The Horse

OCT 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 42 of 51

SPORTS MEDICINE NANCY S. LOVING, DVM | The Horse October 2018 43 L et's say you spend a lot of time at your desk, like many in the U.S. workforce. Would you take off from your busy office schedule without any conditioning and attempt to summit a 14,000-foot mountain? Can it be done? Yes ... but without preparation, the risks are many and chances of success low. The same situa- tion applies with horses. Can you take an idle horse from pasture and enter him in a 50-mile endurance race the next week? Can you take your dressage horse out of retirement and expect him to earn high scores? Consider an inactive horse that hangs out in the pasture all day or has been on stall rest laying up from an injury. How do you bring that individual back to a fit state properly and safely? Starting Principles Five basic tenets apply to all equine athletes, says Wally Liberman, DVM, owner of Panorama Equine Medical and Surgical Center, in Redding, California. To perform to the best of their ability, no matter their condition or activity level, these athletes must: 1. Have good genetics and conformation; 2. Have good nutritional management; 3. Have the ability to exercise at will dur- ing turnout or with regular training; 4. Receive good hoof care; and 5. Be trained using techniques com- patible with the horse's ability and mindset. "Many behavioral and performance issues could be alleviated if these basic management principles are addressed," says Liberman. To bring a sedentary horse back to performance level, you must adhere to the smallest of details in his manage- ment program. "Horses are true in their expression of pain, so watch for it while enacting these measures," he says. Hoof care after a horse has been inac- tive for a while is critical, says Liberman. A sedentary horse is often left barefoot. This can lead to hoof distortions that need to be addressed. Hooves might have weakened, for example, due to excess moisture on pasture. They might also have suffered from simple inattention to proper trim balance. "The trim process should account for hoof distortions and basic hoof conformational-induced abnormalities," says Liberman. "Survey radiographs (X rays) help to distinguish asymmetry between the coffin bone and the hoof capsule." Using these radiographs, the horse's veterinarian and farrier can collaborate to come up with a trimming and shoeing plan that will restore his hoof shape and structure. Nutrition is also critical. "It is likely that transitioning a horse from a sed- entary to active lifestyle will involve an overhaul of his diet," says Liberman. This is particularly important if the idle horse is carrying too much weight on his frame and needs to lose some pounds. Over- weight horses benefit from a balanced diet that is low in starch and sugar. Back to Work Before throwing tack and rider on an out-of-shape horse, try ponying him alongside a calm companion. PAULA DA SILVA/ANRD.NL How to transition a sedentary horse into an exercise program safely

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Horse - OCT 2018