Nursing and bringing your equine partner back to work after a lengthy layoff is definitely frustrating and tedious, and this will also be a time fraught with pitfalls. The following lines are full of recovery and rehabilitation advice, tips and know-how, but they also cover the usual myths about the rehabilitation process, and will help you avoid potential issues while keeping your spirits high as you get started with the task.

If you are a horse owner going through injury recovery with your horse, make sure you leave aside the guesswork and stress during this tough and stressful time; go ahead and contact a qualified expert or a properly trained professional who meets the equine rehabilitation therapist education requirements. You are in a difficult situation and you need the best advice possible from a qualified therapist. Your horse is injured, and before you can even contact a specialist, every friend you have who has touched your horse is sending you his advice. It’s normal that you’re confused; you’re not the only one. With all those opinions and thoughts you’re hearing from different directions, it is really hard to think straight and know what to do. Below we’re going to go through the most common horse recovery myths when it comes to rehabbing recommendations.


True or false?

Statement: it is definitely better to turn your equine partner out in the pasture when he is recovering from the injury. Otherwise, he might feel restless locked up in the stall.

False: one of the key features of a recovery program is controlled exercise. This often means confinement to a small paddock and a stall, always combining this with frequent hand walking or walking under saddle. Perhaps you’re thinking that your horse doesn’t really run around the pasture anyway, but really all it takes is just one simple bad step to re-injure. A re-injury not only means that you will find yourself back where you were at the very beginning, but it will also jeopardise your equine partner’s long-term prognosis for a complete recovery.


Statement: the best ways to keep a horse quiet in the stall can be to sedate him if he starts moving too much or acting crazy.

True: controlled movement, as discussed above, is key for a successful recovery. This means we need to maintain control at all times. Your horse can get a little restless when he is first confined, particularly if he is used to competing and was injured during a race. On the bright side, it’s usually hardest in the first few weeks. Even the most action-oriented horse will eventually become resigned to his new lifestyle of confinement over time.


Mental recovery

Once your horse is well on the road to a full recovery you need to evaluate and re-train the physically capable horse through different training methods. No loud voices should be used. And of course no ropes and no whips. Simply gentle words and motions.


Overview of your horse’s condition

The very first step needs to be to have a qualified expert or veterinarian conduct a full physical exam of the horse to check for potential concerns and overall health.

This can reveal if there are serious underlying diseases that might require more advanced treatment.


Professional help

Consider contacting a specialist or an equine rehabilitation centre. And yes, this has a cost. A reliable, high-end rehabilitation facility will cost a few thousand per month, depending on the horse’s needs. However, such rehabilitation centres offer all kinds of services and amenities, including underwater treadmills, swimming pools, as well as other supportive treatment alternatives, like acupuncture or salt-water therapy, that could be the solution that your horse needs to heal. And most important, such rehabilitation centres are staffed with qualified specialists that are familiarised with such situations and used to working with injured horses. Professionals know what to monitor as your horse progresses through the recovery process.

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