Are you and your equine friends adjusting to a new routine in lockdown? We speak to NAF Equine’s Kate Hore RNutr (Animal), about joint support in this unprecedented time.
Lockdown throws us horse owners some unique challenges. Should we still be riding our horses, and if we’re not how can we keep them fit and ensure that the Spring grass doesn’t pile on the pounds?
Of course, we should all follow Government advice, and currently (4th April) there is no active restriction on horse-riding. Therefore, we may choose to ride as our daily exercise, while visiting our horses to care for them. However many riders feel the inherent risk of our sport is not appropriate right now, and are choosing ground exercise instead. Whether riding or not, our opportunities have been restricted, and for those horses who need regular exercise, particularly for fitness and health reasons, we’re seeing a rise in the amount of lungeing undertaken. Online tutorials advise how lungeing is a great way to provide some concentrated, relatively safe exercise, and while this is true do consider the effect on your horse.
Anyone who has watched a vet assessing soundness or doing a pre-purchase exam, will know that lameness shows more acutely on a circle, and that is because the pressures are exaggerated when turning tightly. For a horse on a circle the forces are concentrated on a much smaller area of the joint surface, increasing the pressures on the cartilage in that area. Research is limited but needed, and research scientists at Michigan State University are due to start study into the effect of lungeing on joint health shortly*.
However, we are not simply concerned with lungeing at this time. The warm, dry weather we have all enjoyed across the UK at the start of lockdown, gives us the added pressure of hard ground. Following a very wet winter, much of our off road hacking, be it around fields, or farm tracks at the livery yard, are not just hard, but hard and rutted. If you’re avoiding the risks of road hacking by sticking to the fields, do be mindful of conditions under-hoof.
Therefore whether riding or sticking to non-ridden work, we need to be mindful of our horse’s joints at this time. We advise feeding the premium joint support nutraceuticals, NAF Five Star Superflex or Superflex Senior, to provide unique, high specification joint support through a complex of glucosamine sulphate, MSM, chondroitin sulphate, HA, antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids working in synergy for all round joint health.
The choice between Superflex and Superflex Senior will be down to your horse, their age, joint healthy history and current workload. We here at NAF are here to support you through the lockdown. If you would like to discuss which product would suit your horse best please do contact our Nutritional Advisors on Freephone 0800 373106, or directly through Social Media. We will be happy to chat to you about maximising joint health for your horse, or any other concerns you may have at this time.
* Brian D Nielson. Longeing’s Potential Effects on Equine Joints. The Horse. Apr 1, 2020.