Grinding to a Halt


It’s taking a lot for me to write this, because the last 24 hours have brought some unexpected news that I hoped I’d never have to deal with. Oh So is now on stall rest due to a suspensory strain that showed up on Sunday after my jump lesson.

We had a good ride, then I stood and chatted with my trainer for a few minutes before walking back to the trailer. I thought I felt something, but I wasn’t sure. Just in case, I called the vet to come out on Tuesday because he didn’t look any better on Monday morning.

We watched him on the lunge line, then flexed him, and it didn’t seem too bad, but once I got on, it was pretty obvious it was right front.

We started by blocking his foot, then moved up the leg until we got the the suspensory and he got better.

The ultrasound revealed a disruption of the normal fiber pattern of the suspensory, so it’s not a tear or a hole, thankfully, but it’s still serious.

I’ve been instructed to ice and hand walk and the vet will come back on Friday to rescan and possibly x-ray to see if we missed anything due to the leg swelling up a little from the blocking.

He’ll be on stall rest for a few months and we’re going to probably do shock wave therapy as well, but I’ll know more on Friday.

I’m truly devastated because he’s never been lame a day in his life, not even so much as an abscess or a hot nail. He raced for five years  and came to me with perfectly clean legs, and we’re always careful about what conditions we ride in and how I take care of his legs.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t upset about missing the competition season because there’s so much more I want to improve upon and I enjoy being out and about and seeing my friends. But above all else, I just want a healthy horse who can continue to do the job he loves. We’ve been incredibly lucky thus far (compared to Sam’s career), having never missed a competition.

As sad as it sounds, my life revolves around him, as anyone who knows me knows, and it has for the last 6 years. Most weekends involve a show, a lesson or a gallop, and I’ve carefully crafted my work and riding schedule to fit it all in. I’m feeling a little lost at the moment because this is so fresh, and I’m concerned about his future, and ours together.

I’m grateful for every jump he’s given me and every time we leave the start box, I feel so lucky to have a horse who lives for his job and loves every minute of life. We could all take something away from his attitude!

In the bigger picture of life, no, this isn’t a tragedy, but at the moment, it feels a little like my life has come to a screeching halt.

I’m also worried about how he’ll take to being on stall rest, although I’m hoping he’ll get into the routine since he lived the first 7 years of his life in a stall. He kept me up last night banging his stall door, so we’re going to have to find a solution for that.

I know that I can’t stop riding, it’s a part of my identity, but I don’t have a sound horse to ride right now, so I’m on the lookout for one to borrow rides on or a project horse.

My trainer, who always looks on the bright side of things as much as I want to be a pessimist, thinks that things happen for a reason, and now is the time to get a project horse to sell. She’s fully ready to help me find any breed of horse to train for the next few months and thinks it will be good for my learning to apply the skills I have to a new challenge.

I have the extra stall and the luxury of not paying board at the moment, so I want to pursue it, but my budget is extremely low.

Three days ago, I never could have entertained my life changing this much, but, such is life I guess. I’m going to allow myself to wallow and feel sorry about this for the rest of the week, then forge ahead to the next step.

6 thoughts on “Grinding to a Halt

  1. Lauren Griffith

    Hopefully it is just a strain and not a tear,so with a lot of TLC ,this should not be career ending.Praying that all goes well.

  2. Sophie Hart

    Hey there!

    I just stumbled onto your blog reading about Dalmar boots on Chronicle. My gelding just tore his SDFT in BOTH front legs. He is on stall rest for a while and was losing his mind! I cut his grain down totally – just getting beet pulp and a vit/min top dressing and as much hay to keep him happy. The vet suggested Ace to calm him down – did nothing, so then we tried the 30 day tranq. I was really worried that this would make him ‘blah’ and affect his quality of life while he is inside, but I guess the alternative was him stressing out and spinning in circle in his stall which would lead to weight loss/ stress and re-injuring himself. The tranq actually worked and he is not out of it or groggy – it’s almost as if he was back to his normal calm self!

    I really hope it is just a sprain! My gelding’s tears are only about 5% (small black hole on the ultrasound) and the prognoses is about 6 weeks stall rest then re-check, and if all is well start back slowly. I did the shockwave therapy a couple days ago and did notice a slight difference in size of the affected areas – definitely look less ‘bowed’. It was very expensive though (double the cost for both legs!). Not a whole lot of information proving it is significantly better than plain old stall rest and good care and attention, but it helped with peace of mind in that I am doing everything I can to help him return to fine form! If it is an option and recommended and you can afford it, I would go for it, The vet also said PRP would be an option, but for how small the tears were, it would probably not be worth the money and also leaves lumps or scars.

    I am also a bit relieved reading your blog that I am not the only one losing the rest of my show season. As much as I love my horse and only want him to get better and be comfortable, I am, like you, devastated about the fact that my show season is over. We were doing so well in the dressage ring (up for year end champs in 2nd level)as well as gaining a lot of experience out at events and were on course to upgrade to Training near the end of the season if not sooner. I was on course to having the best summer ever showing on my horse of 4 years alongside a group of close friends. It is OK to mope around – I am right there wallowing with you!

    1. Hey Sophie, I’m so sorry to hear your boy is injured! Thanks for the kind words :). I was just talking with my vet this morning and while PRP sounds like a good option, it’s also pretty expensive compared to the shockwave, and our insurance will only cover some of the cost, so it’s looking more likely that I’ll go with shockwave.

      I hope you can get back to slow work in 6 weeks. I won’t really know much until the next ultrasound.

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