3 ways to protect your horse's legs

Jumping, schooling and playing with his mates in the field can all put pressure on your horse’s legs.

Here, Laura Quiney, a vet and junior clinician at the Centre for Equine Studies at the Animal Health Trust, reveals six ways to keep your horse’s legs in peak condition  

 

1. Getting to know your horse’s legs is very important, so get familiar by feeling them every day.

Checking them once a day, as well as after strenuous exercise, will help you to quickly identify any areas of heat, swelling or pain.

The quicker you identify and respond to injury or heat, the bigger the difference it can make to your horse’s recovery.

2. Try to vary your horse’s exercise programme as much as possible.

Training in several disciplines will improve his core strength and limb stability, it will also stop him getting bored.

Remember to listen to your horse and don’t over-train him. Over-doing it in one discipline or repetitive training in one session can risk injury.

3. Poor quality surfaces (or surfaces that are different to what your horse usually works on) put pressure on your horse’s legs and over-training can risk injury, which means training him on different surfaces, rather than just one (even if it’s a good quality surface) is important.

For example, a horse that’s only ever trained in an arena may be at increased risk of injury if he competes on grass because he won’t be used to it.

Groom your horse in 4 steps

Spring clean your horse with a simple four-step grooming routine.

Using a rubber curry comb give your horse a massage

Using a rubber curry comb give your horse a massage

1 Give a mini massage

Start with your rubber curry comb and use circular motions on your horse’s coat. This effectively gives your horse a mini massage, helping to tone up his muscles and increase blood flow – and he’ll love it! As you use the rubber curry comb to massage all over his body, you’ll start to remove the dead and loose hair, which is the first step towards a nice shine.

2 Get to work on grease

hot clothing can help to remove dirt and grime

hot clothing can help to remove dirt and grime

After the mini massage, grab your ‘flicky’ brush. These are slightly softer than the average dandy brush and are great for getting the grease out of your horse’s coat. Brush in the direction of the hair growth, all over his body, and flick your wrist out at the end of each stroke to flick dirt away from his coat.

3 Brush away dirt and hair

Next, using a body brush, gently brush your horse’s coat in the direction of growth over his entire body. Always be careful not to brush too hard around any sensitive areas, such as his eyes. A body brush is great for removing all the dirt and loose hair from the top of your horse’s coat, and creates the perfect starting point for hot clothing.

4 Try hot clothing

Hot clothing helps to lift any of the dirt or grime that brushing alone has missed. For this use an old towel soaked in water that’s as hot as you can touch with your own hand. For added shine when the coat dries, try adding a dash of baby oil to your bucket of hot water. Rub the towel all over your horse’s body to lift any lingering grease or dirt and leave the coat spotless.


PLUS! Get hooves sparkling

Before you ride, scrub your horse’s hooves clean with an old fashioned dandy brush and use a clear varnish that hardens to keep them shiny. Try Absorbine SuperShine Hoof Polish & Sealer. As the varnish hardens it will stop dirt or arena surface sticking to the hooves – practical and pretty before you ride, scrub your horse’s hooves clean with an old fashioned dandy brush and use a clear varnish that hardens to keep.