TIP

EQUUS - - Eq Handson -

I’ve wrapped the han­dles of my pitch­forks, brooms, shov­els and wheel­bar­rows with ath­letic tape used for ten­nis rack­ets and hockey sticks. Not only does this pro­vide more cush­ion, but the han­dles are eas­ier to grip in the win­ter months when I’m wear­ing gloves.— Cyn­thia Raizner, Ann Arbor, Michi­gan chem­i­cals that col­lect in older joints can also con­trib­ute to dis­com­fort and a feel­ing of stiff­ness. But as the horse be­gins to ex­er­cise, his tis­sues will stretch out and the built-up fluid will clear, al­low­ing him to move more eas­ily.

If your horse works out of his ini­tial stiff­ness within 15 min­utes of start­ing a ride and it does not re­turn, chances are good it’s noth­ing to worry about. Sim­ply take it slow as he “works out the kinks,” and hold off on pick­ing up the pace un­til he seems ready, lim­ber and ea­ger. In­creas­ing his turnout time is also a good idea; out­door liv­ing with an ac­tive, friendly herd will help keep an ag­ing horse’s joints loose.

If your horse be­gins to take much longer to loosen up with each ride--or if he never seems to over­come the stiff­ness, no mat­ter how mi­nor---it may be time to talk to your vet­eri­nar­ian. Your horse is most likely de­vel­op­ing arthri­tis, which can be ad­dressed

GET A GRIP

with an ar­ray of op­tions, in­clud­ing sup­ple­ments and med­i­ca­tions. Your vet­eri­nar­ian will help you to de­velop a plan ap­pro­pri­ate for your horse.

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