Can A Horse Jump After A Suspensory Injury?

A suspensory injury can significantly impact a horse’s jumping ability and performance. These injuries, often caused by overexertion or trauma, can lead to pain, inflammation, and decreased flexibility in the suspensory ligament. As a result, a horse may find it challenging to generate the power and agility necessary for jumping. However, with proper veterinary care, rehabilitation, and a gradual return to exercise, some horses can regain their jumping abilities after a suspensory injury.

can a horse jump after a suspensory injury

Exercises and Rehabilitation Techniques to Help a Horse Jump Again After a Suspensory Injury

A suspensory injury can be a significant setback for a horse, particularly when it comes to their ability to jump. However, with proper care, exercises, and rehabilitation techniques, it is possible for a horse to regain their strength and jump again after such an injury. In this section, we will explore some effective exercises and rehabilitation techniques that can aid in the recovery and rehabilitation process for a horse with a suspensory injury.

1. Controlled Exercise Routine

One of the key elements in helping a horse recover from a suspensory injury is implementing a controlled exercise routine. It is crucial to start slow and gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise over time to allow the injured tissues to heal properly. In consultation with a veterinarian or equine therapist, a customized exercise plan can be created based on the severity of the injury and the horse’s specific needs.

When starting the exercise routine, it is important to focus on low-impact activities that promote movement and circulation without putting excessive strain on the injured suspensory ligament. Walking and trotting on a straight line, ideally on a soft surface, can help improve blood flow and aid in the healing process.

2. Pole Work

Incorporating pole work into the horse’s rehabilitation program can be highly beneficial. It helps in strengthening and stimulating the suspensory ligaments while improving the horse’s balance and coordination. Start with ground poles spaced at a comfortable distance apart and gradually progress to raised cavaletti poles or small jumps as the horse becomes stronger.

Working over poles encourages the horse to engage their hindquarters and lift their legs higher, which in turn helps in building strength in the injured area. It is important to begin with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration and complexity of the pole work as the horse’s fitness improves.

3. Hill Work

Hill work is an excellent exercise for horses recovering from suspensory injuries as it helps build strength and flexibility in the hind end. Gradually introduce hill work into the horse’s routine by starting with gentle inclines and gradually progressing to steeper slopes as the horse’s condition improves.

Walking and trotting up and down hills helps to engage the hindquarters, increase muscle tone, and improve overall balance. However, it is essential to monitor the horse’s form and ensure they maintain a steady rhythm and even weight distribution to avoid any excessive strain on the injured leg.

4. Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy, specifically cold water therapy, can be beneficial during the rehabilitation process. Cold water therapy helps reduce inflammation and swelling in the affected area, thereby providing relief and promoting healing.

One effective hydrotherapy technique is cold hosing, where the horse’s injured leg is sprayed with cold water for a specific duration. This can be done multiple times a day, especially after exercise or any strenuous activity. It is important to ensure that the water pressure is not too high to avoid causing discomfort or further injury to the leg.

5. Controlled Turnout

Gradually reintroducing controlled turnout can aid in the horse’s recovery from a suspensory injury. Controlled turnout allows the horse to move freely but within a confined space to prevent excessive running or sudden movements that may strain the injured leg.

Using a small paddock or round pen with suitable footing can help minimize excessive stress on the injured ligament while allowing the horse to enjoy some turnout time. It is crucial to monitor the horse during turnout and gradually increase the duration as their condition improves.

6. Professional Rehabilitation Therapies

In addition to exercises, professional rehabilitation therapies can play a vital role in aiding a horse’s recovery from a suspensory injury. Therapies such as laser therapy, ultrasound, and therapeutic ultrasound can help promote healing, reduce inflammation, and provide pain relief.

A qualified equine therapist or veterinarian can assess the horse’s condition and recommend appropriate rehabilitation therapies based on the specific injury and recovery progress.


