Poll Recap: Rehabbing an Injured Horse

Of the 420 respondents, 334 (79%) said they have worked with a veterinarian to rehab an equine injury.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

There's no way around it: Horses are accidents waiting to happen! Chances are, at some point, you’ll have to help a horse recover from an injury. While some injuries are minor and can improve rapidly, other more serious injuries can require weeks and months of rehabilitation to help your horse heal.

In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers if they have ever rehabilitated an injured horse. More than 400 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!   

Of the 420 respondents, 334 (79%) said they have worked with a veterinarian to rehab an equine injury, and 15 individuals (4%) sent their injured horse to a specialized rehab facility. The remaining 71 respondents (17%) said they have not rehabbed an injury in their horse.

Additionally, more than 50 people commented about their experiences rehabbing injured horses:

Many people shared their experiences with rehabbing an injured horse:

  • “My horse had a leg injury. We hand-grazed three times a day for about two hours each time for eight weeks. No problems since.”
  • “My horse had cecal impaction surgery and navicular.”
  • “On two separate occasions with two different horses: One had severed rear tendons and one had a front tendon tear.”
  • “Severe founder. The horse lay down for four months and completely blew out his front hooves.”
  • “Chipped fetlock and laminitis. The horse returned to full soundness with farrier and veterinary guidance.”
  • “My horse fractured a splint bone. We went from complete stall rest through total rehab. It was a long process, but well worth it!”
  • “My OTTB had a flare-up of his bowed tendon. Cold water, liniment, and hand-walking cleared him up.”
  • “My horse punched his foot through the barn and had a horrible cut. We're on six months and counting of rehab!”
  • “I rehabbed a Sweeney shoulder to 100% healed.”
  • “I have rehabbed many horses for our clients as well, always with veterinarian oversight.”
  • “My gelding severed his left rear extensor tendon in a bad accident. He's now completely sound!”
  • “I've rehabbed tendinitis, 'navicular,' colic surgery, and various lacerations.”
  • “A broken pastern and a partially torn suspensory ligament on two different horses.”
  • “Three months of box rest for a subluxated pelvis. I should have hand-grazed and -walked as horse developed vices.”
  • “My horse had a tear in the collateral ligament of the hock. We used stall rest, a brace, Vivastem stem cell fluid. He recovered completely.”
  • “He had a torn meniscus and we did IRAP successfully.”
  • “I rescued/rehabbed an emaciated 9-month-old colt with fistulous withers. I rehabbed a gelding who impaled himself on fence.”
  • “The vet made a specific rehab plan for him and we worked together with the farrier and chiropractor.”
  • “I rehabbed my old Quarter Horse mare after a wire cut to her ligament of the pastern. Daily liniment.”
  • “I actually worked with my trainer to rehab my horse's medial collateral ligament. She's sound!”
  • “I have rehabbed many horses from minor to major injuries. It's important to know and understand the process.”
  • “I work as a horse caretaker for 26 horses. I've rehabbed many injuries and 100% were good outcomes.”
  • “I brought my horse back after he tore the superficial digital flexor tendon off his hock.”
  • “Two strained suspensories and a cut under hock requiring surgery, both in the same horse. He's still competing endurance.”
  • “A deep flexor tendon injury laid my mare up five months. Hand-walking only, then five minutes walk, one minute trot.”
  • “I do a lot of lay-ups and rehab at my farm. Almost always start with 4-6+ month turnout on our hills.”
  • “I rehabbed my Arab after a bowed tendon.”
  • “I just followed the veterinarian's instructions in rest and slow return to work.”
  • “My horse cut his leg on the fence. It took about a month of stall rest and rehab to heal.”
  • “The Jaeckle Centre did a fantastic job helping my horse return to competition.”

A few others said they have not rehabbed an injured horse:

  • “They've had minor injuries over the years, but none requiring a rehab.”
  • “Thankfully, they have always been sound, but would follow vet’s advice if they needed rehab.”
  • “The most severe injuries my horse has had are some leg cuts requiring bandaging and an abscess in her hoof.”

You can get expert tips on management techniques and new therapy options that help horses heal, learn about different types of therapy options including functional electronic stimulation (FES) and shock wave therapy, read about rehabbing horse joints and soft tissue injuries, learn how to use rehabilitation exercises from the ground, and listen to veterinarians discuss different equine sports therapy treatments all at TheHorse.com! 

This week, we want to know: what are your biggest lameness concerns for your horse? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com/polls

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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