Complementary Therapies to Help Maintain Performance Horses

Read about how veterinarians incorporate therapies such as acupuncture and PEMF to help your horse feel his best in this article from The Horse’s Spring 2024 issue.
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Equine Acupuncture
Acupuncture is becoming more widely recognized as a valid treatment in horses because research exists that supports its use. | Alexandra Beckstett/The Horse

Professional human athletes experience strain from frequent, rigorous training and performance. They use various complementary therapies to accelerate their bodies’ natural healing process and ease the discomfort they experience so it doesn’t interrupt their performance. Equine athletes might also benefit from a variety of integrative therapies to help them feel and perform their best.

A significant advantage to using complementary therapies is that they are drug-free and most are allowed during competitions. Electroacupuncture, shock wave therapy, Class IV laser therapy, and cryotherapy are an exception because they are not permitted during FEI-sanctioned events. (Always check the rules governing your competition).

While many complementary therapies can be useful and incorporated into a horse’s wellness program, Tracy Turner, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, ACVSMR, founder of Turner Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery, in Stillwater, Minnesota, says he considers the cost/benefit ratio when deciding which to recommend to a client

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We at The Horse work to provide you with the latest and most reliable news and information on equine health, care, management, and welfare through our magazine and TheHorse.com. Our explanatory journalism provides an understandable resource on important and sometimes complex health issues. Your subscription will help The Horse continue to offer this vital resource to horse owners of all breeds, disciplines, and experience levels.

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Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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