Recovering from a suspensory injury requires patience, dedication, and a well-structured rehabilitation program. By implementing controlled exercise routines, incorporating pole work and hill work, utilizing hydrotherapy, introducing controlled turnout, and considering professional rehabilitation therapies, a horse can regain their strength and ability to jump again after a suspensory injury. It is essential to work closely with a veterinarian or equine therapist throughout the process to ensure the horse’s recovery is progressing in the right direction.

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Preventive Measures and Precautions to Avoid Reinjury While Jumping Post-Suspensory Injury

Jumping is an integral part of many sports and physical activities. However, for individuals who have experienced a suspensory injury, it becomes essential to take preventive measures and precautions to avoid reinjury. Reinjuring the suspensory ligament can have serious consequences and significantly impact an individual’s performance and overall well-being. In this section, we will discuss some effective strategies to help prevent reinjury while engaging in jumping activities after a suspensory injury.

1. Gradual Return to Jumping

One of the most important preventive measures after a suspensory injury is to gradually return to jumping activities. Rushing into intense jumping exercises can put excessive stress on the suspensory ligament, increasing the risk of reinjury. It is recommended to start with low-impact exercises, such as walking or light trotting, and gradually progress to more demanding activities like trot poles and cavaletti. This gradual approach allows the ligament to strengthen and adapt to the demands of jumping.

2. Strengthening and Conditioning Exercises

To prevent reinjury, it is crucial to focus on strengthening the supporting muscles and tissues around the suspensory ligament. Incorporating targeted exercises into the training routine can help improve the stability and resilience of the injured area. Some recommended exercises include:

  • Leg stretches to improve flexibility and range of motion
  • Resistance band exercises for strengthening the lower leg muscles
  • Balancing exercises to enhance proprioception and coordination
  • Core strengthening exercises to improve overall stability

Consulting with a qualified physiotherapist or equine rehabilitation specialist can provide tailored exercises and guidance based on the specific needs of the individual and the severity of the injury.

3. Proper Warm-up and Cool-down

Adequate warm-up and cool-down routines are essential before and after jumping activities. Before jumping, it is vital to engage in a proper warm-up session to increase blood flow, loosen muscles, and prepare the body for exercise. This can include light lunging, stretching exercises, and gradual increases in intensity. After jumping, a thorough cool-down should be performed to help the body recover and reduce the risk of muscle stiffness or soreness. This can involve gentle walking, stretching, and applying cold therapy if necessary.

4. Regular Veterinary Check-ups

Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for monitoring the healing progress and overall health of the horse. A veterinarian can assess the suspensory ligament’s condition and provide guidance on the appropriate time to resume jumping activities. They may also recommend additional treatments such as laser therapy, ultrasound, or supportive bandaging to aid in the healing process. Following their advice and staying updated on the horse’s condition can help prevent reinjury and ensure a safe return to jumping.

5. Proper Equipment and Footing

Using proper equipment and ensuring suitable footing is essential to minimize the risk of reinjury while jumping. Ensure that the horse’s tack, such as the saddle and bridle, fits correctly and does not cause any discomfort or restriction. Additionally, paying attention to the footing conditions is crucial. Jumping on hard or uneven surfaces can significantly increase the strain on the suspensory ligaments. It is recommended to choose appropriate arenas or training areas with good footing and regularly maintain them to provide a safe and supportive environment.

6. Listen to the Horse

Lastly, it is vital to always listen to the horse and be attentive to any signs of discomfort or pain. If the horse shows signs of lameness, reluctance to jump, or any other abnormal behavior, it is crucial to seek veterinary attention immediately. Ignoring these signs and pushing the horse beyond its limits can result in further injury. Understanding the horse’s limits and respecting their physical capabilities is essential for long-term health and performance.


Preventing reinjury while jumping post-suspensory injury requires a combination of gradual progression, strengthening exercises, proper warm-up and cool-down routines, regular veterinary check-ups, appropriate equipment and footing, and listening to the horse’s signals. By implementing these preventive measures and precautions, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of reinjury and promote the healing and recovery of the suspensory ligament. However, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or equestrian specialist for personalized guidance based on the specific circumstances of the injury.

