Episode 19: Horse stuck in stall for 18 months

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Have you ever had to rehab a horse using “stall rest?”

Horses aren’t generally keen on being stuck in a stall all day.

Think if it was months of stall rest….18 months!

That is the longest I have ever heard of, and I absolutely disagree with it.

The owner involved was doing her best. The vet involved was doing his best. But the whole thing sucked.


Because no one asked WHY the horse wasn’t healing.

They just kept waiting for it to happen.

Once we figured out this horse’s key problem, then finally he could heal.

Best to you,
Renee Tucker, DVM

Links Mentioned:
Save your Suspensory Free Training Video
TBT Practitioners

Renee (00:01)
Hello, friends. This is Dr. Renee Tucker again. Today I would like to tell you the story of a horse that I will call Mr. Incredible.

Renee (00:11)
I actually forget his name, but this stay will explain why he was so incredible. So I get this call, and this was a long time ago when I was doing chiropractic and acupuncture, and that’s it, okay? I get this call from to come out with this lady who has a horse who’s lame from a suspensory issue. And at first I said, well, if he’s lame from a suspensory, you need to call a traditional veterinarian, because I just do chiropractic and acupuncture. They don’t have ultrasounds and all that stuff.

Renee (00:40)
She goes, oh, yes, I’ve already had my vet out. He’s been working with this horse for a year and a half. So he’s been in the stall for a year and a half. And I’m like, trying not to act too surprised by this, but I was surprised because a year and a half and a stall sounds awful. But what she went on to say was that the horse was lame from a suspensory injury.

Renee (01:09)
And every month the vet would come out and check the horse by squeezing the suspensory, tending and still painful. And then they trot him up and down the driveway for about 30ft, and he’d still be had Bobby lame. And so like, yeah, he’s still lame. Put him back in the stall in another 30 days. And the veterinarian would come back every 30 days for a year and a half.

Renee (01:36)
That’s too long, in case you’re not familiar with that. I think if you had your horse in a stall for 18 months, you’d probably already have figured that one out. Man, that’s too long. Okay, so what’s interesting well, it was to me is that in this area and this barn this lady was at, I was already familiar with it, and it was mostly hunter jumpers. So I’m expecting warm blood, thoroughbred cross, something like this.

Renee (02:03)
And most of the ones I knew in that area were young teen years, 1112, 13 and up who were jumping upper level eventing. There’s a lot of venting in this area, so that’s what I’m expecting, and I should have clarified that before. Well, it doesn’t really matter, so that’s why I didn’t clarify it. But I’m expecting that. And I’m already thinking that 18 months in a stay is bad for a horse who’s in their early teens.

Renee (02:29)
This was a seven year old Arabian, okay? For any of you who know Arabians, and I love Arabians, okay? But they are very high energy, they’re very intelligent horses. And now, to my mind, this is like ten times worse than a warm blood or a quarter horse or anything else stuck in a stall. You put an Arabian in a stall for 18 months.

Renee (02:57)
I’m totally freaking out about this still. And this is years ago. And the lady, she’s like, just pulling her hair out. She wants to do what she can for this horse and doesn’t know what to do. And that, too is great.

Renee (03:10)
I mean, they’ve already done every ancillary possible treatment, ultrasound, PvP, whatever. They’ve done all of that, and now all they’ve got left to do is wait for the horse to heal up. But here’s the problem. This podcast is not really about suspensory issues. It’s about thinking, which I think is kind of my thing, but I think we should all stay thinking a bit more.

Renee (03:36)
I mean, the veterinarian stopped thinking after they did everything that he had learned in vet school, because that’s all we learned in vet schools with these ancillary treatments and then rest. And that’s all you got to do, rest. Guys, ligaments should heal in eight weeks. Why are we at a year and a half? Okay, okay.

Renee (03:59)
There could be something to be said. Oh, hey, he’s young, he’s an Arabian stuck in his doll. Maybe he goofed around and tweaked the ligament so it’s re injured. Okay, that’s fair. Let’s just double that time.

Renee (04:14)
That’s four months, not 18. So at a certain point, I really feel like vets should say, hey, we’re at my limit of what I’ve learned from vet school. And I’ve called around my other friends, and they haven’t heard of this taking so long either. Maybe you should go to the vet hospital. Hey, maybe you should try something else that I don’t know, rather than let’s just keep checking every month for a year and a half.

