During the competition season horses are generally worked harder, stalled more frequently, and are transported more often. This combination can generate a greater amount of stress on the horse’s muscles and connective tissue. Jack Grogan, CN, chief science officer at Uckele Health & Nutrition, relays that it is vitally important that the strong, yet delicate leg muscles and connective tissue be protected and cared for day in and day out, especially during show season.
"As a result of the increased work load, it is very common for muscles, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue to be overworked or strained, not necessarily to the point of injury, but as a normal consequence of the extra training and performance," he explains.
Grogan emphasizes that the muscles and connective tissues of the legs require rest and care to recuperate as completely as possible to perform at the highest level of the horse’s physical potential: "One of the first lines of defense to protect the muscles, tendons, and ligaments from the stress of training and performing is a high quality poultice. This functions as a drawing substance, which soothes and comforts the tissues. A good poultice reduces tissue heat and swelling caused by the connective tissue stress that occurs from the substantially greater work load and increased demands of high intensity training and performance."
Grogan recommends a clay-based formula to provide a temporary cooling benefit for inflamed tissues and natural astringent properties, which can support a faster recuperation. He points out that when it comes to injury, a good rule of thumb is cold for fresh traum