12 Quick Reasons that Warm Ups and Cool Downs Promote Horse Health
Most of us know that warming our horses up and cooling them down is important, but do you know why?
Sometimes knowing why you are doing something can improve the way way you go about what you are doing. Since these parts of an equine fitness program are so important to promoting horse health, we decided to share some quick tips with you about what exactly warming up and cooling down does for equine wellness.
Begin your Equine Fitness Session with a Warm Up-
The warm up duration and intensity will vary for each horse based on fitness level, age, and fitness goals, but here are six reasons that a warm up should be included in your horse's work/play sessions:
- Allows for a psychological warm up.
- Helps prevent a premature onset of blood lactic acid accumulation and fatigue during performance or session.
- Decreases the work of contraction and reduces risk of muscle injury, because it causes a gradual increase of muscle temperature.
- Helps enhance cardio-respiratory performance by permitting a gradual metabolic adaption period.
- Allows for a gradual distribution of blood flow to active muscles.
- Increases the elasticity of connective tissue.
Ending Equine Fitness Sessions with a Cool Down
Same as mentioned with the warm up- body type, climate, density of coat, fitness level, etc. can vary what type of cool down your horse may need to support their wellness. But these six reasons are why it should become a part of your routine:
- Reduces the immediate post exercise tendency for muscles to cramp up or spasm.
- Reduces the concentration of exercise hormones.
- Prevents post exercise venous blood pooling.
- Promotes nervous system health by releasing heat generated by exercise. (The nervous system and brain are sensitive to overheating.)
- Allows the horse's heart rate and circulation to return to a normal range.
- Reduces the risk of heat trapping within the core of the body, muscles, and brain. Trapped heat in horses has been linked to issues like colic, heat stroke, metabolic collapse, tying up, etc.
Bonus Tips to Know if Your Horse is Cooled Down:
- Breathing patterns have returned to normal
- Chest area feels cool to the touch
- Heart rate has returned to normal
- Temperature has returned to normal
This post is part of a topic series on equine fitness, equine rehabilitation, and conditioning. If you would like to learn about properly conditioning your horse or how to start rehabilitation after injury check out the links below.
Don't Allow Dangerous Digestive Problems Linger-
Inside our top download PDF guide, 10 Tell Tale Signs Your Horse May Be Suffering From Dangerous Digestive Problems, you will find a BONUS Vital Signs Checklist you can use to help you stay on track with keeping an eye on your horse's baseline. Click Here to download your copy today.
Many horses struggled with digestive issues that go unsupported until it is too late! 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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