Understanding Tendon Injuries in Horses: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Tendon injuries are a common concern among horse owners and riders, often causing significant setbacks in training and performance. Tendons play a crucial role in a horse’s movement, connecting muscles to bones and providing support during locomotion. In this blog post, we will explore the anatomy of tendons and discuss different types of tendon injuries that horses may experience. Additionally, we will delve into the early signs of tendon injuries, diagnostic procedures, available treatment options, and the reasons behind the extensive recovery time associated with these injuries.

Where are a Horse’s Tendons Situated?

Tendons in horses are located throughout their bodies, but the most commonly affected tendons are in the limbs. In the lower limbs, the tendons extend from muscles in the upper leg down to the bones in the lower leg and foot. The major tendons involved in equine locomotion are the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT), deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT), and suspensory ligament.

What Are the Different Types of Equine Tendon Injuries? 

Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon Injury: 

The SDFT is susceptible to overstrain and overuse injuries. These injuries commonly occur due to repetitive stress, such as intense training or sudden changes in workload.

Deep Digital Flexor Tendon Injury: 

The DDFT, located behind the SDFT, can also experience strain and injuries. These injuries often result from excessive tension or severe trauma to the tendon, leading to partial or complete tears.

Suspensory Desmitis Injury: 

The suspensory ligament supports the fetlock joint and can become inflamed or strained, causing suspensory desmitis. This injury can occur due to excessive strain or stress, such as landing awkwardly after a jump.

What Are the First Signs of Tendon Injury? 

Early identification of tendon injuries is crucial to ensure prompt treatment and minimize long-term damage. Common signs of a tendon injury in horses include swelling, heat, pain, and lameness in the affected limb. In some cases, there may be a noticeable change in gait or a reluctance to move forward. It’s important to note that these signs may vary depending on the severity of the injury and the specific tendon affected. Horse owners and riders should pay close attention to abnormal changes in their horse’s movement or behavior.

How are Tendon Injuries Diagnosed? 

Understanding Tendon Injuries in Horses: Causes, Diagnosis, and TreatmentAccurate diagnosis of tendon injuries requires a thorough examination by a veterinarian. Diagnostic procedures may include palpation, ultrasound imaging, and possibly radiography. Palpation allows the veterinarian to assess the tendon’s condition, identifying any swelling, heat, or pain areas. Ultrasound imaging is a valuable tool for visualizing the tendons, enabling the veterinarian to determine the extent and location of the injury. In some cases, radiography may be necessary to rule out other potential causes of lameness.

What Are My Treatment Options? 

The treatment approach for tendon injuries in horses often depends on the severity of the injury and the specific tendon involved. Common treatment options include:

Anti-inflammatory Drugs: 

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with tendon injuries. These medications can help manage acute symptoms and promote healing.

Physical Therapy: 

Controlled exercise, including controlled hand-walking and gradually controlled turnout, can aid healing by promoting circulation and tissue repair. Rehabilitation programs may also involve cold therapy, laser therapy, far-infrared therapy, and therapeutic ultrasound.

Surgical Correction: 

In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to repair the damaged tendon. Surgical techniques aim to realign torn or damaged tendon fibers, allowing for optimal healing. Surgery is typically reserved for cases not responding to conservative treatment methods.


When chronic pain persists despite conservative treatment, a neurectomy may be considered. This procedure involves selectively severing the nerves supplying the affected area to alleviate pain. However, it should be noted that neurectomy does not address the underlying tendon injury itself.

Why Does it Take So Long to Recover From a Tendon Injury? 

Tendon injuries require a significant amount of time to heal due to the unique properties of tendons. Tendons have a relatively poor blood supply compared to other tissues, which means they have limited access to the oxygen and nutrients necessary for healing. Additionally, the collagen fibers that makeup tendons align in a highly organized manner, making it challenging for new tissue to be laid down in the correct alignment during the healing process. This slow and meticulous healing process aims to minimize scar tissue formation and maintain the tendon’s structural integrity.

To optimize recovery, horses with tendon injuries typically require a lengthy rehabilitation period that involves controlled exercise, gradually increasing stress on the injured tendon. This controlled exercise stimulates collagen production and encourages proper tissue alignment.


Tendon injuries in horses can have a significant impact on their performance and well-being. Understanding the anatomy of tendons, recognizing the signs of tendon injury, and seeking prompt veterinary care is crucial for successful treatment and recovery. With proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment, including anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgical correction, horses can regain their mobility and return to their previous level of activity. Although the recovery process can be lengthy, it is essential to prioritize the long-term health and well-being of the horse to ensure a successful return to full function.

