When you think about it, your horse’s legs are actually quite delicate when compared with the size of his body. We ask a lot of our horses, physically, so it’s important to make sure that we do what we can to protect their legs. Here are six ways to protect your horse’s legs.
Warm Up and Cool Down Slowly
One of the best – and simplest – ways to protect your horse’s legs is to always warm up and cool down slowly before and after workouts. If your horse’s muscles and tendons are cold and you ask for intense activity, your horse is more likely to strain or injure his legs if he stumbles or falls. A good warm up will have your horse’s legs ready for activity, and a cool down will give his muscles time to recover post-workout.
Ride On Good Quality Footing
Be selective about the surfaces that you ride and train on. Riding your horse on a rocky, hard, slick, deep, or uneven surface is demanding on his legs, and can even be dangerous. Try to ride in good quality footing to help reduce the chance of your horse injuring his legs.
Provide Support With Wraps or Boots
Leg wraps and leg boots can help to protect your horse during exercise. Leg boots are popular among jumpers to protect a horse’s legs if he knocks them with another hoof. Supportive leg wraps can help to protect a horse’s legs from abrasions and strains, but all of this equipment must be applied correctly in order to be both safe and effective.
Generously Bed Your Horse’s Stalls
Leg protection doesn’t just pertain to riding. If your horse doesn’t have enough bedding in his stall, he can develop hock sores which can turn into open wounds. Make sure that your horse has adequate bedding so that he doesn’t excessively rub his legs when he lies down.
Have Your Horse Massaged
Massage can be a useful tool in keeping your horse’s legs in good condition and preventing injury. Massage serves to release areas of tension and knotted muscles. When your horse is massaged, he can use his body properly so he is less likely to injure himself during a workout.
Properly Condition Your Horse
All of the boots and bandages in the world won’t protect your horse’s legs if you ask too much of him physically before his body is ready. It’s so important to properly and gradually condition your horse to be able to jump, gallop, and perform other intense physical activity. Remember, take it slow and give your horse’s body time to gain the strength and agility that intense physical activity demands of it.
Protecting a horse and preventing leg injury is far easier than treating leg injuries which have occurred. Put these six tips to work to help keep your horse safe.