by Katie Kelch
Cold temperatures can put a damper on everyone’s training program throughout the winter months. If you have a hard time finding a dry place to continue working with your equine athlete, there are other options out there to consider. At the Equine Aqua Spa in Whitesboro, Texas, they offer a comprehensive list of conditioning services, as well as rehabilitation choices that they combine for each individual horse.
According to staff, it’s very important to get a baseline of your horse’s fitness level when they arrive to build the correct program that will increase their physical ability without risking overexertion that can lead to injury. A typical horse that has had time off will begin on a Light to Moderate Priefert Panel Walker session normally 3 times per week. They will monitor vitals before, during and after each session. Two days per week, the horse will go in the 110ft free swim lane where they will again monitor their vitals to reach peak cardiovascular levels. They suggest separating swims by at least two days in the beginning to allow the muscle groups targeted by water related exercise time to repair. As the horse progresses throughout the week, the difficulty of the sessions will increase to meet their fitness needs.
This is also an excellent time to take advantage of Chiropractic and Equine Bodywork professionals that are available, as they can work on the horse during their down time and help prevent many issues before they arise. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not making sure that the whole horse is healthy and sound before they start back to competition in the spring or after a layup.
It is also worth noting that horses aren’t the only ones that can benefit from the heated free swim at the Equine Aqua Spa. Show cattle and canine companions are excellent candidates for aquatic exercise! With the majority of livestock competitions occurring in late winter/early spring, the 75-80 degree pool allows owners to continue conditioning their animals without getting behind schedule. It is nice to know that throughout the fall and winter months there are options for keeping your horses fit and out of the elements.