Riding After Tendon Injury
I need some help bringing my horse back into work and deciding if I could compete on her any more this year. I suppose y'all might need a case history...
My mare bowed her tendon around 4 weeks ago. She was only barely lame, the swelling was moderate in the first hours, and she was given Bute and cold hosed very soon after the injury happened. She was seen by the on-site vet, since we were away from home.
She was kept completely stall bound for three days until she became so stir crazy she had to be turned out in the pasture during the day with her herdmates to avoid hurting herself. The lameness was gone within four days. The vet came out a week later to see about her and started her on DMSO until no heat could be detected and all traces of swelling was gone.
Now she is kept in a stall 12 hours a day and turned out the rest of the time. The tendon is no longer heated or swollen, and doesn't hurt when squeezed. She shows no lameness trotting or cantering (which I wish she wouldn't do...) in the pasture.
The vet said she needed two to four weeks off before I started slow ridden work. I've decided to wait roughly six weeks (July 1st) to get back on her.
Here comes my questions and concerns:
What is "slow ridden work"? I'm sure I should start off just walking, but for how long? When do I start trotting under saddle again? How many times a week? Etc?
I also wonder about competing her. I want to go to a CTR at the end of September. That would be about four months after she was hurt. This CTR is easy terrian (just like what I ride at home), sandy, flat, and would only require a walk and moderate trot. However, it would be 20 miles if I did one day and 40 if I did a two day. Would it be pushing it to bring her to this?
If not, there is another I would like to go to in October (about a month after the one mentioned above). It would be hilly and rocky, however.
Maybe I should just not ride her competitively for the rest of the year? I don't know how fragile this leg will be and what should be expected of a horse like mine.
Now, a broad question: How long until I can ride her like I did before injury? I am currently in a division that offers the lowest speed and distance requirements, but I would like to move up next year into a higher division that requires more trotting and more miles. I'm very afraid that this isn't a realistic goal...
I guess this thread was a little too much for most to read. :lol: It's certainly long and full of questions that have no solid answers.
I am not experienced with this kind of thing, but a girl in my barn her horse had surgery on a torn tendon and this is what she did. He was on stall rest for awhile and when they started riding him they would get on and walk him for 20 minutes to warm up the tendon. They would start with 5 minutes of trotting and every two days they would increase the trotting by a minute. When they had reached 20 minutes of trotting they started with 5 minutes of cantering and every two days they would increase the cantering by a minute. When they reached 20 minutes of cantering, along with the 20 minutes of trotting, then they started jumping him, starting low and slowly increasing the height. Thye would ride him 5 days a week. I know your horse didn't have as severe a tendon injury, so you could shorten this to fit your horse. Again, I am no expert. I think you will be able to tell when your horse is as fit as she was before. You certainly don't want to rush her into it and risk hurting the tendon agian. I hope this helped a little bit!
That's a lot more work then I assumed the horse would be saddled with for a while. I just thought that I would be struck with short trots and no canter for a while! If that rerab program is "correct", that's great news. That's actually a lot like how I condition any pasture puff to go back to work. A little longer sessions, but nevertheless similar, with the gradually increasing trots.
Please discuss all these concerns with your vet; back to work should be done with a vet's guidance - tendons aren't something to muss with :)
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I've been toying with the idea of bringing her back to a vet a few days before I start working her again, to make sure all is clear. I wasn't sure if that's something normal people deem neccisary; like I was being overly cautious. I've recently taken to treating her like she's made of glass. I will certainly call my vet and talk to him about my concerns.
I am very afraid that I would reinjure her and she would no longer be able to take me to higher levels of my sport...
I called my vet. He's out of town for a week (I got the front office), but I'll be able to speak to him sooner or later.
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