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Expert Tips on Assessing a Horse’s Readiness to Jump After a Suspensory Injury

Assessing a horse’s readiness to jump after a suspensory injury is a crucial step in ensuring the horse’s long-term soundness and performance. Jumping puts considerable stress on a horse’s legs, and a suspensory injury can greatly impact their ability to perform at their best. In this section, we will discuss expert tips on how to evaluate a horse’s readiness to jump after this type of injury.

1. Consult with a Veterinarian

The first and most important step in assessing a horse’s readiness to jump after a suspensory injury is to consult with a qualified veterinarian. A veterinarian will perform a thorough examination of the horse’s leg, assess the extent of the injury, and provide guidance on the appropriate course of action.

The veterinarian may recommend diagnostic imaging techniques such as ultrasound or X-rays to evaluate the healing progress of the suspensory ligament. They will also examine the horse’s overall soundness and consider factors such as the degree of lameness and any ongoing inflammation.

2. Observe Gait and Movement

Observing the horse’s gait and movement is an essential part of assessing their readiness to jump. When evaluating the horse, pay close attention to their stride length, symmetry, and any signs of lameness or stiffness. A horse with a suspensory injury may show uneven movement, reluctance to extend their stride, or display irregular steps.

It is helpful to watch the horse being worked in different gaits on various surfaces, including both straight lines and circles. This will provide a better understanding of how the horse is coping with the injury and how well they are adapting to the demands of jumping.

3. Gradual Rehabilitation Program

To determine if a horse is ready to jump after a suspensory injury, it is crucial to follow a gradual rehabilitation program. This program should be tailored to the individual horse’s needs and guided by the veterinarian. It typically involves a step-by-step process that gradually increases the intensity and complexity of work.

The rehabilitation program may include various exercises such as controlled walking, controlled trotting, and eventually incorporating canter work and small jumps. The horse’s response to each stage of the program should be closely monitored, and any signs of discomfort or regression should be addressed promptly.

4. Assess Recovery and Strength

Assessing the horse’s recovery and strength is vital before considering a return to jumping. This evaluation involves evaluating the horse’s muscle tone, overall body condition, and the stability of the suspensory ligament. The horse should display improved muscle strength, with no signs of swelling, heat, or lameness in the affected leg.

It is recommended to perform regular veterinary check-ups and follow-up evaluations during the recovery process. This will ensure that the horse is progressing as expected and that they are physically prepared to handle the demands of jumping.

5. Consult with a Qualified Trainer

Lastly, it is beneficial to consult with a qualified trainer who specializes in working with horses recovering from injuries. A knowledgeable trainer can provide guidance on gradually reintroducing jumping exercises, focusing on correct technique, and gradually increasing the height and complexity of the jumps.

The trainer will also assess the horse’s jumping form and ensure that they are not favoring the previously injured leg. They will work closely with the veterinarian and adjust the training program as needed to support the horse’s continued rehabilitation and progress.


Assessing a horse’s readiness to jump after a suspensory injury requires a collaborative effort between the owner, veterinarian, and trainer. It is crucial to follow a gradual rehabilitation program, closely monitor the horse’s progress, and seek professional guidance at every stage. By taking these expert tips into consideration, you can ensure a safe and successful return to jumping for your horse while prioritizing their long-term soundness and well-being.

Success stories: Horses that have successfully returned to jumping after a suspensory injury

A suspensory injury can be a challenging setback for any horse, especially those involved in jumping disciplines. The suspensory ligament is responsible for supporting the horse’s lower leg, and any damage to it can potentially hinder their performance and ability to jump. However, there have been several success stories where horses have made a remarkable recovery and returned to their jumping careers.

These success stories serve as an inspiration for horse owners and riders who may be facing a similar situation. It is important to note that each horse’s recovery process may vary, and it is crucial to follow a comprehensive rehabilitation program under the guidance of a veterinarian and equine rehabilitation specialist.

