Case Study: Radial Nerve Paralysis

3y.o Stock horse x gelding

Injury: radial nerve paralysis of right forelimb

  • Presented non-weight bearing with the difficulty extending the elbow and activating his tricep muscles. No proprioception of that forelimb. Swelling of the triceps and lower limb.

    Location of Radial Nerve adapted from Biosphera 3D Horse Anatomy

Date Diagnosed: 13th November 2016 (degree of damage to the nerve not provided). Fracture was ruled out.

Rehabilitation Process:

  • Rehabilitation sessions commenced on the 19th of November (later than I would have liked for a nerve damage case), and were completed weekly for 6 weeks. The owner completed at home tasks to further promote healing. At this point the horse was walking and trotting sound with no signs of proprioception deficits or atrophy.

  • Remedial exercise sessions were commenced on the 9th of January to help gradually build strength and develop good posture. Initially these sessions were completed by Jacinda, the owner then completed a few remedial exercise lessons to learn correct techniques to then take over the in hand work rehabilitation.

  • This horse is now currently being started back under saddle 🙂


When Jacinda first saw Danny he had sustained a serious shoulder injury that had baffled vets. He couldn’t move or extend his leg forwards and had absolutely no idea where his leg was in space. He was literally hopping. I was devastated, I’d just spent thousands of dollars on my new youngster only for him to injure himself less than two weeks after taking him home. Jacinda confirmed he was suffering radial nerve damage, and started Danny on a strict regimen of regular micro current and laser treatments in to try restore his nerve function and movement. Days after his first treatment I noticed that he could actually move his leg, which was a really big deal for him. As he continued to improve Jacinda created an exercise plan to regain strength to the shoulder muscle and eventually to look towards ridden work. At first it was very basic balancing exercises and in hand walking, slowly building his strength up to ensure he was using his body correctly and giving him the foundations to not reinjure himself down the track. After months of rehab work and regular treatments we finally got to the stage of riding him, which was amazing. When he first hurt himself I was told he would be lucky to be a sound enough to be a paddock ornament, and I finally had a sound riding horse. Again Jacinda gave me a very specific plan for starting his ridden work, starting slowly and building up, including lots of pole work. Now looking at him, nobody would believe that a few months ago he couldn’t walk. Danny is a walking example of why this stuff works. Jacinda had a great way with Danny and was always happy to answer my dozens of questions