A former advanced event horse has defied all odds after being injuredin a freak accident at his yard near Cheltenham, thanks to the efforts of a vet and an osteopath.

Judy Graham, who owns 12-year-old Much The Best, was initially told by experts that her horse would never compete again after he “did the splits” onthe yard.

The 16.1hh bay gelding was left with a pronounced gait abnormality and was pronounced “unsafe” to be ridden.

“‘Mut’ appeared to carry his hind limb very straight and it circled outwards before being placed to the ground when he walked,” explains his owner. “Sadly, he was destined to spend the rest of his life turned away.”

Nine months later, Judy was referred to a team at the Equine Therapy Centre at Hartpury College, Glos. After establishing that the nerve pathways to the limb were intact, veterinary surgeon, Tim Galer and osteopath, Liz Launder, thought up a “creative and innovative” rehabilitation programme.

This involved:

  • weights on his shoes and chains to encourage flexion in the hocks
  • a series of tailor-made polework excercises to help improve co-ordination
  • electrotherapy to help reduce pain
  • water treadmill to help increase flexion

It took three months before Mut could be ridden and another year before he competed.

His owner says that few horses would have put up with the rigorous routine, but she believes it was his temperament, which brought him through in the end.

“He coped tremendously well, ” said Judy. “He did everything that was asked of him

“Mut romped round the novice course at a one-day event at Hartpury with only one fence down in the showjumping, but we’re taking it very slowly.

“He might have just ended his day in a field, but now happily he has a future.”