Caring for your Horse’s Legs
A horse’s legs are subject to a lot of wear and tear throughout their lifetime and as owners it is our responsibility to do everything possible to help to take care of them.
Lameness is one of the most common health problems in horses and it can be tricky and expensive to diagnose so as with most things, prevention is the best approach when it comes to keeping horses sound. Here we look at ways in which we can look after legs to reduce the risk of any problems occurring.
The legs are remarkable when you think about the activity they are capable of and the weight they carry. The horse’s front legs are attached only by muscle, tendon and ligament. Tendons are extremely elastic and store up energy to propel the horse but this generates a lot of heat which is why it is important to cool a horse’s legs after hard exercise.
As a general rule, using breathable boots or bandages during exercise can protect and support the legs without causing excessive heat build-up. Removing them after exercise promptly and hosing the legs with cold water (or using one of the many products available to cool the legs post-exercise) will cause your horse’s blood vessels to contract and should help to restore normal circulatory conditions faster, thus reducing the risk of any injury.
A sufficient warm-up and cool-down are also crucial for exercise but particularly when hard work is carried out. If you are unsure about how to do this speak to your trainer.
Over the summer months prolonged periods of dry weather can make natural surfaces hard and compacted which can increase concussion to the horse’s limbs. Hard ground has a higher impact resistance so the energy transmitted from the horse is not absorbed to the ground, increasing concussion up the limb.
Whilst some of us are lucky enough to have access to an all-weather synthetic surface to ride and train on, for others this is not an option so faster work may be carried out on sub-optimal ground. When competing it can also be difficult to avoid harder ground despite the best efforts of event organisers.
To avoid issues as a result of hard ground, such as tendon injuries or concussive laminitis, it is important to make the right decisions for your horse and to remain mindful when working on different surfaces.
Providing nutritional support in the form of a natural antioxidative and anti-inflammatory supplement can also help to maintain healthy joints and aid recovery following exposure to hard ground or exercise.
TurmerAid™, from The Golden Paste Company, is a natural turmeric supplement for horses which supports healthy joints, aids digestion and promotes a healthy skin and coat. The supplement sustains healthy joints as it helps the integrity of the equine natural defence and structural mechanisms, while supporting the body’s natural inflammation processes.
The only pelleted turmeric supplement on the market, TurmerAid™ is carefully formulated with key ingredients for maximum absorption and bio-availability. The complete turmeric pellet contains a minimum 5.1% curcumin, yucca, black pepper, linseed and apple cider vinegar.
TurmerAid™ remains effective as the ingredients are evenly distributed in each pellet and are only released when the horse bites into them. There is no risk of individual ingredients dissipating inside the tub over time and the horse subsequently receiving an unbalanced measure. The pellets can be added to feed or fed alone by hand or from a bucket as they are highly palatable.
It is important to check your horse’s legs and hooves daily to feel for any heat, lumps or bumps. If you get to know your horse’s legs really well you will able to spot anything abnormal quickly and then hopefully take the necessary steps to prevent a small issue from becoming something more serious.
To find out more about TurmerAid™ click here.