The closer we get to show season, the harder Ax and I have been working to get ready. As expected, with longer, tougher rides comes muscle soreness, so Ax gets a bit of pampering to keep him comfortable. (Especially since he spends most of the time putting up with my inability to ride.) These four techniques seem to be the magical formula to keeping Ax happy leading up to show season and throughout the summer, so we can keep working for those ribbons.
I’m a firm believer that a horse can’t work to their fullest potential if there is something off with their body, especially since we ask them to do some crazy things like jump over colored sticks and flowers. If Ax starts feeling a little funky, I can bet my money on the fact that a few of his lumbar vertebrae and his hips are out of alignment. Routine chiropractic work really helps to keep Ax’s body in line so he can work comfortably and easily, and I know that if there is any protesting, it isn’t due to bodily pain. Plus, the sound of all his bones popping back into place is wonderful.
Last season, I scheduled a massage for Ax in the middle of an almost week-long show and his muscle recovery was much faster for the remainder of the show. While he is probably in desperate need of one right now, I’ve had Ax massaged five or six times since a friend of mine became a certified equine massage therapist (the greatest thing ever) and he definitely comes out looser and more supple afterwards. I know that I could use a massage after some rides, so
he better I am sure he appreciates it.
I am in love with poultice. Ax takes most of my ammy mistakes in stride, including when I bury him to a fence mid-course, so I’ll do anything I can to prevent leg swellings or heat after a tough ride. Since he has had a few reactions to liniments lately, I’ve stuck to a cooling poultice after harder lessons and, at the very least, it makes me feel like a better horse mom.
Back On Track Mesh Sheet
This is my go-to for recovery and my favorite thing for muscle injury prevention, especially during the warm show season. A little marinating in the Mesh Sheet before a ride warms Ax’s muscles up so he is loose and supple from the second I mount, so I usually groom him with this on, making sure it stays on his back and haunches. After a long ride, I’ll toss this on for him to sleep in to prevent his muscles from stiffening. Back On Track’s technology takes the cake for me, and I can admit to wrapping up in this myself when I’m feeling sore.