The equine athlete is no stranger to hard work. From the equestrian who has to compete in a showjumping round to the equine competitor that just finished a demanding race, the importance of equine athletic recovery is paramount. The equine body needs time to rest and rejuvenate in order to perform at its best. We’ll outline five ways you can support your equine athlete to improve recovery and athletic performance. In this article we’ll discuss conditioning, warm-up and cool-down routines, the importance of hydration, how to replenish energy through electrolytes and usage of The EQ Press™ dynamic compression system.
Before you set out for your big event, it’s critical to ensure your horse is properly prepared. Training and conditioning directly impact your horse’s performance and recovery.
During the conditioning process, your horse will undergo various physiologic and metabolic changes. These changes help improve cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and the integrity of your horse’s ligaments and tendons. Conditioning also aids with improvements in fuel utilization, oxidative capacity of muscles, and thermoregulation.
Not only do these changes help your horse perform better, but they can also help your horse recover quicker and reduce their risk of injury.
2. Warm-Up and Cool-Down Routines
In addition to pre-conditioning, your warm-up and cool-down routine have a significant impact on your horse’s recovery. A proper warm-up prepares the body for high-intensity work by activating blood and oxygen stores. This improves aerobic metabolism and reduces lactic acid production.
After a workout, a proper cool-down will help your horse’s body recover faster and reduce muscle soreness. Hand walking can help your horse dissipate excess heat and allow their breathing to return to normal. When exercising in hot or humid conditions, you may also need to use cooling techniques such as cold hosing or cooling buckets to bring down your horse’s body temperature.
When your horse is performing high-intensity work, they can lose a significant amount of water through sweat. The amount of water loss can be exacerbated by the duration of high-intensity work and environmental temperatures.
Make sure your horse has free access to water and is properly hydrated before your workout or competition. Additionally, water should be offered and easily accessible after every event.
4. Electrolytes and Re-fueling
In addition to water loss, the equine athlete will lose essential electrolytes and nutrients. Adding salt and electrolytes to their diet can help improve hydration and ensure your horse is adequately fueled.
You can also give electrolytes after a competition or workout to replenish the electrolytes lost. In some cases, your equine athlete may benefit from the use of supplements containing amino acids and antioxidants. These can help replenish energy stores and improve muscle recovery.
5. The EQ Press™
Swelling of the legs and joints is a significant concern after strenuous activity. During high-intensity work, lactic acid and other waste products build up in the body. After the workout, these waste products and additional fluid can settle in your horse’s legs. This can cause discomfort and slow the recovery process.
The EQ Press™ dynamic compression system helps to remove waste product buildup in your horse’s legs by redistributing lymphatic drainage. The compression pushes excess fluid out of the legs, removing harmful metabolites in the process. As a result, the EQ Press™ helps reduce inflammation and can play a significant role in speeding up the recovery process. The quicker your equine athlete can recover, the sooner they can return to peak performance.
Whether they’re pushing through a demanding workout or competing at a high-level event, your horse’s recovery plan is an essential part of their training program. Incorporating these strategies into your horse’s routine, you can significantly improve your horse’s recovery time and help them achieve peak athletic performance.
Curious about adding the EQ Press to your horse’s athletic recovery protocol? Reach out to us at AHI for a demonstration.