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Keep Your Show Horse Sound

Learn how your good intentions for your show horse could be risking soft-tissue injuries.

The American Quarter Horse Journal
June 9, 2014

An owner exercises her horse early in the morning.

Controlled exercise is key when working to prevent soft-tissue injuries in show horses. (Credit: Journal)

Taking care of your horse’s legs isn’t just wrapping. Sure, that’s not a bad idea, but preventing soft-tissue injuries means much more than that. Controlled exercise is key, says Dr. Jim Hassinger.

Dr. Hassinger owns and operates Hassinger Equine at Aberdeen, North Carolina, where he and his team specialize in the needs of the equine athlete. Dr. Hassinger also has a mobile practice at nearly every major American Quarter Horse show in the country. He says the cause of soft-tissue injuries in the all-around show horse usually fall into one of two categories: longeing and overworking.

In the June issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal, Dr. Hassinger offers his advice, and AQHA Professional Horsewoman Nancy Sue Ryan and trainer Jay Starnes also weigh in with their advice for preventing soft-tissue injuries.

In “Walk Before You Run,” Dr. Hassinger, Nancy Sue and Jay emphasize safe, controlled exercise:

  • How to properly warm up and cool down horses
  • The dangers posed by repetitive longeing
  • Alternatives to longeing
  • How to avoid overworking a horse
  • The use of protective boots or polo wraps while riding
  • Whether or not you should be using standing wraps to provide support when the horse is not exercising

When soft-tissue injuries do occur, Dr. Hassinger stresses that it is important to get a very thorough exam with ultrasound to properly diagnose and treat the injury.

“Whether it be getting ready to show or rehabbing from an injury, controlled exercise is the key to success,” Dr. Hassinger says.

Head to www.aqha.com/journal to access the digital edition as a Journal current subscriber, download the new Journal app or become a subscriber today. 

If print is more of your style, order a single print copy from 800-291-7323 so you don’t miss out on the great advice offered in “Walk Before You Run” in the June Journal