I believe that there are five simple rules you should follow when your horse gets injured:
1) Take the horse to a veterinarian as soon as you see symptoms of an injury (and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion)
2) Research the injury, as well as treatment options
3) Ask others about their experiences with a similar injury
4) Obey rules from the veterinarian
5) Don’t rush the horse through the rehabilitation stage
In October, my mare, Charisma, started running slightly slower times and coming off the first barrel wide. We took her to our veterinarian, and he said she had a suspensory ligament tear. So we took her home and started doing some research on the suspensory ligament and treatment options. We discussed the topic with several different veterinarians, as well as experienced horsemen, to find our best options for treatment.
At our veterinary appointment, the vet told us that Charisma would not be running barrels for a few months, and we needed to keep her in a stall. It was vital for her not to move around too much because she could make her injury even worse. We took Charisma back to get her ligament checked every 30 days.
In March, as I write this article, Charisma is still not healed enough to start riding again. However, when you are bringing a horse back from an injury, you don’t want to just push them through rehabilitation. If you do, you could easily re-injure the horse, so I’m being patient.
I will follow the five injury rules above all the way to the end, and, hopefully, Charisma and I will be back in business soon.