Matador is a seasoned dressage horse, having competed through Intermediaire. Owner, Gina Dailey, even describes him as a schoolmaster. Over their seven years together, Gina and Matador have developed a strong bond. “When things at work are difficult, or when family or friends are dealing with serious heath issues, spending time with Matador and focusing on improving my riding are great distractions,” says Gina.
But nothing could prepare the now 23-year-old Dutch Warmblood for the challenges he would face in recent years. Early on in their relationship, Matador had a mishap in turnout that caused injury to a ligament in his right front leg and he was referred to Tufts Hospital for Large Animals.
“[The clinicians] were so helpful and supportive, determining exactly what was wrong, detailing a treatment plan, monitoring Matador’s progress, and eventually giving us the all clear,” says Gina.
A year later, Matador was back at the Hospital for Large Animals with ringbone near the location of the earlier ligament strain. “The team at Tufts was very helpful again, determining the extent of the problem and giving me hope that Matador might not need to be retired yet,” says Gina.
In summer 2014, however, the pair made their third trip to the hospital with what turned out to be a strained deep digital flexor tendon. Together, the Sports Medicine and Ultrasound teams made the diagnosis and worked out a treatment and rehab plan.
“After a long, slow rehab, Matador was back in regular work in spring 2015 and we have been enjoying shows and clinics in the months since then,” says Gina. “My proudest moments have been hearing recently from clinicians who had seen us before Matador’s most recent injury, and all have said he looks better than ever.”