The risk of injury to the lower leg in horses is well documented to increase with age (1). But why exactly are our veteran horses more prone to injury? This blog article outlines why veteran horses are more prone to leg injuries than their younger counterparts.
The risk of injury to the lower leg increases with age. This is due to an accumulation of minor injuries that often go unnoticed over the years. Furthermore, the tendons and ligaments stiffen with age, so they become less stretchy. This makes injury due to over stretching more likely. Jumping, turning and ground conditions may be more hazardous for the older horse.
You will probably know from personal experience how you become less flexible with age. Returning to fitness is also sometimes a little harder as we get older. Age and exercise create a slow degeneration in the tendons and ligaments making them more susceptible to injury.
It is not uncommon to see horses continuing to compete and have active working lives well into their teens or even their twenties. Provided your veteran horse is healthy, happy and in a suitable level of work for his age and condition, it can be beneficial for him to be in work. Look after your horses’ legs and they can continue to compete well into their teens. Midnight Dazzler ridden by Harry Meade was retired at age of 20 from eventing. Parzival, a dressage horse ridden by Adelinde Cornelissen got team silver and individual bronze at the 2012 Olympics, also at age 20.
Of course, the level and type of work, as well as when you retire your horse, will depend on a range of factors. However, looking after your horse’s legs effectively could help prolong his working life and keep him sounder for longer.
Cryochaps | Ice Boots for Horses
Our ice boots for horses are designed to deliver ice and compression to the lower legs after every exercise session. Using Cryochaps to cool and compress the legs after exercise may help target any inflammation caused by minor injuries. Cryochaps ice boots are quick and easy to use: simply, take them out of the freezer, wrap, strap and leave to work for 10-15 minutes. Our equine ice boots can also be taken to arena hire, fun rides and competitions in our handy cool bag.
(1) Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A 133 (2002) The influence of ageing and exercise on tendon growth and degeneration—hypotheses for the initiation and prevention of strain induced tendinopathy R.K.W Smith