Renee (04:43)
Okay? I’m trying to get over it. You can see I have issues. All right, what I want the vet and you guys to help you guys start thinking is, okay, the horse has not healed up in a normal range of time. Why is it not healing?

Renee (05:03)
That’s the next question. Not just wait forever for it to heal. Why is it not healing? Okay, so to this owner’s credit, she called me up and said, hey, you do chiropractic and acupuncture. Can you just look at him?

Renee (05:17)
I know he’s got a suspension problem, but I don’t know what else to do. Fantastic. I didn’t actually know what I could do either. My thought was, well, he’s going to have compensations in his back and other leg for sure from being lame for that long. But I didn’t know if I could really help this guy.

Renee (05:37)
But come to find out, as I pick up his leg, it was his right front leg that he was layman with this suspensory issue that he had somehow managed to twist the leg. So I check every joint in the body, right? So I’m picking up and moving through its normal range of motion, the shoulder, the elbow, the knee, all the joints in the whole leg. And what I’m finding is it feels like the horse’s right front leg. It was like he got stuck in a hole in the ground and then twisted his whole body around it because the whole leg was rotated counterclockwise.

Renee (06:23)
You couldn’t tell by looking at it, but all the joints were twisted and crooked. I couldn’t get full flexions. He was unwilling to bend a lot of things in certain directions. This is really weird. I had not run across something that weird before as a chiropractic veterinarian.

Renee (06:41)
So I just did my thing. I did some chiropractic on him. I did some little bit of acupuncture just to kind of loosen things up, get stuff flowing through the area. And just on a whim, I said, hey, would you mind if we trotted him down the driveway like you usually do? She goes, oh, sure, that’s fine.

Renee (06:59)
He’s really well behaved, and that’s why I call him Mr. Incredible. This seven year old Arabian gelding stuck in a stall for 18 months was well behaved. He didn’t go crazy. You know how they all go crazy.

Renee (07:14)
Again, I’m out of a stall. It’s time. The crazy time. No. This guy was so well behaved.

Renee (07:19)
He was like he understood this plan. He may not have agreed with it, but he was amazing. He was really Mr. And incredible. So anyways, after I did my chiropractic alignments, I we trotted the horse off, and he was perfectly sound.

Renee (07:36)
And we went down and back on the driveway, hard, black top. And I said to the lady, so does he normally take a little while to start the head bob? And she was just in shock. It’s like, no, he hasn’t been sound in a year and a half at every step. Okay?

Renee (07:55)
So all I did was align the leg so we could move properly, and then he was sound. Now, I was shocked. I was not expecting that. And I like to share that story because it’s so profound. The thing is, we did not say, oh, he’s fixed now.

Renee (08:13)
Now go run around and start your eventing again. No way, Jose. Instead, at that point, once the leg was aligned, then the suspensory ligament could begin to heal because it was sore. The vet had checked it every month, and every time you palpate it, which is basically squeezing the suspensory ligament, and the horse would react. It was sore because it could not heal because it was out of alignment.

Renee (08:43)
So the suspensory ligament is there to support most of the horse’s weight, but it really can’t do its job right, and it can’t relax unless the entire stay apparatus of the front leg is working, which it cannot be working when the entire leg is misaligned. That’s a little bit complicated. And I do have an entire free video about the suspensory ligaments, the stay apparatus, and how that all works. If you are interested in suspensory issues and that link, it will be in the description. But what we’re really talking about for the podcast is let’s keep asking questions.

Renee (09:24)
The horse should be healed up, or pretty well healed up. In eight weeks. Why isn’t it? I know sometimes the person that we’re trying to ask these questions doesn’t know. Like this veterinarian in this story.

Renee (09:38)
He doesn’t know why. He just thinks it needs more time to heal. But keep asking the questions. Well, why isn’t it healing? Why find somebody who knows?

Renee (09:49)
Okay? Of course I recommend Tucker biokinetic technique practitioners because I can’t help myself. We ask the Horse’s energy field these questions and find out where’s the problem, why is the problem, what is going on, and we fix that. But I just want to encourage you all to keep asking the questions, because there is always an answer. We just have to find it.

Renee (10:12)
Okay? Have a good day and I’ll talk to you later.

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