Equine Hydrotherapy - Water Therapy Helps Horses Heal Faster
By: Christy Christoffersen - August 27th, 2007
Every horse will experience an injury at one time or other in his life. While the healing process for these injuries is usually slow and tedious, hydrotherapy can help healing in a safe and low-impact environment.
The hydro-horse treadmill system is a combination of a treadmill, whirlpool and a swimming pool. It is specially designed for therapeutic healing, strengthening, conditioning and training of all types of horses. Unlike traditional swimming pool therapy, the horse can exercise in a controlled environment, using its normal gait and the same muscles as in use while exercising in training without undue stress or trauma. And a lot of horses really seem to enjoy the water!
Nedpoint Quarter Horses, a reining horse and horse import/export service facility in Oklahoma, decided to look into more rehabilitation possibilities for their own horses.
Nedpoint Quarter Horses have introduced an Equine Hydro Rehabilitation Center - a long word for an underwater treadmill for horses to their already existing quarantine, transport, training and breeding activities. The water treadmill may be the most perfect type of conditioning for horses. It maintains and enhances conditioning in a relatively stress fee environment. The water treadmill is enclosed in a 70X30 barn attached to a 120X40 barn with 20 12X12 stalls, solarium, horse walker and large turnout paddocks.
As every trainer and owner knows, you can have the best horse, but keeping them sound and healthy through their training and performance careers isn't always easy. Injuries disrupt the training program and are often common when we ask a great deal of our horses, no matter what sport you do with them. When an injury occurs it is almost impossible to avoid losing valuable conditioning during recovery, resulting in secondary injuries or re-injury to the original site once training is resumed. As a result, we can lose months of training and preparation that the horse cannot make up. This can be devastating for Futurity or year-end awards hopefuls.
The water treadmill may be the most perfect type of conditioning for horses. It maintains and enhances conditioning in a relatively stress free environment. With 20 Jacuzzi jets, five on each leg, and a controlled water temperature, the buoyancy of the water supports the horse's body while allowing enough concussion to build bone density and develop tensile strength in tendons, ligaments and muscles. In addition, horses maintain a healthy cardivascular system and are mentally recharged through the new activity.
Race horses have been known to have faster run times after undergoing hydrotherapy and this is with less impact and injury on young joints and developing knees. However, all types of horses from reining horses to dressage horses have had a great benefit from this excellent therapeutic conditioning.
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