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The Beginnings of Recovery with R&R

Welcome to the story of Lucky & Sky, the test subjects in the Rehabilitate & Recover program. The core focus of the R&R program is to educate equine professionals such as veterinarians, trainers, competitors, shippers, and others on the Draper Therapies products and how they work to help your horses after competitions for faster recovery time. When my horses Sky and Lucky injured themselves this year, they became the test subjects in an even more intense use for R&R: in this case recovery from severe, and potentially career-ending injuries. Follow along as Lucky heals from a dramatic hind leg laceration along with a hoof and heel bulb bone laceration, and Sky rehabs two damaged hind suspensories.

Rehabilitating any injury is a challenge, and when it comes to dealing with two horses on layup at the same time – for an extended amount of time – it’s almost become my full time job. Both injuries initially occurred at the end of May, and since Sky’s suspensory injuries are the slower-healing, today we’ll focus on where this all started, and what we’ve done up until this point. Next blog we’ll tell Lucky’s story.

Sky was diagnosed with damaged hind suspensories at the end of May, and we immediately went to strict stall rest. Days were ice wraps on / off from about 10AM – 5PM. Nights were Draper Therapies Recovery Wraps all around. We didn’t ultrasound right away because in the short term, the goal was to get him more comfortable and the treatment would be the same regardless of the severity of the damage, so we figured waiting til he was more comfortable made more sense to see how we’d progressed.

Things were going okay until Sky developed an abscess in the frog of his right hind. Originally the left hind was the more damaged suspensory, and now with this seemingly minor complication, it added a major monkey wrench into the plans. He started bearing nearly all of his weight on the worse suspensory – that left hind – and was in extreme pain. We went from treating with just banamine to adding in xylazine to keep him comfortable as it was apparent that the left suspensory was suffering major damage from bearing the brunt of his hind weight. In addition, he was on several supplements. SmartPak’s Smart Tendon, Jet Breath (a traditional racing supplement that increases oxygen in the lungs and blood that would help get more oxygen and circulation to the tendons and ligaments as well – areas that have little blood flow to begin with, which causes the slow healing time), and bute for pain as needed.

Fortunately he needed very little bute, as he has a sensitive stomach, and we were able to make it through the really rough days of that abscess. An old farrier trick a friend shared with me was to clean it and spray Blue Kote on it to dry it out faster and it worked! So now we do Blue Kote almost daily when he gets his feet picked out and *knock on wood* we have been abscess free since!

Throughout the summer we did the usual ice, hand walking, wrapped at night, and stall rest and saw some progress, but things got tricky when August came and I had travel scheduled for work as well as for vacation (I go camping with my off track Arab and trail ride every August). I didn’t have anyone that was able to provide the same level of care and wrapping and daily attention to Sky as I could, and seeing as how he’s such a finicky horse, I really needed someone who could deal with a picky, moody, sensitive, over-dramatic (he once fell to his knees when the farrier picked an old scab off his pastern…) horse.

And then I remembered that my friend was managing a high end rehab facility just an hour and a half north of me, and had room in her barn. She specializes in TBs (on the track as well as off), and could wrap legs blindfolded. She’s also seen her fair share of leg injuries, and coupled with their state of the art facility, I knew he’d be in good hands. So, I made arrangements and Sky was packed up like a kid heading to summer camp for the next adventure in his R&R.

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Sky on one of his daily hand walks.

Check back soon for the background on Lucky’s story, as well as the next chapter in Sky’s rehab!

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