The Price of a Quarter Horse: Factors to Consider

The Quarter Horse is a breed of horse that stands between 14 and 16 hands tall and weighs between 950 and 1,200 pounds. The breed has a muscular, compact build, broad chest, and powerful hindquarters. The Quarter Horse is known for its speed, agility, and versatility, making it suitable for a variety of activities, including racing, rodeo events, ranch work, and recreational riding.

American Quarter Horse History

The Price of a Quarter Horse: Factors to ConsiderThe American Quarter Horse is a breed that has become an integral part of American history. It is a versatile horse breed known for its speed, strength, and agility. The breed’s origin can be traced back to colonial America when Spanish explorers brought horses to the new world. The horses were a cross between the Spanish Barb and the native horses of the American continent.

The breed’s name originated from its ability to outpace other horse breeds in one-quarter of mile-long races. The breed’s popularity continued to grow, and by the late 1800s, the American Quarter Horse became the most common horse in the United States.

Why Quarter Horses Are Popular

The American Quarter Horse is one of the most popular horse breeds in the United States and around the world. Its popularity has several reasons, including its versatility, athleticism, and intelligence. The breed is also known for its friendly disposition and willingness to work, making it an excellent horse for beginners and experienced riders.

Factors that Affect the Price of a Quarter Horse

The price of an American Quarter Horse can vary significantly depending on several factors, including: 

  • Breeding
  • Age
  • Conformation
  • Training and riding experience
  • Show experience
  • Health condition

The price can range from a few thousand to several hundred thousand dollars. The price is typically higher for horses with a successful show record, well-bred, and extensive training and riding experience.


The breeding and bloodlines of a Quarter Horse can significantly impact its price. Horses that are well-bred with proven bloodlines are typically more expensive than horses with unknown or mixed breeding. The bloodlines can also provide insight into the horse’s potential abilities and temperament.


The age of a Quarter Horse can also impact its price. Younger horses that have yet to be trained or ridden may be less expensive than older horses with more experience. However, well-trained and experienced horses may have a higher price tag, regardless of age.

Conformation (Physical Appearance)

The physical appearance of a Quarter Horse, also known as its conformation, can also affect its price. Horses that have balanced and proportionate conformation are typically more expensive than horses with structural faults, such as poor limb alignment or uneven feet.

Training + Riding Experience

The amount of training and riding experience a Quarter Horse has received can also impact its price. Horses with extensive training and experience in specific disciplines, such as reining or cutting, may have a higher price tag than horses with little or no training.

Show Experience

The show experience of a Quarter Horse can also influence its price. Horses that have a successful show record and have won significant awards or titles may be more expensive than horses with no show experience or those with limited success.

Health Condition

The health condition of a Quarter Horse can also affect its price. Horses that are in excellent health, free from any medical issues, and have current vaccinations and health certificates may be more expensive than horses with chronic health problems.

Purchasing a Quarter Horse

If you are interested in purchasing an American Quarter Horse, there are several things to consider. Here are some tips to help you find the right horse for you:

Where to Find Quarter Horses For Sale

You can find American Quarter Horses for sale through a variety of sources, including breeders, trainers, private owners, and online marketplaces (see current Western Horse listings here). It’s essential to do your research and choose a reputable seller who can provide you with information about the horse’s background, training, and health. 

What to Look for When Purchasing a Quarter Horse

When evaluating a Quarter Horse for purchase, there are several factors to consider:

Conformation: Look for a horse with balanced and proportionate conformation, with no structural faults that could impact its health or performance.

Temperament: Choose a horse with a friendly and willing disposition that is suitable for your riding level and intended activities.

Training and experience: Consider the horse’s training and riding experience and its performance in shows or competitions.

Health condition: Ensure the horse is in good health, free from any medical issues, and has up-to-date vaccinations and health certificates.

Pedigree: Research the horse’s breeding and bloodlines to gain insight into its potential abilities and temperament.

Tips for Negotiating the Price

When negotiating the price of a Quarter Horse, keep these tips in mind:

Do your research: Research the horse’s background, training, and performance to determine its fair market value.

Be prepared to walk away: If the seller’s price is too high, be willing to walk away and continue your search elsewhere.

Offer a fair price: Make a reasonable offer based on the horse’s value and your budget.

The American Quarter Horse is a versatile and popular breed with a rich history. When purchasing a Quarter Horse, consider factors such as breeding, age, conformation, training and experience, show experience, and health condition. Use these tips to find the right horse for you and negotiate a fair price with the seller. When done right, you’re bound to find a fine horse that will be a great partner for years.