From Endurance to Dressage
Speedy went to the vet over the weekend for his second ultrasound. This was planned. A month ago, Speedy over did it during turn-out and tweaked his superficial digital flexor tendon. The swelling was really small and an initial ultrasound said there was some damage, but it was too small to actually be considered a bow. Dr. Tolley called it tendonitis.
For the first week, I did a sweat wrap with Furacin, and then I did three more weeks of a simple pressure bandage. When I took the first bandage off, the swelling was gone and the leg has looked clean ever since.
After first palpating the tendon to search for a reaction, Dr. Tolley then did an ultrasound to see what had happened with the initial damage. To our relief, maybe more his than mine, the spot in question was completely gone.
That's great news of course, but Dr. Tolley is very conservative and thorough in his practice of equine medicine. While "the spot" was no longer visible, he was concerned about the relative size of the tendon when compared to the one on the left leg.
While not immediately obvious to the naked eye, the right leg's tendon does present as slightly larger than the left. Dr. Tolley's diagnosis is that there is still a bit of healing to be done. It may be that the tendon will never return to the same size as its neighbor, but he would like to give Speedy another month to find out.
While the leg is firm and tight, once it was shaved clean, a slight divot appeared near the bottom of the tendon. This suggests that the tendon is slightly swollen still and requires a bit more support and rest before Speedy goes back to work.
To provide more support, Dr. Tolley applied a Gelocast, a wet bandage that molds to the leg and dries into a hard cast. Speedy will wear the cast for two weeks, and then I'll replace it for another two weeks.
Speedy is once again allowed the full use of his stall and exterior paddock - I'm sure he'll be pleased about that. He can also be hand walked. While I did get him out of his stall this past month, it was to graze and walk very slowly. We didn't actually walk as shuffle to the next clump of yummy grass.
Dr. Tolley cleared him for actual walks around the neighborhood. This is important to me as I don't want Speedy to lose any more muscle than he already has. Even walking for 30 minutes three to four times a week will help him to maintain a certain level of fitness so that we aren't starting over completely.
At the end of four weeks, I'll bring Speedy back to see Dr. Tolley for a third ultrasound. Depending on what the tendon looks like, Speedy will either be cleared for a slow return to work, or he'll get another four weeks of just rest with no bandaging.
The timing of this is actually working out to my advantage. The Pollyanna in me is at least locating the silver lining. I've had a solid month to focus on Izzy, which has been great, and now it looks as though I get another month to continue that work. If Speedy gets to start back to work in mid-May, I would have about three weeks of some easy walking rides before we go to Italy. While we're gone, he will have two solid weeks of additional rest which never hurt anyone.
While tendonitis or a bowed tendon is nothing to mess around with, I feel completely confident that Dr. Tolley's very conservative and careful treatment plan will ensure that Speedy makes a full recovery. Yes, it changed my original plans for the summer, but I've already made new plans that are just as exciting as the first ones might have been.
Look for a Speedy update in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, feel free to drop by and give him a visit. I am sure he'd appreciate the company!
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: