Hands-On Learning With FastTrack®

Events, News
Jess PhotoCred Flatlands LR 2

A low point of being a rider and trainer is at some point I have to tell my clients their horse is lame or stomach the fact that one of my own horses is lame. Sometimes it's obvious what the injury is and sometimes you’re unsure but praying that it’s an abscess until the vet comes, only to find out it’s a soft tissue injury. It’s an unfortunate part of this sport. And usually, it comes at the absolute worst time, like when a rider is gearing toward a move up or all the pieces of the ride are just starting to come together. You then fret about the “could have, should have, would have” scenarios, but in the end, it’s time to make a rehab plan with your vet and trusted team and go from there.

I am whole-heartedly empathic to our horses, as we must advocate for them. I am no stranger to injury, as growing up playing competitive soccer and horseback riding, I was prone to my fair share of bumps, bruises, and worse. I tore my meniscus, I saw teammates tear ACLs – just to name a few! For all our human injuries, we were met with top sports doctors, physical therapists, knee or leg braces, and a plan. In my opinion, it’s only fair we provide the same for our equine partners who are athletes as well.

I first saw FastTrack® scrolling through Facebook during one of my bouts of insomnia. I followed the Facebook post to Horsepower’s website and quickly became intrigued while reading through the material and watching a video of the product in action. I was mind blown – I had never seen or heard of a horse orthotic! Humans have them, so of course our horses should! I was impressed, but does it really work? I quickly learned through the website that FastTrack® was designed and tested at Tufts Large Animal Hospital, which is a facility I am close to in distance and relationships with several vets, staff, and students. The basic concept seems simple – support the fetlock joint by limiting the extension which would allow tendons or ligaments to heal faster by reducing strain. While browsing the website, I learned you can use FastTrack® during stall rest, hand-walking, and as you increase the injured horses' workload, as well as in conjunction with other therapies. My initial reaction was “what an innovative idea.'' My second reaction was, “I hope I don’t ever have to use FastTrack®.” However, the reality of operating and running a farm, chances are high that we will need this in the future.

One of my favorite parts about the Horsepower’s website is that the company always refers you back to your veterinarian. It is imperative to have a solid team of vets and staff who are all on the same page for your horses. I love the product was designed with the guidance of a veterinarian and tested in a well-known vet clinic. From the start of an injury through rehab, the vet stays on board and is involved with the FastTrack®. Your vet would be the one measuring and fitting the product, as well as the one who would make decisions on changing the dial, which changes the range of motion. I would be nervous making these decisions. For Horsepower to advocate that FastTrack® be overseen by your vet is much more settling!

Having to had rehab many horses from various tendon and ligament injuries, I’m no stranger to knowing how tough rehab can be. You question every step, worry about them pacing their stall or getting wild in limited turnout or hand walking, etc. You worry about the footing, wonder if anything is healing, as we don’t have ultrasound vision – it can feel like the process is taking forever. Horses are massive animals held up by tiny legs and hooves. We ask them to prance about, trail ride, jump, and so on, and we can’t always be responsible for their antics in turnout. Horses will be horses, and sometimes they get injured. If there was a way to support them as they rehab and recover the same way we do for human athletes, then it seems like an absolute no brainer for FastTrack® to become a staple in everyone’s rehab program. David O’Conner, top-level eventer and coach, has been noted to say that FastTrack® is a “game changer,” and I think he’s right.

I was excited to see this product in person. So much so that we set up a demo at our farm, which allowed myself and those who were interested, to audit FastTrack® in person. Knock on wood, I don’t have any horses currently rehabbing, but we frequently take on horses to help owners during the tedious rehab process.

Thank you to all who enjoyed the demo at 1pm on May 4th at Baile Hill Farm in Sutton, MA! We had an amazing time. I loved being joined by auditors as FastTrack® is a crucial tool for our beloved equines.


About the author:

Jessica Halliday is the owner of Baile Hill/Farm and JH Eventing and is based out of Sutton, MA and Aiken, SC. Jess runs an active facility that provides lessons, training, sales, and rehabilitation for equine. Her program is geared toward passionate riders with emphasis on horsemanship while catering toward all levels of riding from recreational to serious competitor. Jess was named 2018 USEA Cornerstone Trainer of the Year. She is also the founder of Buck Off Cancer, a cause near and dear to her heart. When not in the barn you can find Jess rescuing dogs, freelance writing, or on some adrenaline junkie activity such as bull riding!


Photo credit to Joan Davis of Flatlandsfoto.com