Helping your horse heal after an injury
When your horse gets injured, it’s best to call your veterinarian first before you try to help your mare, stallion or gelding. With your veterinarian’s supervision, you can do some of the rehabilitation, save money and learn about your horses’ recovery process.
If it’s a tendon, muscle or ligament pull or strain your horse will probably be on stall rest. The leg will need to be hosed down with cold water several times a day and then bandaged usually with some anti-inflammatory lotion or liniment. The rule of thumb for the first 24-48 hours is to use ICE and RICE only. After 48 hours alternate with heat/cold. Tendons and ligaments have very little blood flow to them and which is one reason they take so long to heal. Cold, heat and massage can greatly improve the circulation.
Additional products and tools for injuries:
Back on Track bandages and sheets This product has a ceramic weave in the material that reflects body heat. Infrared heat can improve circulation in ligaments and tendons. Can be used 4-8 hours a day.
GameReady Equine Provides a dry cold along with a compression system. Though expensive to purchase, this instrument is easy to operate and can be rented. Recommended usage is 45 minutes at least twice daily. It will reduce inflammation, swelling and increase circulation.
Sore No More liniment This is an Arnica based herbal liniment that will not burn. It can be used under wraps and used every day.
Soft Ride boots These boots are filled with a gel so the horse can find the most comfortable place for his bodyweight. They can make an injured horse much more comfortable. Recommended usage, every day.
Surpass This is an anti-inflammatory lotion that is veterinarian prescribed. It can not be used at the same time as Back on Track or Sore No More liniment.
Thinline pads These are shock absorbing pads that a farrier can install under a regular pad. They can be removed once the injury has healed when the farrier trims your horse’s hooves, or left in.
Once the swelling is reduced and the horse is given the go ahead for exercise by a veterinarian, remember to start slow. Start with a week of hand walking twice a day for 20 minutes and gradually increase the hand walking for a month. Then begin long trotting if the veterinarian agrees. Long trotting strengthens the tendons and ligaments better than galloping.