Pre­vent spring train­ing in­juries

If your horse has been idle over the win­ter, take some time to tone him up to avoid in­juries from stress­ing unfit mus­cles.

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Warmer weather is not far away, and it will feel good to shake off the win­ter dol­drums and get back into the swing of things at the barn. Tempt­ing as it may be to toss a sad­dle on your horse and head for the hills on the first balmy day of the sea­son, it’s im­por­tant to con­sider your horse’s readi­ness for the chal­lenge. If you haven’t rid­den much over the win­ter, he may have lost some con­di­tion­ing dur­ing his time off, and you may need to spend a few weeks bring­ing him back to his pre­vi­ous level of fit­ness.

Push­ing a horse into ex­er­tion he’s not yet ready to han­dle is a recipe for a num­ber of health is­sues, in­clud­ing mus­cle strains as well as ten­don and lig­a­ment in­juries. How­ever, a slow, care­ful ap­proach---that ac­com­mo­dates his needs while ad­just­ing for weather con­di­tions---will help to get him back into shape and ready for sum­mer ac­tiv­i­ties. 1. As­sess your horse’s cur­rent level of fit­ness. Heavy win­ter coats or blan­kets can ob­scure changes in a horse’s body. Run your hands over your horse to eval­u­ate his gen­eral

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