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.