Oh my is she limping, does she look lame - yes she is limping, oh no what happened? Let me think we rode yesterday and I guess I did over to it a bit. She went an extra 10 minutes……
Sounds familiar? As soon as we see our horse injured we go straight back to what we did last with them. Which is not a bad thing at least you are trying to work out what went wrong but the sad truth for most injuries is that it may have happened 3 - 7 sessions ago but it was a slight thing that you didn’t notice or know and it has slowly built to a point where something has given.
Of course there is an accident and they happen immediately but I would say 90% of injuries are a build up of something not going right.
So how do we prevent this? There are a number of things we can do and then the rest is in your horse’s hands.
What you can do:
Know your horse - note any change or out of character responses. A horse will respond in pain and in fright so you need to note this for your reference
Know your horse’s limits - it is ok to push the barrier to get the best from your horse but like some humans - some horses are not built to do certain things and even with the breeds look at your breed and see if their body and mind have the traits you need to perform. Do not over stretch your horse!
Warm up and cool down - NO athlete goes out with their muscles cold. It is a warm up get the blood flowing and heart pumping, seperate the muscle fibers allowing them to do their best. The cool down is just as important - don’t soak the horse in cold water for a long time, 5 minutes on and 10 minutes off . Walk slowly, keep a slow movement so lactic acid does not sit in the muscles. If it does it become uncomfortable and can cause permanent damage.
Check the equipment is suitable not just the saddle but everything it touches the horse’s skin therefore it is going to have some influence on the muscles.
Maintenance - hooves, muscles, herbs, feed etc
So if it takes 3- 7 sessions ago for an injury to break it will take more than just one treatment to get them on track. This is not just me selling you my treatments but very rarely will you resolve an issue immediately.
Think about an abscess, it takes a few days to show signs, a few days of treatment and soaking and then a few days to expel and heal. You think to yourself you don’t just go to the physio for one session, oh no it takes time to retrain and repair.