Simple Tips to Reconditioning Your Horse Safely & Successfully after Injury or Rest
It is important that after injury or prolonging times of rest or pasture or stall time you recondition your horse before you enter into a performance or even go on a long trail ride. During periods of non-activity the horse has loss muscle tone and strength. This loss of strength can include their stabilizing muscles, ligaments and tendons, and even bone density and strength as well. Not rehabilitating your horse properly can lead to injury.
Tip #1: Slow & Steady to Promote Equine Wellness
“Slow and right beats fast and wrong” is a saying Pat Parelli uses often to describe how to approach horsemanship and development. But this statement is also great in relation to bringing your horse back from injury or inactivity as well. The loss of muscle mass, definition, and tone discussed in the introduction paragraph is a major reason that this tip slow & steady is imperative in rehabilitating your horse.
Tip #2 Reconditioning Your Horse From the Ground Up
You can begin with carrot stretches and somatic moments to help your horse activate and strengthen core & stabilizing muscles. Be sure to only go as far as the horse can comfortable go. If you are new with stretching I would recommend doing some research or ask a qualified equine alternative therapist for some input and assistance in stretching properly.
Ground work is a great way to start engaging muscles and building strength. Let me be clear, this is not about lunging! Use ground poles, bridges, cones, cavalettes, and other obstacles to encourage stimulation of both the mind and the body.
Tip #3 Make Sure the Nutrition Supports Reconditioning Your Horse
As your horse comes off of stall rest it is important to adjust their nutrition to suit the horse's needs and requirements. If you are unsure of where to begin contact a qualified equine professional.
Tip #4 Use Supporting Therapies to Promote Your Horse's Health & Wellness
Scheduling your horse to receive alternative therapies that support equine wellness and balance is always a good idea. These can include equine massage, essential oils, ortho-bionomy, acupressure, acupuncture, chiropractic, etc.
Tip #5 Be Aware and Know Your Horse's Baseline
Observing and knowing what your horse's normal is will help you know when you are pushing too hard or if the horse is ready to move forward. If the horse is recovering from injury regular vet checks are important. If you are just reconditioning your horse that has been in the pasture or has not been ridden in awhile just be aware and watch for signs that the horse if off or struggling.
These indicators may include:
- obvious lameness
- behavioral issues or changes
- imbalances or failure to maintain gait
- Heat or swelling
- also check vital signs pre and post work so you can maintain a baseline of recovery
Allowing the time your horse needs to recover or build the proper strength and stamina is imperative to promoting equine wellness. It is also how to ensure that rehabilitating your horse has a successful outcome. For more tips on how to design a horse conditioning program after your horse is rehabilitated check out Are You Properly Conditioning Your Horse?
Use our free vital signs checklist to track and determine your horse's baseline. This check list is a BONUS free download with our top downloaded FREE PDF guide, 10 Tell Tale Signs Your Horse May Be Suffering From Dangerous Digestive Problems. Click Here to download your copy today.
My mare Pokey struggled with #3 on this list for years and yet I was told she was just lazy and it was a training/behavioral problem. Don't let others misguide you or silence what your horse wants you to know.
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