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Horse Rehab With Will Coleman

From career-threatening injury to Rolex Kentucky entry

What a difference a year can make. Back in April of 2015, Olympian Will Coleman finished 6th overall at the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* on his then 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse Obos O’Reilly. That breakthrough turned into setback the following spring, as Obos suffered a tendon injury in preparation for Rolex, effectively ending his season, and perhaps his career.

Fast forward another year and here we are: Coleman and Obos back in Kentucky, back in business.

Bringing an equine athlete back from such an injury and into 4-star shape is no easy feat, but as Coleman explained, it’s not exactly rocket science either.

“Really, our whole program was not very scientific at all. We didn’t inject it with anything, we didn’t put any [platelet-rich plasma] or stem cell or anything like that. We iced intensively for the first 3-4 weeks, then we kept him moving in steady and controlled exercise. We believe horses heal better when they’re moving, even working a little bit.”

Coleman threw a major assist to his wife Katie for adding functional electric stimulation therapy to Obos’s rehabilitation program “to encourage good healing and good fiber pattern alignment in his tendon.”

“There are a lot of different opinions out there on how to deal with these types of injuries,” Coleman said. “We knew the horse; he’s always been a really sound horse. The biggest thing was we tried to change his program a little bit, where there was a lot less emphasis on he being protected or bubble wrapped. We turned him out as much as possible. It was very old school, if you want to call it that. Really letting the horse heal himself.

“We have a great feed program,” he continued. “We have some amazing supplements that contribute to the horses feeling good and being able to heal themselves. And getting him back to this event is a testament to all of that. A year later, to have turned around and got him back here, we’re proud of that.”


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