Ways You Can Promote Good Joint Health In Your Horse

Print this page    
There’s a lot riding on your horse’s joints. You depend on your horse’s joints to be healthy in order to keep him comfortable and to allow him to perform athletically. These tips can help you to promote good joint health in your horse.

Allow Your Horse to Grow

Many horses are started under saddle at young ages, such as three or four. Before you start putting weight on your horse’s back, it’s important to give his bones and joints time to mature. Horses of different breeds mature at different rates, so speak with your horse’s veterinarian to determine when the ideal time is to begin riding your horse. Once you start riding your horse, be sure that you still give him more time to grow before you introduce high-impact activities like galloping or jumping.

Encourage Proper Self Carriage

One of the best ways that you can preserve your horse’s joints is to learn how to encourage proper self carriage. Riding for self carriage does not come from forcing his head down, but from learning to ride your horse from back to front. If your horse goes along with his head in the air, he’s adding stress to his lower back and his hocks. Teaching him to travel correctly reduces this stress, but it’s important that you also understand how to ride to evoke correct and proper carriage.

Choose Footing Carefully

Your horse’s joints can be stressed and damaged if he’s frequently worked over poor-quality footing, like sand rings which have hardened or paved roads. Choose your horse’s footing carefully so that you’re riding over surfaces which are supportive yet which also have some shock absorbing properties.

Minimize Jumping Stress

Jumping is a high-impact activity which can significantly stress your horse’s joints. Try to minimize both the height and the frequency that you jump your horse. By keeping jumps small and only jumping large fences occasionally, you’re reducing the impact that your horse’s joints must sustain. Keeping jumping sessions to just a few each week gives your horse some time to recover and helps to preserve his joints.

Use a Joint Supplement

There are countless joint supplements available to help promote healthy joints in your horse. Many of these supplements can be fed on top of your horse’s food, making them easy to administer. Investing in a joint supplement early on in your horse’s career may help to promote good joint health in his later years.

Your horse’s joints require special care and attention. Don’t forget to ask your vet for advice on how to keep your horse’s joints healthy so that he stays comfortable during his entire life.

Share |