10 Tips to Improve Muscle Care & Recovery

  1. Easy access to fresh water: Water flushes toxins out of the body, transports nutrients into the cells, lubricates tissues and helps regulate body temperature and pH balance. Water also helps with muscle soreness and tension. Studies show horses prefer to drink out of blue buckets. Make sure they have access to warm water in winter and electrolytes in summer.
  2. Warm-up: A 15 minute walk prior to any other warm up has been shown to improve muscle function and to significantly decrease leg injuries.
  3. Cool down: A 15 minute walk to cool down followed by ROM movements can help reduce DOMS and stiffness. I like to end with low carrot stretches (outside and between the ankles). Horses will look forward to them.
  4. Good nutrition: Nutrition is the foundation of healthy tissue in the body. Be sure to work with your veterinarian to formulate a diet that meets your horse’s needs to keep them feeling and performing their best. Include conversations about the hay you feed, amino acids, electrolytes and supplements like Vitamin E.
  5. Condition your horse: Create an exercise plan that carefully ramps up and then supports your horse’s workload.
  6. Quality rest: Quality rest gives your horse’s time to recover from exercise. Horses who exercise intensely need even more rest than the average horse. Sleep deprivation may impair muscle recovery.
  7. Plenty of turn out: Living out promotes circulation, hoof health, and overall fitness. If your horse is stalled, provide as much safe turnout as you can.
  8. Light exercise: Light exercise on rest days can help stimulate circulation to bring nutrients to repair muscles and remove metabolic waste products.
  9. Warmth: Cold literally hardens tissues. Warming the horse with a warm barn, blankets, heating pads, warming lights, massage and exercise all help keep muscles healthy and supple.
  10. Massage: Regular sessions will improve your horse’s performance, trainability, soundness and longevity. Massage improves exercise recovery, muscle strength and function, enhances relaxation, reduces pain and improves overall performance.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: