Box rest: Drama, bordem, patience and kindness

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Tendon Problems. The everyday equestrian’s biggest fear.


When the time comes for the vet to be called out, for anything, it’s always the same sequence of events; blind panic, sleepless nights and praying it’s not as bad as you are imagining.


Unfortunately for me and my not-so-SuperCob, the news was as bad as I feared. His first scan was mid-August, and resulted in those dreaded words; ‘Six months box rest and no riding until at least January’. There was a very prominent hole in the Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon, so prominent that even I could see it straightaway on the scan.


There were four options; Stem Cells, Shock Waves, Lipogems or just wait and see. Not likely was I just going to “wait and see”, so after extensive research we decided to go for Lipogems- a fairly new treatment with impressive results so far. However, I’m not writing a blog about veterinary treatment so I’ll bypass the gorey details and just say this: they took fat out of his bum (he had plenty of it by that stage!) and injected it into the hole to fill it. Fascinating to watch but not for anyone with a weak stomach!


It was four weeks before we could treat him as my vet had to go on a course in order to administrate the procedure. Those four weeks were tough on me, Woody, my parents and my other half. Slightly dramatic but a bust tendon felt like the end of the world, especially since we were having such an amazing season and had really found our feet out Eventing. Every night I returned home from the stables more upset and disheartened than the night before. My poor non-horsey other half was at hits wits end and didn’t know what to do with me- there were tears and plenty of them. At one point I announced that I would rather break my own arm, than Woody have a tendon problem; a statement I still stand by!! All in all, I was grumpy and irritable and I worried about how bored my poor Woods must be.


And bored he was. For the first few weeks before the treatment he was allowed to walk to the grass verge for a nibble but after two explosions (and more tears thinking we were back to square one) he was banned from walking anywhere for fear these explosions would cause further damage. After the treatment there was no questions of walking, it is solitary confinement and lots of treats to try and keep him happy.


We are now on week ten. Week ten of grooming and mucking out and bandaging and hiding treats in tiny hay nets and more mucking out. He’s calmed down now; at first he was like a caged animal, well I supposed he is a caged animal, but now it’s almost like he’s accepted his fate. He’s quiet and calm and settled. Quite frankly it’s weird and I can’t tell if he’s happy or completely miserable, but I just make sure he’s groomed properly and still gets the attention he loves.


It’s going to be a long, loooong process and I want to give him as much recovery time as I can.  He’s only ten and he’s got a bright future ahead, so even if he doesn’t go out Eventing until 2019, if it reduces the risk of re-injury it will all be worth it. Only problem is that patience has never been my strong point!


The one thing about having your beloved on box rest, is the realization that the equestrian community is a unique and wonderful world to be part off. Since news spread that SuperCob was out of action, my horsey friends have shown such an overwhelming amount of kindness and I’m currently touring the Borders riding amazing horses thanks to amazing people! Although nothing compares to my SuperCob, Mila, Hugo, Lenny, Player and Storm, along with several other offers have kept me in the saddle and kept me sane! So thank you to the wonderful owners who trusted me with their babies- you guys are truly awesome.


So for now I am prepared for a long, boring winter with a very hairy, scruffy horse who now looks much more like a cart horse than an Eventer, but on the plus side there’s no wet, muddy rugs to deal with! Silver linings. 


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