If you’ve had Charlie Thomas on your stable mail, he’s all but disappeared since a workout in October at Golden Gate for his new owners.
In that workout Charlie bowed a tendon. If you’ve been around racing long enough, these are dreaded words. While not life-threatening, bowed tendons are often career-ending.
In Charlie’s case, he had a bullet work (fastest of the day) and the next day Sharon noticed something was off. When he was flexed on the tendon, he showed soreness and an ultrasound revealed the damage.
Horses have two tendons that run down the front legs. The Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon (SDFT) and the Deep Digital Flexor Tendon (DDFT). The SDFT is more susceptible to injury, and it was this tendon that Charlie injured. A hyper extension of the tendon may result in a hole or tear within the tendon.
When the tendon is injured, it is most commonly exhibited as a very apparent “bow” on the horse’s leg.
Charlie bowed his left front tendon and it was a middle bow (located on the middle of the leg). He will have to undergo carefully managed rehab to recover and be serviceable as a riding horse. Healing from a bow takes time and exercise management. There are some stem-cell treatments, but they are expensive and have mixed results. (Read more here.) Given Charlie’s age and the injury, the prospect of successfully returning to the races was carefully weighed against him rehabbing to be a sound riding horse in the future and the decision was made to retire him.
Charlie shipped back from California yesterday and Sharon believes she has someone interested in giving him a home. We look forward to hearing updates on his progress and we’ll stay posted on his journey into his second career!