Winter Grooming….. The Benefits for You and your Horse

Winter Grooming….. The Benefits for You and your Horse

So it’s the time of year that our horses often come in wet and muddy! Time is precious so how many of us do the quick flick where the tack goes before we ride? I am definitely guilty of it!

 

So it got me thinking about why grooming is so important, especially in the winter!

 

Naturally in the wild, horses groom each other. Domesticated horses that don’t have that option specifically need more attention in that sense. Horses are social animals and love the contact.

The ground is slippy, horses become hungry and this can cause inter-herd arguments in the field, as well as horse becoming distressed at bringing in times. Slips and kicks can cause low grade pain or discomfort in the horse that often goes undetected by owners when workload decreases during the winter months

 

We often find we swap one rug for the other in the dark without fully considering the well being of the whole horse!

Varying weight patterns during the winter months can also be responsible for poor saddle fit, some horses gain with being stabled, whilst others will lose through stress or the colder climate.

So I thought I would have a think about why it is beneficial to groom our horses.

Daily health check

  • Looking for any new lumps, bumps, kicks or swelling
  • Checking for physical signs of discomfort (breathing, abdominal pain, heave line)
  • Looking for any signs of rubbing caused from rugging
  • Increase blood flow to the skin surface and muscles

 

Improving blood flow to the tissues will help keep muscles functioning effectively.

  • Often horses can lose their topline and muscle bulk during winter when stabled for long periods, or with reduced work.

 

Brushing the horse can highlight any areas of spasm or soreness

  • You may find a sensitive area or the horse may dip away when brushing their back.
  • This could be the result of a low grade lameness, where the horse is compensating by bracing through their back.
  • There could be pain around the withers or where the back of the saddle fits caused by the saddle.
  • Or could even be the result of a slip or fall in the field, where the horse is sore through their back or hindquarters.

 

Improves the bond with your horse

 

Ensures that they are used to ‘hands on’ from yourself, your vet or your therapist.

 

Alternative to ridden work – It’s a great time to incorporate some ground exercises, dynamic mobilisation exercises or range of movement exercises.

  • Research has proven that simple dynamic mobilisation exercises (carrot stretches) work to stabilise the intervertebral joints by activating specific muscles.
  • Joint stabilisation is important for both improving athletic performance and preventing back injury.
  • Research has shown that performing regular dynamic mobilisation exercises over a period of 3 months stimulated enlargement of the muscles that stimulate the horse’s back.
  • Dynamic mobilisations can be performed on a cold horse, whereas passive range of movement exercises should only be carried out after exercise.

 

If they are rugged through the winter dead skin and hair can build up which can cause discomfort and skin problems, a bit of time unrugged can allow the skin to breathe.

 

So next time you go get to your horses stable in the pouring rain,

spend some quality time with them one to one.

Why not try to make a once or twice weekly full groom part of your winter routine?

 

A Wonderful Success Story!

A Wonderful Success Story!

This is Misty, she has been one of many successful rehab stories this year at Wirral Vet Physio!
When I first assessed Misty she was significantly lame behind, and generally very sore, she had already had cortisone injections into her hocks with short lived results!
After speaking to the vet involved it was decided that rather inject again Physio was worth a go!
Misty’s 15 year old owner Jess was 100% dedicated to the mare and followed her rehab programme to the letter….not that exciting for Jess, but every physio session Misty had made improvements and was able to be progressed with her exercises!
We released muscular compensatory patterns that she had adapted before building her up again to ensure normal movement patterns were achievable!
With manual therapy, electrotherapy, polework and graded ridden work I am pleased to say Misty is doing Great!
Misty is very lucky that Jess has taken the time to rehab her, and the results are now obvious, she is sound!!
They are now back schooling and hacking and looking forward to an eventful 2017!!!
#teamwork #equinephysio #wirralvetphysio #rehab #acpat

Pin It on Pinterest