Arthritis is common in horses, especially in the ageing horses. It is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and inflammation. Over time, the inflammation damages the cartilage within a joint beyond repair, leading to chronic pain.
Keeping older horses moving with arthritis is one of the best ways to manage them. Slow, regular exercise supports the joints in a healthy way.
Here are ways to support the healthy joints:
- It boosts lubrication of the joints by circulating synovial fluid.
- It keeps the muscles, tendons and ligaments that stabilise a strong joint. The less an older arthritic horse stands around, the healthier his joints will be.
Hand walking a couple of days is better than nothing. Exercise an older horse doesn’t have to be under saddle. Don’t worry if your horse looks a bit stiff to start with. If you let him move at his own speed, he will ‘warm-up’ and move comfortably after just a few minutes. Having consistency is a key management. When your horse stays in a confined space standing or in a stable, it contributes to joint degeneration.
Extracted from HQ Magazine, Arthritis Management. December Issue, 2021.
Extracted from Horse Health Programme. Arthritis. https://www.horsehealthprogramme.co.uk/arthritis/. December 2021.