Monday, July 14, 2014

My Horse Recovers from a Suspensory Pull - I Recover from Knee Surgery

About a month before I had my knee replacement surgery, Golly was showing some slight lameness.  A couple of days off and he was still off but not substantially.   My annual vet visit was coming up anyway so I asked her to add a lameness exam. After watching him go, doing a nerve block and a hands on physical exam, she said it was a suspension pull in the upper part of the right front leg.  Ugggh...

The treatment plan was a month of stall rest and then slowly put him back into work.  Since I was going to be out anyway, we agreed on two months of stall rest since the extra wouldn't hurt and could only help.

The full plan was:

1. Complete stall rest for one month
2. Stall rest for 12 hours and 12 hours in small outdoor paddock for remainder of summer
3. Starting at the two month mark, ten minutes of hand walking for two weeks
4. Ten minutes of hand walking and five minutes of walking under saddle for two weeks
5. Ten minutes of walking under saddle and 2-4 minutes of trotting
6. Adding more trot as he can handle the work

At four weeks past my knee replacement, I recruited friends to begin the hand walking.  I was shocked at how even ten minutes of hand walking left him a little breathless.  Two months of standing still really knocked his fitness level to nothing!

At five and half weeks past surgery I was getting a little impatient so decided to go just a bit faster and add a couple minutes under saddle.   You'd think a horse that hadn't been ridden for two months would be a LITTLE bad his first time under saddle but he was great ..... so.... I was tempted ..... could MY leg handle a few minutes in the saddle?   Since I had the help I went ahead and hopped on and did a quick circle.  The whole thing was painless and easy so I couldn't be happier with our first ride back together.

We won't know how his leg has has healed until he begins the trot work but so far its looking good and he seems happy to be back in the ring.   I have my doc appointment on Friday and plan to ask how it would affect my knee if I had to quickly get off.  If all is good with a quick dismount, I plan to do all the future under saddle work!  Woohoo!

Excuse the outfit - didn't think I would be riding!


  1. Congratulations for being brave enough to stick with riding!! From a fellow injured rider, I appreciate and respect the determination it takes to get back on! Wishing you the very best. Safe travels and Have a great ride!

  2. So happy to run across your blog and a fellow dressage rider. I have bone on bone arthritis. I need a knee replacement but am scared of being crippled forever. Would you do it again?

  3. Hello, I would love to know how things went for you, your knee and riding after this post - I can't seem to find any on your progress after this one.

  4. Hi Amanda! We got busy with the purchase of a new farm and I have not had time to write lately. You are right though -- I need an update on how the knee is doing and how riding is with two knee replacements. Shorty story until I get something written is that its going well and I am able to do most everything (except jumping and dismounting is still a bit awkward). I promise to write soon though -- sign up for the email notifications so you get it when I do. Thanks for writing and let me know if there is anything in particular you want to know about the recovery.


I love to get feedback and hear about your journey-- please share!