Regular exercise and movement is vital for joint health – an older horse may only need to work in hand, but this movement will help get their joints working and improve blood flow. Always ensure you build up your horse’s exercise routine carefully and ensure their body is properly conditioned before upping their workload. Make sure you are giving your horse a thorough warm up & cool down.
A balanced diet is vital to ensure your horse’s overall health. Ensure you aren’t feeding them beyond their requirements and that their daily needs are met.
Try to limit your horse’s work on extremely hard surfaces as it can lead to excessive concussion which puts strain on the joints. Try to work your horse on a variety of surfaces to support their joints.
Overweight horses will put more strain on their joints than horses of optimum weight. Ensure your horse doesn’t gain too much excess weight and consider changing their workload and diet to help them reach a healthy weight.
It’s always a good idea to keep horses on a regular schedule of hoof care, whether they are barefoot or shod. A hoofcare professional will ensure the horse is balanced, avoiding unnecessary strain. In addition, corrective hoofcare could help conformation issues which would be putting additional pressure on their joints.
Alongside a good warm up, doing stretching exercises with your horse will help to increase blood flow and warm up and soften their muscles. Even if your horse has a day off, consider doing a few minutes of stretching and suppling in their stable.
Look out for supplements containing key ingredients such as Glucosamine, MSM, Hyaluronic Acid & Chondroitin to provide joint support and maintain comfort & mobility. PharmaQuin Joint Complete HA contains high levels of these ingredients and is rated 5* by owners.
Keep an eye out for any signs of joint discomfort in your horse – look out for things like stiffness, reluctance to go forward, struggling to pick feet out, out of character behaviour (eg stopping at jumps or sudden spookiness), or any inflammation, and contact a veterinary professional if you’re concerned.
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Posted on 16th January, 2024.