Keeping Weekend Warrior Horses Fit

Horses that are mainly ridden on weekends require special care and training to avoid injury.
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Keeping Weekend Warrior Horses Fit
Just like humans, horses whose most strenuous activities take place on weekends require regular body conditioning in order to avoid injury and long-term damage. | Photo: iStock

Horses that are mainly ridden on weekends require special care and training to avoid injury.

Some humans do it all the time: Pack a week’s worth of activity into a weekend with pickup basketball games, long hikes, or marathon sessions at the gym. And while most people expect to pay for their exercise spurt with achy muscles, stiff joints, and risk of injury, many horse owners don’t realize that their equine partners experience the same risks and discomforts after a long weekend on the trail or in the show ring.

According to Jose M. Garcia-Lopez, VMD, Dipl. ACVS, assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, equine weekend warriors run the same risks for injury as humans, such as bone bruising, inflammation, and tendon and ligament damage. And just like humans, horses whose most strenuous activities take place on weekends require regular body conditioning in order to avoid injury and long-term damage.

“You wouldn’t think of running a marathon without conditioning,” says Garcia-Lopez, who focuses on equine sports medicine, orthopedic surgery, and respiratory issues at Tufts. “Even if you have a ‘backyard horse,’ you’re asking him to be an athlete

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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