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.

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44 October 2018 The Horse | Another factor to consider is whether the sedentary horse has been confined to a stall or has been turned out part- or full-time. Liberman says an idle horse that has had regular turnout is less likely to experience fatigue issues than one that has been confined for long periods and then put back into work. A horse's ability to exercise at will helps him maintain muscle tone and hoof strength and fine- tunes neuromuscular coordination and strength. "Confinement is unnatural and makes the task of returning a horse to work much more challenging," he says. Conditioning and Physical Therapy Taking a horse from a sedentary state to active working fitness can be a form of rehabilitation. However, there's no one- size-fits-all program for it, says Sherry Johnson, DVM, co-founder of Equine Core Inc. (eCore), a company in North Texas that helps develop at-home reha- bilitation and conditioning programs for equine athletes. "The entire program ultimately relies on a horse's current level of fitness, the presence (or absence) of previous inju- ries, and the general goal of the rider," she says. "Is this horse being conditioned to return to competition, or is he just begin- ning a fitness program?" Horses can lose fitness very quickly, particularly if stall-bound for two or more weeks. Riders need to expect to spend at least 60 days of five-days-a-week exer- cise increasing a horse's cardiovascular strength and stamina. Besides standard hand-walking and ponying, Johnson recommends physiotherapeutic exercises to help build core strength and stability and prepare a horse to go back to ridden work. One piece of therapy equipment she likes to use is a weighted surcingle. Ask your vet about BoneWise TM Did you know bone density and strength decline during layup and confi nement? Available only through your veterinarian. Developed by:, 859-873-2974 A unique source of calcium and minerals that maintain bone density and strength. TH 2017-06b SPORTS MEDICINE Some physiotherapeutic exercises focus on improving neck and back exibility and strength as well as joint range of motion. COURTESY DR. SHERRY JOHNSON

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