The ins and outs of equine hydrotherapy
Improve the fitness levels of your horse and build muscle with equine hydrotherapy. This type of therapy makes an excellent addition to your horse’s training programme. Take your horse’s preferences into account to ensure that they’re comfortable. Hydrotherapy should only be done under guidance from a qualified professional as it can be detrimental to horses with specific kinds of injuries or health problems. You can find horses for sale on AgriMag.
How does hydrotherapy work
Hydrotherapy makes use of an aqua treadmill. The depth of the water and speed of the belt is varied to customise the workout according to the requirements of each horse. The more water that is used, the harder the horse has to work. As the depth of the water increases, the speed of the belt is decreased so that the horse can discover their own natural movement. The depth of the water is determined by the needs of the horse on each specific day. The preference of each horse is also taken into account as some horses don’t enjoy walking in lots of water. Horses can benefit from this workout without the water having to be deep. Depending on the type of machine that’s being used, the water shouldn’t exceed the knee or hock and the session shouldn’t exceed 25 minutes.
How often should horses receive hydrotherapy
The frequency of the treatment depends on the needs of the horse. Horses that are engaged in a varied training programme can benefit from receiving treatment once a week. Horses that are recovering from an injury and aren’t being ridden can benefit from sessions twice a week.
Uses of equine hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy helps to improve the fitness levels of horses without putting strain on the musculoskeletal system. This workout is a good option for horses that are recovering from an injury or horses that have continuous orthopaedic issues. The uses of hydrotherapy include improved cardiovascular health, decreased musculoskeletal injury, and enhanced aerobic function. The depth of the water can be adjusted to increase the range of motion in specific joints.
Advantages of hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy decreases the pressure that is placed on the limbs of the horse during the workout. It also helps to enhance muscle strength and aerobic capacity. Another benefit of this therapy is that it helps to decrease distal limb swelling and oedema. The horse will also benefit from improved cardiovascular stamina and respiratory endurance.
Disadvantages of hydrotherapy
Some horses do not enjoy swimming, and in these cases, hydrotherapy is not the best option for them. The water needs to be the correct temperature for this treatment to be safe for horses. They are not natural swimmers and hydrotherapy may not be a good fit for horses with back or stifle issues. Likewise, this treatment may not be suitable for horses suffering from hip, pelvic or hock issues. Swimming is significantly different from the way a horse moves on land so this therapy needs to be used in conjunction with a varied training programme. This type of therapy does not boost bone density and it’s not suitable for the improvement of ligament strength. Hydrotherapy is not suitable for horses with respiratory problems or those recovering from surgical incisions. Open wounds, acute joint inflammation, and high temperatures also preclude horses from this treatment.
Now that you know more about equine hydrotherapy, you can decide whether this is the right treatment for your horse or not. If you’re looking to add to your stable, find horses for sale on AgriMag today.