An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
By Asia Vedder
When it comes to horse health and soundness, prevention is the name of the game. The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” definitely holds true. A horse that is feeling a little body sore, or is mildly uncomfortable can create even larger problems somewhere else through compensation. As horse owners and competitors we want our horses feeling great, so that they enjoy their work and are able to give us that 110% we need. An important step to maintaining our horses is familiarization. Run your hands over their body and legs, and learn every lump and bump. Do they stock up in hot weather or when standing in a stall? Not all swelling is indicative of a problem. Few horses have tight legs all the time, but getting to know what is normal for each horse will help identify a budding problem before it becomes a real issue.
The Clear Choice line of products are wonderful for maintaining a healthy and happy horse. Their ingredients are always of the highest quality, and all products are USEF legal, so there is no worry about using them during competitions. I love the Bath Brace and Liniment for a multitude of reasons. It has several different applications, and the mix of essential oils help keep my horses’ legs and bodies feeling great. After a hard work, gallop or after a cross country run I will dilute it in some water and use a bath brace on them. I find that is helps them cool out quickly, as well as prevent any muscle soreness that might crop up. They always come out the next day ready to go.
I also love to use it as a liniment on their legs. The essential oils are very effective in helping to prevent heat and swelling, while still being gentle enough to use on even my very thin skinned chestnut Thoroughbred. One of the most important parts of leg care is the prevention of swelling, as the constant increase and decrease of tissue is very hard on them. I typically will rub down their legs after a jump or gallop at home, and then reapply and wrap their legs in the evening after they have come in for the night. For the upper level horses I will add 20 minutes in ice boots immediately after their work and before the rub down. Because of the mild nature of this liniment, you do not have to worry if they have a small scrape or nick that might become inflamed from contact with the liniment, like you do with poultice, and I find that the next morning their legs look just as good, without all the mess to clean up!
Remember, while some changes in legs are normal, heat, or swelling that does not go away with movement or that is travelling up the leg is indicative a greater problem or infection and should be treated accordingly.