Some images used in this web site are reproduced by the kind permission of Horse and Rider Magazine, Bob Langrish and Stephanie Armstrong
Over 60% of the horse’s bulk is muscle, any small injury to a muscle can cause a loss of performance leading to dysfunction in the soft tissues and joints, in other words the horse’s performance will be affected. The horse is an athlete whether he is used for light hacking or top level competition. Routine maintenance of the horse’s neuromuscular and muscular-skeletal systems will help to ensure he remains in peak condition.
For the majority of the cases we see our normal treatment is sufficient to resolve the problem, particularly if the injury is acute i.e. from a slip in the field, over exerting over a fence, or muscle fatigue after strenuous exercise. This treatment involves the use of H-wave (electrotherapy) to stretch out adhesions in muscles, reduce spasm and mobilise deeper structures. Once the musculature is released, the joints are manipulated to regain full range of movement.
Many owners choose to include routine check-ups in their yearly budget. We find that any horse will benefit from being assessed twice a year, we generally recommend toward the end of the summer then again at the end of the winter.
We advise that horses competing regularly in riding club activities are assessed approximately four times a year. For those competing at a higher level we normally devise a maintenance programme, in conjunction with
the owner/rider, around their competition and training schedule, taking into account the individual horse’s weaknesses, level of training etc.
We would not expect to need to treat the horse on every occasion but owners find the input from our therapists useful; whether it is monitoring correct muscular development of a young horse, or suggesting suppling exercises for the more mature hack.