Tips to Prevent Leg Injuries in Your Horse

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Leg injuries can sideline horses for weeks or months at a time, and if you’ve just looked at horses for sale and have bought a horse of your own, leg injuries are the last thing that you want to be dealing with. These tips will help you to keep your horse sound and ready to ride.

Use Leg Boots

There’s a wide variety of leg boots and leg protection available for horses. If you regularly participate in activities where your horse is likely to strain or knock his legs, like barrel racing or jumping, it’s a good idea to invest in a quality pair of leg boots. Leg boots can help prevent avoidable knocks and strains.

Work With Your Farrier

Regular farrier work is key to keeping your horse sound. If a horse’s hooves go uncared for, the horse can become imbalanced and will be more prone to strain and leg injuries. Work closely with your farrier to keep your horse on a regular schedule so that his hooves remain well cared for and in good condition.

Watch the Footing

The footing that you ride your horse over has a great effect on whether or not he stays sound. Dense, packed footing is hard on legs and joints, but soft footing that is too deep can leave your horse vulnerable to tendon and ligament strains and tears. If you travel to a horse show only to discover the footing isn’t ideal, it’s probably worth it not riding that day, if only to keep your horse safe.

Remember that your horse’s pasture footing can affect him, too. Look for rocks or holes that could cause trouble. Muddy pastures are slippery and can cause falls and potential injuries.

Warm Up and Cool Down Slowly

Whenever you ride your horse, schedule plenty of time for a gradual warm up and cool down. Warming up gives your horse’s muscles time to loosen up, lessening the chance of injury. Cooling down gives the muscles time to relax and rid themselves of the waste buildup and tension that has accumulated during the workout.

Give Your Horse Breaks

As you ride your horse, be sure to give him regular breaks to relax and recover from the workout. A fatigued horse who is being pushed athletically is more likely to stumble or fall, potentially injuring himself in the process.

Whether you’ve just looked at horses for sale or have had your horse for years, these practices can help to keep your horse’s legs in good health.

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