Your horse will always need some care to support his recovery after a workout, but in cold temperatures, your care routine needs to change a bit to fully support your horse’s needs. After a cold-weather workout, you can help to speed along your horse’s recovery while also preventing common issues like colic and tying up.
Focus on a Cool-Out
Any post-workout routine needs to start with a good cooling out period, and that becomes even more important in the winter. Put a cooler on your horse and either ride or hand walk him until his respiration rate and body temperature return to normal. The time required for cool out can vary depending on your horse’s fitness level, the intensity of the workout, the temperature outdoors and whether your horse is clipped.
Once you’ve walked your horse, remove his tack and rub him down thoroughly to remove any sweat or moisture from his coat. He may need additional time in the barn with a cooler before he’s ready to be blanketed, but paying attention to this important step can help to keep him from getting chilled.
Get Your Horse Drinking Again
Horses may be reluctant to drink in the cold, but rehydrating is important to your horse’s recovery and in preventing issues like colic. Offering heated water buckets or heated automatic waterers can help to keep your horse drinking. You can also provide electrolytes in feed to stimulate thirst and help keep him drinking after wintertime workouts.
Provide Leg Support and Care
Whatever the weather, your horse can benefit from leg support and care after a workout. This can be particularly beneficial in winter for horses that suffer from arthritis. If your horse will be indoors, wrapping his legs for support can help to prevent edema and stocking up. Poultices and sweats can also be useful in relieving inflammation and speeding leg recovery.
Get Your Horse Moving
It’s best for your horse to move around after a workout, rather than standing in a stall. Movement can help to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness after a hard workout, and it can also help to prevent stocking up and other issues.
But if you live in a cold climate, putting your horse in a situation where he can move around freely can be easier said than done in winter. Try to turn your horse out even if just for an hour or two after a workout (but make sure he’s fully cooled out and dry before doing this). If it’s too cold or the turnout conditions are hazardous, consider turning your horse out in your indoor arena. If you own your barn, you might choose to put a round pen in the arena so that a horse can be “turned out” in the space while others are riding.
Un-Lock Advanced Muscle Formula can assist with your horse’s health and recovery from a cold-weather workout. This formula contains muscle-supporting amino acids and vitamins that can help to buffer lactic acid, prevent tying up, and speed recovery. Un-Lock helps to reduce cramping and, because it contains electrolytes, it can also help to encourage your horse to drink and stay hydrated. In addition to the methods described above, adding Un-Lock to your horse’s diet can support an easier, faster and more complete recovery from a cold-weather workout.
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