Take good care of your athlete—body and soul

If your equine athlete has a demanding circuit schedule, whether it’s rodeos, racing, shows, or any other competition, all of it can be physically and mentally draining. During a busy season, many equine athletes need a treatment or recovery regimen to help maintain their fitness level and to prevent injury or illness. Here are some top ways to help your horse through the more challenging seasons:

1. Before and after: warm up, cool down

Just like a human athlete, your horse can benefit greatly from a warm up and cool down routine. Before each competition, make sure your horse gets a warm up to loosen and stretch muscles. This helps prevent strain and pulls and also helps them get ready for competition. A fast walk or trotting can loosen up those muscles, and after they compete, a slow, calmer walk to cool down is also essential. The cool down ensures that the lactic acid won’t get trapped in their muscles and cause soreness and stiffness.

2. Ensure proper nutrition and calorie intake

We all know the value of eating a diet high in vitamins, protein, carbs, and the nutrients necessary to stay healthy and fit. Your horse is no different, but it’s also important to ensure that he is getting the right nutrients to support the physical activity and training that can be hard on the body. If you don’t already give your horse supplements in addition to forage, it’s a good idea to speak to your vet about which ones could enrich his diet even more, ensuring that he has enough of the right kind of calories to endure the challenging training and competition.

3. Alleviate fatigue and soreness

Just like you may feel sore after running a 10-K, your horse will also experience soreness and fatigue while on a rigorous competition schedule. Equine massage therapy is a top technique used to relieve soreness, reduce inflammation in the muscles and joints, and to help your horse relax in between races or shows. This type of therapy also increases circulation, flexibility, and reduces the possibility of injuries.

4. Remember to hydrate

You can lead a horse to water…but, well, you know the rest. When your horse is deep in his competition schedule, ensuring he stays hydrated is essential to keeping him healthy and performing at best. Many trainers use special drinks made just for horses that contain electrolytes. There are also special filters designed to remove any foreign tastes or aromas that make the water more enticing. Whatever route you decide to go, remember that your horse needs a sufficient amount of water to continue competing at peak.

5. Do a body check after each competition

While you may be thinking that because you brush, bathe, tack up, and untack your horse daily, you know what’s going on with his body. The fact is, it’s easy to miss a tiny cut, scrapes, bumps, or other things. Doing a thorough check after each competition is a good way to ensure that you catch anything that could cause potential injury or illness before it gets to that point. Pay close attention to your horse’s legs by running your hand up and down each one to feel for any abnormalities. And don’t forget to pick up each foot and look at his hooves, checking for any changes.

High intensity training and a demanding circuit schedule can take a toll on your horse, both physically and emotionally. It’s important to ensure that you provide all that’s necessary for him or her to continually perform at his or her peak and to remain healthy, body and soul.

Get in touch with us today to find out about how we can help. Our equine massage sports therapy is just what your horse need to stay healthy throughout training and competition.