A horse’s legs and feet are his most important assets…If you don’t look after them – you don’t have a horse. Below are our seven top tips for long-lasting legs:
- Ground conditions – what is the condition of the ground your horse is working on? Be very careful working your horse on hard or rutted ground, or in deep sand or mud.
- Fitness – is your horse fit enough for what you are asking him to do? Suddenly challenging him to jump a 1 metre 20 jump when he’s jumped 80cm his whole life, probably isn’t going to end well.
- Warm up – are you giving your horse a long warm up before you start to work him? Are you walking him for at least 10 minutes before you even ask for the trot? We wouldn’t (we hope) burst straight into a full sprint without warming up first, neither can your horse.
- Warm down – the last section of your ride should be spent walking until your horse is cool. Without a cool down your horse will be very stiff the next time he is worked.
- Boots – ensure that if you horse needs boots, he is wearing the correct sort for the type and amount of work he is doing. Remember to also remove them promptly at the end of a ride so that the legs can start to cool off.
- After a ride – legs need to cool off after a ride. Consider if your horse needs cold hosing at the end of a ride.
- Joint supplements – get your horse a joint supplement containing chondroitin sulphate, MSM, glucosamine, boswellia serrata or green-lipped mussel.