Sensible Recovery Strategies for Equine Athletes

The steps you take to care for your horse both immediately after a competition and once you’re back home are important to his athletic longevity. Here’s what you need to know.

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recovery strategies for horses
A slow cool-down after your horse exerts himself hastens cardiovascular recovery time and helps minimize muscle soreness the following days. | Photo: iStock

Don’t leave your horse hanging after a long ride or horse show

You’ve done your homework training and conditioning your horse. Months of progressively steady improvements in cardiovascular fitness have transformed him into a strapping specimen. He’s performing at his peak, the competitive season is now underway, and you have high hopes for his ­performance.

You’ve just exited the arena after an exceptional ride. Now what—do you let him eat and drink to his heart’s content? Does he need to be rinsed off? Do you throw him on the trailer and get him home to rest as soon as possible?

Read on to find out how you should care for your athlete in the minutes to days following a competition to keep him in good form

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Written by:

Nancy S. Loving, DVM, owns Loving Equine Clinic in Boulder, Colorado, and has a special interest in managing the care of sport horses. Her book, All Horse Systems Go, is a comprehensive veterinary care and conditioning resource in full color that covers all facets of horse care. She has also authored the books Go the Distance as a resource for endurance horse owners, Conformation and Performance, and First Aid for Horse and Rider in addition to many veterinary articles for both horse owner and professional audiences.

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