Whether it is a trail horse or an athletic type, your horse’s joint health affects its overall performance. Your horse uses its legs and the joints much when you’re riding it whether it’s just a light stroll or a rough trail. While age is one factor when it comes to its joint health, there are still plenty of factors that could contribute to changes on that part. Here are some of the best things you could do to keep its joints healthy and at their optimum performance.
Good Nutrition Starts It All
Nutrition is the first key to good joint health. When the horse is still young, it should be given nutrient-filled food to supply the needs of its developing body, including the joints. As it grows older, it should be given an adequate supply of calcium and phosphorus to help keep its joints healthy and strong especially when you’re already starting to take it out for a ride. You can also give it horse joint supplements such as chondroitin and glucosamine for extra nutrition.
Set a Training Regimen According to the Horse’s Age
When making a training regimen, you should take age into consideration since each age level has different suitable activities. For younger horses, a regimen that causes repetitive trauma to joints is not recommended because their bodies are still developing. Older horses, on the other hand, are good with most performance regimens which in most cases isn’t suitable yet for younger horses.
Set Low-Impact Exercises More
One great way to keep your horse’s joints well-conditioned without putting much strain on them is to set low-impact exercises more than high-impact ones. For instance, walking on plain terrain is less strenuous than uphill riding yet it is a perfect exercise to keep those joints conditioned and exercised. There’s no need to work your horse harder than it should be since it only causes damage to the joints rather than strengthen it.
Maintain Proper Shoe and Hoof Care
Proper hoof care and shoeing are also essential in keeping the joints healthy. If your horse’s hooves are not well taken care of, it causes more stress to the legs and joints every step your horse makes. Aside from that, you should also be aware of the footing your horse usually works on. Too much hard footing can cause more stress and trauma to the joints because of the impact per step.
Maintain Activity and Fitness
Just like for people, low-impact exercises are also good for your horse. It doesn’t give much stress and strain on their body yet keeps the muscles working and conditioned every day. Aside from that, you should also watch the weight of your horse. Never let your horse go overweight because it’s not good for their health as well as their joints. They will be carrying more weight plus the rider’s weight as well and causes much stress on the joints.
Practice these steps and keep your horse healthy and well-conditioned all the time.