When in doubt, stretch it out: How to avoid joint pain in horses
It's summertime, and horse owners are taking more weekend trail rides. With horses getting extra hours of physical activity on the weekends, the sudden stillness during the week can take a toll on their bodies, and can result in joint pain.
Similar to how humans react to staying still too long, joint pain and stiffness is common among horses that do not get enough movement. Motion is lotion, meaning more movement helps smooth out stiff joints and keep them lubricated. To help horses get up and move quicker on the weekends, take your horse out more during the week.
How to Keep Joints Loose
Keeping a horse in a 10 by 10 stall for all hours of the day can result in strain on the horse’s muscles once they are eventually taken out for ride. It’s similar to humans working an office job Monday through Friday. If a person hasn’t stretched or moved around at all, by Friday, they’re not moving so well.
During the slower days, take your horse out for a walk or let them out of the stable to stretch. This will help save time on the weekends, because as opposed to spending two hours warming up their horse’s stiff joints for a trail ride, you can hop right on for a smooth, comfortable outing.
For older horses, keeping joints and muscles in motion is especially important. The muscles of older horses stiffen quicker and more often, so horse owners should keep them moving to avoid a choppy ride or worse, pain coming to the horse.
Why Pour-In Pads Help
Deep ground surfaces, like plowed dirt, can put stress on a horse’s upper body, shoulders and hips. Pour-in pads build a sort of floatation device on top of the terrain, so the horse doesn’t have to strain itself to move through the deep, sinking ground. Try Equi-Pak to help horses move easier and quicker through deep terrain.
If horses have the chance to stretch and exercise throughout the week, they will be ready for weekend trail rides all summer long.