    07-22-2011, 08:16 PM
I have to say, I kind of agree with smrobs here. The pure biomechanics of it make more sense than keeping a horse boxed up--they say movement aids arthritis because there's no time to get stiff, well constant moving around increases blood flow to the entire body, especially the legs, and increased blood flow means decreased healing time. If you have really sandy turnouts or turnouts with unsure footing, like a ditch running through the middle or lots of holes from ground animals, I would say probably don't turn him out, but we have a gelding at my barn who has been on stall rest for 6 months because he had a tendon injury, and then as soon as he started getting significant turn out, he re-injured himself.

I would say because he has been stalled you may want to start off turning him out with a little bit of sedation or a calming paste, but wean him off of it over a few days as he gets back into the 'turnout' mode......if you consult with your vet and decide to try the turn out option.

hyper, ottb, stall rest

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