Post-workout facts every horse owner should know

Eating hay after a workout can increase thirst levels, inspiring a horse to rehydrate by drinking from their bucket.

Eating hay after a workout can increase thirst levels, inspiring a horse to rehydrate by drinking from their bucket.

Eating hay after a workout can increase thirst levels, inspiring a horse to rehydrate by drinking from their bucket.

Horses need rigorous physical activity to remain healthy, making workouts a vital part of any equine wellness plan. Galloping, jumping and sweating are all good, but what you do during the hour after a workout is just as important to maintaining horse health. Here are a few post-workout facts every horse owner should know:

The cool down is crucial

A proper cool down helps promote heart fitness, limber muscles, proper blood circulation and hoof health.

Going from a gallop to standing still can have negative effects on your horse. A harsh transition between rapid, sustained movement and rest can cause muscle tension and delay repair. That’s why it’s crucial to give your horse a long cool down after a hard workout.

Don’t gallop from the fields into your horse’s stall. Instead, build in sufficient time at the end of a ride to allow your horse to cool off and to help their heart rate to return to normal.

If possible, remove your horse’s saddle and let it roam in an enclosed area for a few minutes. It will keep moving on its own, slowing down at a natural rate. During the turnout, horses can stretch their muscles, graze and come to rest in their own time.

A proper cool down helps promote heart fitness, limber muscles, proper blood circulation and hoof health.

Dehydration can set in

Horses are the most at risk for dehydration directly after a workout, so make sure your equine has access to water when they return from a run. Guide your horse to their water supply if it don’t take itself there. If your horse hesitates to drink water after their workout and cool down, you can offer them some hay to eat – this tends to increase thirst, sparking the desire to drink.

Horses not only lose water during workouts – they also lose electrolytes. Nutrients such as sodium and calcium help your horse stay healthy, but can be lost in great volume through sweat. In addition to rehydration through drinking water, you can also use a rapid absorption electrolyte paste such as Finish Line’s Electrocharge. Simply use the syringe to orally deliver a combination of electrolytes to your horse to promote hydration and overall wellness. Using an electrolyte paste in addition to encouraging your horse to drink from their bucket can promote a healthy level of hydration that can help your horse recover from a hard workout.

You need a leg care routine

A horse’s most important assets are its legs, which is why any horse owner should have a leg care routine in place to ensure leg health over time. Just as horses need to use their muscles to remain healthy, they also need time to regain muscle strength and repair any damage that may have taken place.

Enough time between workouts is essential – just as you would tire from multiple workouts per day, so does your horse. In addition to proper rest and care, it’s important for horse owners to watch out for any hoof or leg damage your horse may sustain. A small issue today can turn into a major problem by next week if you ignore a horse’s leg complaints.

Many horse owners utilize liniments and poultices to help their horse’s legs bounce back after a workout. Finish Line’s Kool-Out Poultice was designed to bring relief to minor stiffness in horse’s legs after strenuous activity, as well as to promote muscle cooling. Horse skin is highly sensitive, which is why poultices can be so effective. A horse’s skin can absorb a layer of poultice on a daily basis, making it a central element to any leg care routine.