After a workout, proper care can help your horse to recuperate. We’ve all been taught about the importance of walking out a horse until he’s cool and providing plenty of water, but post-workout leg care is sometimes overlooked. During workouts, your horse’s legs undergo an incredible amount of strain, so it’s important to monitor for injuries and to facilitate recovery after exercise.
Leg care is an essential aspect of equine health, and these tips can help you to monitor and support the health of your horse’s legs.
Begin your horse’s leg care routine with a hands-on check after every workout. Rather than just visually inspecting your horse’s legs, taking the time to run your hands over his legs can help you to spot abnormalities such as slight swelling, warm spots and more. If you’re not the person to do this check, then make sure that the same groom or staff person performs the check every time so that they can develop a sense of what is typical for each horse. If you can spot leg abnormalities early, often you can minimize or prevent an injury.
Use Cold Therapy
Cold therapy helps to slow down the inflammatory process, so it can reduce soreness after a workout. It’s also particularly important in treating new injuries or strains.
You can apply cold therapy to your horse’s legs in a number of different ways. Cold hosing legs after a workout is a popular option. Other alternatives include applying ice boots or using cold packs.
Apply Liniments and Poultices
Your post-workout leg care routine may also incorporate liniments and poultices. Liniments may cool down or heat up muscles, depending on their ingredients. You can rub liniments into your horse’s legs after a workout. This is beneficial due to both the massaging motion, which promotes circulation and reduces swelling, as well sa the warming or cooling effect of the liniment itself.
Poultices are another great option. If a horse has had a hard workout or has been experiencing leg swelling, a cold poultice can provide lasting cold therapy. Apply a cooling poultice, then wrap it with a damp cloth and a top wrap for longer-term cooling therapy.
Many equine athletes have their legs wrapped after workouts. Wraps can offer support to your horse’s legs, and can also prevent stocking up when your horse spends extended time in a stall. Wraps need to be applied correctly, though, or they may cause more harm than good.
Take Advantage of Turnout Time
Turnout time is another essential element to equine health; it can help your horse to recover after a hard workout. Horses kept in stalls experience limited movement, which can contribute to post-workout leg soreness and swelling or stocking up.
Instead, try to get your horse some turnout time, even if it’s only for an hour or two after a workout. In turnout, horses can walk around freely. The movement helps to promote circulation through their legs, preventing or reducing swelling. Light, frequent movement also reduces overall muscle soreness after a tough workout.
To round out your post-workout leg care routine, feed your horse Un-Lock to reduce muscle fatigue, reduce cramping, speed recovery and prevent tying up. Un-Lock features a unique combination of muscle-supporting amino acids, electrolytes and essential vitamins to boost performance and recovery.
Learn more about Un-Lock and get your horse started on this supplement to complement everything you’re already doing to care for his legs.
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