Common Conditions, Challenges and Pain Recognition - Keeping a horse comfortable into their senior years requires an attentive caretaker backed by a knowledgeable team. It is important to seek the input from your veterinarian and farrier to help maintain the health of an elderly equine and to spot conditions that will need special treatment sooner rather than later. Recognizing changes and not just dismissing them as “old age setting in” is a large part of the responsibility assumed when caring for the senior horse.
The idea of scheduling a massage for your horse may seem luxurious. Yet those who have experienced it will agree that massage can be a valuable tool in managing an animal’s health and well-being, along with other therapies such as chiropractic or acupressure. Senior horses present an opportunity to combine different approaches to health because each horse will have a very specific set of needs depending on their age and stage of life.
Simple Exercises and Routines to Reprogram Dysfunctional Movement - As tempting as it is to use our riding skills and training expertise when teaching a horse to carry his body differently or when rehabbing post-layoff, this actually slows the process down. Somehow, many of us equestrians missed this crucial fact during our educations. The horse’s big, fleshy gymnastic muscles that engage as we school him are not the ones where habitual patterns, sometimes called “muscle memories,” are stored. Nor are they the ones responsible for joint and posture stability. In fact, they carry a low supply of nerves and have, therefore, a weak relationship with the horse’s neurosensory system. Working these muscles is not the fastest way to instate new patterns and habits.
“The stable environment invariably presents challenges of dust, mould and proper ventilation,” says Susan Raymond, instructor of Equine Guelph’s Management of the Equine Environment online course. “Most horses are well equipped for living outdoors and thrive, provided certain provisions are met.” Dr. Raymond completed her PhD in investigating the effects of exposure of horses to mycotoxins. She has also been involved in air quality research, which provided practical recommendations to the horse industry on stable design and management.
With Karen Pavicic - Impulsion is best defined as the channelling and controlled release of the energy in the horse's body which is created by the engagement of the hind legs. A horse that moves with impulsion gives the impression of contained power, with steps that can be described as lively and expressive, while maintaining total relaxation and softness through the body for overall elasticity.