Rehabilitating Sport Horses

Here’s how to get your performance horse back to the show ring safely and successfully after layup.
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Rehabilitating Sport Horses
Regardless of the reason for a horse’s layoff, getting him in shape requires patience and proper rehab. | Photo: Alexandra Beckstett/The Horse

How to get your performance horse back to the show ring safely and successfully after layup

Your top competition horse has spent the past two months cooped up and recovering from a soft-tissue injury, and your veterinarian just gave you the all-clear to start bringing him back into work. As exciting as it is to have your partner back, don’t go setting jumps and filling out show entries just yet. After all, you wouldn’t hop off the couch after nursing a broken foot and attempt an 8-minute mile, would you?

Regardless of the reason for a horse’s layoff, getting him in shape requires patience and proper rehab. Here our sources have shared some practical exercises and advice for bringing equine athletes back safely from stall rest to competition form.

Baby Steps

Let’s start with the basics: You probably already realize that you’re going to need to ease your horse back into regular work post-layoff, but why is this, really? After all, he appears perfectly sound, your veterinarian has cleared him for duty, and you’ve seen his displays of athleticism during his stall time

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Written by:

Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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