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1. Story of Horse A

Horse A, a talented show jumper, experienced a suspensory injury during a competition. The injury was diagnosed as a Grade 2 tear in the suspensory ligament. The owner immediately sought veterinary assistance and began a customized rehabilitation plan.

The rehabilitation program for Horse A included a combination of rest, controlled exercise, and therapeutic modalities such as cold therapy and ultrasound. The owner diligently followed the prescribed schedule and gradually increased the horse’s workload as per the veterinarian’s guidance.

After several months of consistent care and rehabilitation, Horse A showed significant improvement. The veterinarian conducted regular ultrasound examinations to monitor the healing progress. Upon receiving the green light from the veterinarian, the owner introduced jumping exercises in a controlled environment.

With time, Horse A regained strength and confidence, showcasing their jumping abilities once again. They successfully returned to the show jumping arena, surpassing all expectations and proving that a suspensory injury does not have to be the end of a jumping career.

2. Story of Horse B

Horse B, a talented eventing horse, faced a suspensory injury during a demanding cross-country competition. The injury was diagnosed as a Grade 3 tear, requiring extensive rehabilitation and care.

The rehabilitation program for Horse B involved a combination of rest, controlled movement, and specialized therapies such as shockwave therapy and laser therapy. The owner worked closely with the veterinarian and equine rehabilitation specialist to ensure a comprehensive healing process.

Over time, Horse B showed steady progress, with regular veterinary check-ups to monitor the healing process. The rehabilitation program included gradual strengthening exercises, both on the flat and over low obstacles. The owner implemented a strict management program to minimize the risk of re-injury.

After an extended period of rehabilitation and perseverance, Horse B made a triumphant return to the eventing circuit. They successfully completed several competitions, showcasing their impressive jumping skills once again.

3. Story of Horse C

Horse C, a beloved show jumping horse, suffered a suspensory injury during a training session. The injury was diagnosed as a Grade 1 strain, and the owner was determined to provide the best possible care and rehabilitation.

The rehabilitation program for Horse C focused on controlled exercise, specialized therapies, and meticulous management. The owner implemented a structured routine, including regular veterinary assessments, physiotherapy sessions, and low-impact exercise programs.

With consistent care and dedication, Horse C showed steady improvement. The owner gradually reintroduced jumping exercises, ensuring a progressive approach that prioritized the horse’s well-being. The veterinarian closely monitored the horse’s progress through regular ultrasound examinations.

After a thorough rehabilitation process, Horse C made an impressive comeback to the show jumping arena. Their resilience and determination showcased the potential for horses to successfully return to their jumping careers after a suspensory injury.


These success stories highlight the resilience and determination of horses that have overcome suspensory injuries to return to their jumping careers. Each horse’s journey is unique, and their recovery depends on various factors such as the severity of the injury, compliance with rehabilitation protocols, and proper veterinary care.

It is crucial for horse owners and riders to seek professional guidance and follow a comprehensive rehabilitation program when dealing with suspensory injuries. With patience, perseverance, and a strategic approach, horses can defy the odds and continue to excel in the jumping discipline.


Can a horse jump after a suspensory injury?

It depends on the severity of the injury and the horse’s individual recovery. In some cases, with proper treatment and rehabilitation, horses can return to jumping after a suspensory injury. However, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian and follow their guidance throughout the recovery process.


In conclusion, while a horse can potentially jump after a suspensory injury, it is essential to proceed with caution and consult with a veterinarian. The recovery and ability to jump will depend on the severity of the injury, the effectiveness of the treatment, and the horse’s individual healing process. It is crucial to follow a comprehensive rehabilitation plan and give the horse ample time to heal and regain strength. Close monitoring, proper training techniques, and regular veterinary check-ups are essential to ensure the horse’s well-being and prevent further injuries. With the right care and management, a horse may be able to jump again, but it must be done gradually and with appropriate consideration for the horse’s health and comfort.