Pre and Post Performance For Your Horse
By: Triple Crown Insider – Hannah Young
Just like people, no two horses are alike – breed, personality, performance… But no matter how different they are, the importance of warming up and cooling down remains the same.
My two barrel horses are very different, but I take both of their warm ups the same way – slow. I find that the more relaxed the pre-performance environment is, the more my horses focus. A slow warm up also results in less injury. Starting slow and relaxed gives a horse’s body and mind time to prepare for performance.
When warming up, I like to find an open space to do lots of walking and try to make my horses feel like they are on a miniature trail ride, using the open space for long trotting and loping. Staying away and out of the arena will allow your horse to stay relaxed. If open space is not an option, lots of walking and a slow warm up will do the trick as well. After my horses are warmed up and right before my events, I walk them up and down the alley, if allowed. This gives them time to see the arena, feel the ground and prepare for their run.
Post-performance is just as important as warming up. Allowing your horse to walk and catch his breath usually comes to mind first, but I will always unwrap legs, take off headstalls and loosen saddles, as well as hand walk. It’s like rewarding your horse and telling him, You did great, now it’s time to relax.Û Proper cool down allows your horse’s body to react and relax. This will help eliminate soreness and improve overall health. Many owners will also incorporate icing legs, massage, stretching, liniments and a variety of other workout recovery techniques to help their horses after a harder workout or performance.
Don’t forget, Triple Crown Nutrition Senior Formula (which is my feed of choice) helps your horse’s digestive system react better to warm ups and cool downs, resulting in a healthier horse and more successful performances!