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"We thought it was going to be an early retirement"
Horse owner, Chelsie Horne shares her story of injury and recovery after her beloved horse, Roma, was kicked by another horse, resulting in a fractured leg.
Name: Romanda (Stable name: Roma)
Age: 13 yrs
Breed: Hanoverian WB (Donnerhall & Rubinstein)
Rider/Owner: Chelsie Horne (Dressage)
- Reserve Champion Bury Farm Dressage Championships (73.36%)
- Reserve Champion Hickstead Sunshine Tour – Novice (71.4%)
- 4th BD Area Festival – Novice
- 2nd/3rd in section at the U25 High Profile Show – Novice
- 1st Elementary Qualifiers at Widmer Farm
I have owned Roma for almost three years, and from the moment I saw her I knew she was the one. We compete in dressage and currently are competing at Elementary and training Medium/Adv at home. Although it’s not always been plain sailing I have persevered with her and in the summer 2016 really built up a strong and trusting bond with her, which showed in our results. Having had training with some top trainers around the country we were all set for the 2017 season to begin.
Unfortunately at the end of 2016 Roma sustained a kick to the distal limb from another horse on the yard and this resulted in a mid-body fracture of the medial splint bone. Roma was prescribed 3-6 months box rest with x-rays at the end of each month. With rigorous bandaging and strict box rest the x-rays revealed that the fracture was not healing and that the best option for Roma’s welfare was to have it surgically removed at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).
Upon arriving at the RVC, Roma and I were met by one of the technicians and were taken to the weigh bridge to ensure that the medication that was prescribed was the correct dosage for her weight. Roma then proceeded to the trot up which revealed that she was lame and uncomfortable on palpation. The surgeon who was assigned to Roma wanted to take further x-rays and complete an ultrasound to check that the suspensory ligament had not been affected in the impact.
Unfortunately due to the impact of the kick and the suspensory ligament running so close to the splint bone Roma had in fact sustained suspensory ligament damage. After weighing up the risks of surgery but the outcome if unattended we opted to have the fracture removed by the surgeon at the RVC.
Roma was without food from midnight that evening in order for her to go under a general anaesthetic the following morning. After being prepped and cleaned Roma was taken in to a knock down box where the general anesthetic was administrated and she was then taken via a crane from the knock down box to the operating table. Two hours later the splint bone had been amputated and the fracture had been removed. The wound was sewn together and she was transported back to the knock down box where she was able to come round in her own time and the aim was for her to get up safely without causing further injury. The average recovery time for a horse to get up on their own is 45 minutes. Roma took 1hour 45 minutes which was becoming a growing concern to all surgeons and nurses. But after 1 hour 45 minutes Roma made her way to her feet and did not sustain any injuries upon recovery.
Despite having squished a few nerves in her face due to being down for so long, Roma was well and comfortable and was making her way to recovery. After 24 hours the nerves had recovered and the face had returned to a normal structure. After being kept at the equine hospital for four days Roma was allowed home and was prescribed further box rest and pain killers. The stitches were then removed and the bandage reduced in size. We had to be realistic that Roma had sustained a major injury and had to be prepared that this may be an early retirement, however the vets and I wanted to remain positive.
Rehabilitation after surgery:
Due to Roma being a competition horse and having sustained the injury when she was so fit it was important to do the best I could to help maintain her coat, muscle tone and suppleness over her back. Roma wore her Equilibrium massage pad every day varying the settings to one give her a massage for relaxation and two, to help maintain the blood flow and circulation to help keep her supple and help maintain muscle tone.
“Roma loves her Equilibrium massage pad and would often fall asleep to the relaxing massage it would give her!”
After the prescribed period of box rest and hand grazing, Roma was booked in for her final assessment. At the end of May 2017 Roma had a further ultra sound and x-ray which revealed that the suspensory was healing and the amputation of the fracture was clean and infection free. A trot up showed one tenth lameness, but the advice from the vet was that now the fracture was removed it was vital that the suspensory got moving to avoid it from healing as scar tissue. Roma was turned out for two weeks and left to be a horse and allow her body to recover from being on box rest for a long period of time.
With the risk that Roma could injure herself in the field I wanted to make sure that the boots that I used on her in the field where supportive to the limb and breathable to avoid her legs from overheating. I chose to turnout in Equilibrium Tri-zone All Sport boots. These boots are fantastic in the way that they do not slip or rub and provide protection to her legs whilst being light weight and breathable. I would highly recommend these boots to anyone who is looking for a boot that’s suitable for all jobs as well as turnout.
After two weeks out in the field Roma was re-assed and trotted up. With someone looking over us and all of the incredible treatment she had under gone Roma was sound. We will begin a strict six week walk programme under saddle and will be re-assed before trot work in six weeks time.
Without the help of my vets Farr & Pursey for their ongoing support and advice, the Royal Veterinary College for carrying out a successful, safe surgery and to the Equilibrium massage pad and Tri-zone All Sport boots, I wouldn’t be on my way to getting my superstar back in action.
I look forward to keeping you updated with Roma’s rehabilitation and fingers crossed we’re back in the competition ring before you know it.