Road to Recovery: Suspensory Tear


Have you ever had to put your riding goals on hold to help your equine friend recover from an injury? Need advice for suspensory tear rehabilitation? Our very own RW crew member Jessica tells of her experience with the process of rehabilitating her five year old quarter horse, Pistol's suspensory tear.


We all love to actively ride our horses and compete; that being said, we all have to deal with some sort of lay ups every once in awhile. Major injuries are never fun to deal with; however, I have developed some essentials that have helped me get through Pistol’s suspensory tear rehab.

Patience is Key

During the recovery process, the first key and probably most important is that you will need a lot of patience. Depending on the injury, your horse may need a few days off of work or more based off the severity of the affliction. I believe the most important thing to remember is that these animals are your partners, who always try their best for you.

It is in your best interest and their
well being that you be patient
during the rehabilitation process.

You never want to rush the stages of healing because in the long run it may make the situation worse and even prolong you getting back into the saddle. No one wants to start back at square one! So always be sure to listen to your veterinarian and follow the protocols that they think are best.


Meet Pistol, my 5 year old Quarter horse

Tips on Healing Boredom

When Pistol first got hurt, we knew he was going to have to be laid up for about 6-8 months. To aid in the healing process of the ligament I chose to have a stem cell procedure performed. Requirements for after the procedure would have him stand in his stall for a week without any hand walking. As a high-strung five year old, he of course got very bored.


Pistol playing with Jake's hat - the reason a jolly ball was much needed!

To help combat boredom, I hung the Horsemen’s Pride Scented Jolly Ball in his stall that he loves to push around on the rope. He also has a Hanging Himalayan Rock Salt in his stall to lick, in which I have found that he enjoys tugging on the loose end of the string rather than actually licking it. It does makes him happy though :)

Powers of Supplements and Treats

Once our week of stall rest was over, we were able to start hand walking for 10 minutes per day. Of course Pistol was feeling a little fresh, especially with all of the rain California was experiencing at the time, so I started him on the Foxden Quiessence Calming Metabolic Horse Supplement. This supplement is high in Magnesium, which helps with calming nervous horses.

From my experience, I can definitely say I saw a big difference in his demeanor during our hand walking sessions. He seemed more attentive to me and spooked over much less.

I think Quiessence would be perfect
for the slightly nervous or anxious
, and it is extremely palatable
for even the pickiest of horses.​

Additionally, I give both of my horses a daily pill to help with oxidative damage. Hiding this pill was getting a bit tricky as Pistol and Rudy are both pretty smart at sorting the pill out of their grain or standard crunchy treats.

Due to their sorting skills I discovered a treat called Dimples Horse Treats Soft Cookies. These are absolutely amazing as they are so soft and pliable, making the pill so effortless to hide. Both of my horses love these treats so much, that they won’t even eat the other treats I was previously giving them.

Trusting the Evidence

To also help in the healing process I purchased the ArcEquine Therapy Pain Management/Tissue Repair System to use daily. I truly believe that this system aided in the healing process as I started using this 1 month after the stem cell procedure, and the ultrasound at our 3 month check up was phenomenal compared to our 2 month check up. While I physically was unable to see any changes in healing due to the nature of the injury, the ultrasounds were key in demonstrating improvement.


30-day check up: vet approved that in 3 weeks we could start trotting for 4 minutes per day.

I chose to give this system a try because it is actually backed up by peer reviewed scientific research. This is not a company that just claims their product works; they actually have strong evidence that it does, which I greatly appreciate as a consumer. The device is super easy to apply and I love that you can put it on and not have to worry about it while the system is running.

Even after Pistol is healed, I will continue
to use the ArcEquine system on both of
my horses to help with pain and tissue
before and after our races.​

In conjunction with the ArcEquine System, I also use the Back on Track Therapeutic Royal Boots Quick Wraps. You need to have a standing wrap or a boot of some sort over the ArcEquine system to protect it and help keep it on and these quick wraps are definitely the easiest boots to apply for this situation.

It is advised to rotate which leg the ArcEquine goes on, not including the injured leg. Therefore, his legs that did not have the ArcEquine were receiving the direct effects of the Back on Track boots. I have found that with both of my horses the boots help dramatically reduce inflammation and help increase blood flow which in turn aids in healing tissue damage.


Riding Pistol for the first time in over 2 months

The Come Back

Overall, I believe that all of the products listed above as well as patience has greatly helped Pistol through the first half of recovering from his suspensory tear. After 3 months, we are finally able to lope for a couple minutes per day and we hopefully should be back running barrels in about 3 more months.


Pistol and I in action!
While rehabbing is far from exciting and it puts our barrel racing goals on hold for a bit; I feel that we have developed a stronger bond through this process which is definitely a bright side of the injury.

I can’t wait for our first race back because I know he will come back stronger than ever!
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