EQUUS - - Eq Handson -

With all those shows, trail rides, play days, clin­ics and other events, sum­mer is the busiest sea­son for most eques­tri­ans. This flurry of ac­tiv­ity, how­ever, has the po­ten­tial to leave a horse tired, lame or in­jured. If your next few weeks are fully booked with

rid­ing plans you’ll want to take some pre­cau­tions to make sure your horse stays sound and happy through that pe­riod and for the rest of the sea­son.

Es­tab­lish a sen­si­ble sched­ule. Sit down with a cal­en­dar and fill in each event you’d like to do, al­low­ing for days of rest, as well as lighter rid­ing to keep your horse lim­ber, be­tween ma­jor ac­tiv­i­ties.

Make sure your tack and trailer are in good shape. A sad­dle that doesn’t fit quite right or a trailer with a bone­shak­ing rat­tle is never good for a horse, but on top of a heavy work­load, a mi­nor prob­lem can turn into a ma­jor is­sue.

Keep his hooves in good shape.

Sched­ule a visit from your far­rier be­fore your sched­ule fills up. If you have trim­ming or shoe­ing done be­fore your busy pe­riod, you may avoid some of the po­ten­tial rid­ing-lim­it­ing post­far­ri­ery work sore­ness. Of course, if your horse has a hoof is­sue dur­ing your peak rid­ing time, such as a loose shoe or de­vel­op­ing crack, have it ad­dressed im­me­di­ately.

Con­sider start­ing a sup­ple­ment or up­ping his dose. With a packed sched­ule ahead, now may be the time to start a sup­ple­ment de­signed to help keep your horse lim­ber. If your horse is al­ready on a joint or other sound­ness-re­lated sup­ple­ment, talk to your vet­eri­nar­ian about re­turn­ing to

the higher “load­ing” dose dur­ing your busy time. This ex­tra boost may help keep him com­fort­able.

Be ready to change your plans. Even if you’ve care­fully mapped out your horse’s sched­ule, be ready and will­ing to change it as needed. Even if it’s dis­ap­point­ing to miss an event, it’s the right thing to do if there’s any chance your horse can’t phys­i­cally han­dle it with ease.

Help spread the word about your fa­vorite ac­tiv­ity! Visit www.time­ BE­DEV­ILED BY FLIES: Re­peated stamp­ing on hard ground can cause hoof bruises, cracks or splay­ing.

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