1. Balanced feet. Ask your vet and farrier to work together to help you create the best plan for your horse and then stay on schedule.
2. Warm-up. A 15 minute walk prior to any other warm up has been shown to significantly decrease lower leg injuries.
3. Cross train on other surfaces. Walking on different surfaces and changing terrain increases awareness of the feet and strengthens stabilizing muscles and fascia. And be aware that if your horse is used to working on one footing, for example grass, it may take them a while to build up condition to work on another footing, such as sand.
4. Good nutrition. Nutrition is the foundation of healthy tissue in the body. Keep your horse at a healthy weight – extra pounds put extra stress on joints, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues.
5. Condition your horse. Tired muscles increase the risk of injuries. Create an exercise plan that carefully ramps up and then supports your horse’s workload.
6. Consider protection. Boots and leg wraps help prevent contact injuries but over heating increases the risk of heat-related soft-tissue injuries. Ask your vet what might be best for your horse.
7. 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. Massage. Muscles act on or around the joints to create movement and resist forces. Tendons are a fibrous extension of the muscle. Tight, tense or fatigued muscles will increase the risk of sore tendons, soft tissue injuries, joint mis-alignment, and joint degeneration. Massage can improve how the muscles function and reduce the risk of lower leg injury.