While getting your horse fit, it’s vital to keep an eye on his overall health and soundness at every stage so you can nip any issues in the bud.
Make sure you:
- Check your horse’s shoes daily for any risen clenches, lost or twisted shoes, and abnormal wear.
- Examine your horse’s legs every day so that you build an awareness of what is normal for him and what is not.
- Check for any rubs/sores round the mouth, bridle, saddle, girth and leg areas. These can indicate muscle gain/loss or discomfort.
- Consistently check the fit of your saddle. Muscle tone and development can lead to it starting to pinch or drop down onto the withers. Ask your saddle fitter for advice.
- Inconsistency in the ground – soft to hard, hard to soft – can cause strain on ligaments and tendons. ‘Gluey’ ground conditions can also be troublesome. Take care to ride at an appropriate speed for the ground conditions which you’re riding.
- Monitor your horse’s recovery rate after work and whether he’s feeling suitably energised for the work required of him.
- If you’ve been unable to exercise/ride your horse for a little while, try to avoid over working him. It’s better to exercise him for two short periods of 20 minutes each rather than taking him for a fast, two-hour hack.
Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products, available now.