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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just wanted to share my news!

My 11 year old Quarter Horse injured himself a year ago before Thanksgiving. There was a wind storm, and our trampoline flew into the pasture from way across the yard. We thought Rusty might have tried to jump the fence but didn't make it over. He came up three-legged lame and his hock was enormously swollen.

When I took Rusty to the university vet, I got really bad news. Rusty had fractured his lateral malleolus, or from what I can gather, the top part of his tibia. Bone chips were floating around in the hock area. The vet said that Rusty probably had significant damage to his joints below the area, and the trauma to the area was so great that Rusty probably wouldn't even be able to be a light riding horse. They even suggested euthanasia as an option.

Rusty got six months of turnout with no exercise whatsoever. I asked my local vet for his opinion, and he said I could try riding Rusty, cautioning me that he could only probably handle flat surfaces a few days a week at mostly walk and a little bit of trot.

After a while, Rusty was cantering across the field with me. We cantered very limitedly.

This summer, Rusty went on a short trail ride when my show horse came up lame. Later in the summer, he began taking longer trail rides, cantering more frequently, and going about once a week.

This fall, my local vet told me that my horse could do some irregular moderate work probably, but said regular work might cause lameness.

Rusty went on a weekend trail ride, which ended up being a grueling 6 hour ride. The next day, all he wanted to do was go, and when I raced my friend through a field, I swear that horse galloped faster than ever before.

***And today***

Rusty got an x-ray to see how he healed up. His fracture healed nicely, and the bone chips rounded off and settled. They're not interfering with the joint, and the aftermath of the injury did cause a little arthritis, but the changes were very minor and seem to be progressing slowly.

The vet cleared him for regular work and jumping. I can barely believe it!
 

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Colour me skeptical, but you pushed your horse even though your vets warned you not to?
Glad your horse is doing better, but I'm not sure I agree with the method you used. I'm saying this not to be a wet blanket, but so that novice horse owners don't see your story and start pushing thief injured or lame horses.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
JustDressageIt,

I experimented with a few things, but it's not like I rushed the whole process. You know, we did as the vet said, and when that was fine, and then I'd add something small in and monitor him until the next day. My local vet did encourage me to try things out and see what happened, within reason of course. He just THOUGHT that that would be what happened. I consulted with him before trying to ride Rusty, where he said that very light work was probably the only thing he could handle, but he said I wouldn't know unless I tried a few things gradually.

The university vet told me, yesterday, that working Rusty would not affect him in the future. In other words, I couldn't do more damage to what was already done. I waited six months before I even called my local vet to get his opinion. I waited another three or four before I even tried a trail ride, and it was a local one at a very slow pace for no more than an hour and a half.

If this was something where Rusty's condition would be worsened by me riding him, I wouldn't have done it. Yes, he could have come up lame, and I was very concerned about that. But because of where the fracture was and how odd it was, no one knew what he could handle, and the only way, as the vet told me, you find that out is pushing a little bit. If he would have came up lame, I would not have pushed again and ridden within those realms. But coming up lame would not have made his injury worse per say, or make his arthritic progression faster. It would have just been a signal that his joints, in his case, more than the fracture itself, could not have that much stress put on them.

I'm sorry I did not clarify what my local vet said to me - yes, he did say that he thought that would be Rusty's limit, but he also said that, after six months of rest, I could push a little bit to see what kind of work he could handle.

Also, just to note, my pasture is about an acre, and I was halfway across it before I tried my first canter on him, on his lead that would be easiest for him.

And yes, you should always consult a vet before you start working an injured horse, and heaven forbid, don't buy one either!
 

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That is fantastic - great story!
 
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