Preparation for the Active Season Ahead: Part 2
By now, you have probably started riding, mucking, sweeping, grooming, cleaning tack and harness, giving baths and storing your horse blankets while getting out the fans. In other words, your lower back is sore and neck tight.
Take care of yourself by taking Arnica tablets and rubbing Arnica gel on your sore spots and bruises. It's the best thing going that works quickly, naturally and won't cause stomach distress. Make some time to take an Epsom Salts (with lavender) hot bath after you have completed stretching.
Your gym ball, styrofoam roller and massage devices will greatly improve your comfort and range of motion.
Your horse may be experiencing some of the same symptoms getting going.
Saddle fit is going to be a consideration since your horse will have a different shape than he or she did when you slowed down last Fall. Even if you kept riding through the winter months your horse will change through diet, amount and type of exercise and growth patterns. Make sure you level your saddle with proper padding and shims. When you set a carpenter's level on the center of the seat of your saddle the bubble should read level.
After a week or two recheck your saddle. You will need to readjust your pads and shims, possibly taking away thickness in one area and adding padding to another area as your horse changes. Once you are in a regular rhythm you should be able to use a thin saddle pad to absorb sweat and perhaps one other pad for extra comfort.
Go through your checklist of must dos for your horse's health:
- Manage feet every 5-6 weeks during warm weather months
- Float teeth by professional equine dentist
- Send fecal test to lab, If negative do not worm. If positive worm according to type of worms.
- Clean sheath and tits
- Poultice from knee to ankles if you feel heat or some puffiness as horse gets legged up.
- Renew your Coggins Test for traveling.
- Check on what vaccinations you need to travel or go to public events. If you decide to vaccinate give your horse a couple of days off to handle the effects of the vaccines ie. sore neck, fever, low energy, body heat.
As you move forward into more and more activity make sure you exercise your horse on a variety of footing. Hard, soft, deep, rocky, and slick. This will toughen and prepare your horse's body, mind and especially feet and legs for everything you want to do this Summer.
Have fun, you're ready to go!!