Keeping Your Equine Athlete at the Top of His Game

Our sources share nine ways to help your sport horse perform at his best.
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Keeping Your Equine Athlete at the Top of His Game
Fitness, hoof care, saddle fit, and more are key to keeping healthy equine athletes at the top of their game. | Photo: Dirk Caremans/FEI

Nine ways to keep your sport horse performing his best

You know you’ve made it to the big time when your toiletry bag stays packed, your show clothes are either filthy or still at the dry cleaner, and your calendar looks like a chessboard, with every weekend blocked off for shows. If you’re here, you’ve worked hard. Now it’s all about maintaining and improving your skills—and your horse’s.

It’s your job to stay on top of your own game as a rider, but when it comes to your performance horse’s health, the veterinarian can be your greatest asset. We talked to several practitioners who maintain the health of high-performance sport horses. Here are their top nine tips for the healthiest show season yet.

Overall Fitness: Cross-training is key.

First things first. The very best strategy for optimizing your horse’s health is an appropriate fitness routine. Start there, and the rest will follow. Or as Christy Cullen, DVM, of Massachusetts Equine Clinic, in Uxbridge, says, “There’s nothing you can buy in a bottle that replaces good fitness. It’s absolutely key to maintaining a sound, healthy horse

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Written by:

Lindsay J. Warner is a freelance writer based in Burlington, Vt. She grew up riding hunters, worked as a wrangler in Montana, and spent two years as a professional polo groom. She rides between deadlines when she can find a horse.

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