We all know how difficult it is to have a horse on box rest, but it is challenging for the horse too. This period of inactivity can change the biomechanics properties of your horse's joints and musculature. Therefore, once any pain or lameness is managed by your vet and physiotherapist, it is time to start building back up the muscle that has been lost and begin to move those joints by including some pole exercises in your training regime.
These exercises are not just for rehabilitation, they are beneficial for youngsters all the way up to top event horses as they help to build strong core muscles which are then able to support the back and help your horse feel comfortable in carrying a rider.
Pole work exercises are hugely beneficial to you and your horse and are often included in our remedial exercise plans (find out more on our website). They are perfect for increasing muscle mass and improving your horse's strength and performance. It is particularly important that we target the core and back stabiliser muscles as these are the ones that support the rider and help with your horse's balance allowing them to work in a soft outline with plenty of push from behind.
There is a vast amount of research to validate the use of pole exercises in your horse's training program. Many studies have concluded that poles are beneficial in increasing the range of motion of the stifle and hock joints as well as the elbow and carpus (or knee). This also encourages the muscles to work harder and results in a stronger horse. Additionally, pole exercises are great at getting your horse to think about where their feet are and allow them to work on their spatial awareness.
The other great thing about pole exercises if that you can start simple with just pole flat on the floor, and work up to raised poles and poles on a curve at a pace to suit your horse. Contact Goldney EquinePhysio for more advice on knowing when to progress these exercises and what is right for your horse as well as for some pole work inspiration!
We would love to see some of your favourite exercises so tang up on FaceBook or Instagram and GoldneyEquinePhysio!
*Make sure to consult your vet before performing any of the mentioned exercises if your horse has any diagnosed medical conditions such as osteoarthritis*