Since there was swelling and lameness, we both felt that it was only right to treat it as at least a moderate injury. And truly, Speedy did hurt the tendon, but it was not nearly as bad as it could have been.
Over this past weekend, we went back to BVH for a third ultrasound. Again, the image confirmed that the original injury site looked the same as the other leg, but the tendon was still slightly enlarged. When I asked Dr. Tolley how much larger it was, he showed me how the machine calculated the size of the affected area.
The right tendon was 0.5 cm² larger than the left - a very small difference. In fact, the difference could be related to the injury, or since we don't have a pre-injury measurement, it could simply be that his two tendons have never been the same size.
Bone and soft tissue need to be exercised to keep them healthy and strong. Standing around only weakens those structures making them much more susceptible to an injury if a horse were to spook suddenly or be frightened by say the recent thunderstorms we've been having. With that in mind, Dr. Tolley cleared Speedy for walking rides around the neighborhood.
These walking rides will do several things. First, the road surface is firm which will not put any stress on the tendon. Speedy will also be able to get moving which will help him not only dissipate some of the build-up of energy, but it will help maintain at least a small amount of muscle fitness while keeping joints somewhat lubricated. The final benefit will be to his brain. Having a job, no matter how simple, will keep him much happier.
When I get back, Dr. Tolley laid out a back-to-work plan that includes walking and careful trotting in July with a return to some canter work in August. By the end of August, we can be back to our full riding routine.
I guess if your horse needs time off, a European vacation is probably the best way to help the rider cope with the stress of not riding!