Hill work increases strain on the limbs, especially on the hind limb.
As your horse’s fitness work increases hill work is important for cardiovascular and strength fitness.
When comparing maximum forces on the front and hind limbs, it is the hind limbs that take on more forces on inclines, as the speed increases.
In the graph to the left, hind limbs are represented by dotted lines, front limbs by solid lines. Peak Vertical force is the force going through the limbs as speed increases. Surprisingly less force is seen through the front limb on an incline as speed increases compared to working on the flat. However, the hind limb experiences more forces on an incline as speed increases.
More force creates more stretch in the tendons and ligaments, creating small microtears.
Icing and compression with Cryochaps could be an important part of the cool down after exercise. Treat all four legs with Cryochaps, which targets the heat and inflammation caused by microtears during exercise.
(1)The Journal of Experimental Biology 207, 3507-3514 2004 Ground reaction forces in horses trotting up an incline and on the level over a range of speed Darren Dutto
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Check out how you can use hill work to improve your horse’s fitness here.