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Health benefits

HYDROTHERAPY FOR COMPETITION HORSES

Regular use of a hydrotherapy spa for competition horses can greatly reduce the everyday stresses that have the potential to develop into serious injuries.

Using a spa or pool is a more effective and much quicker way of treating tired legs after exercise than hours of cold hosing.

 

EQUINE HYDROTHERAPY SPAS

Specially developed swimming pools and equine spas for horses using computer controlled water temperatures can bring even better results than manual cold hosing.

Horses treated with cold water spa therapy have shown improvements in conditions ranging from navicular syndrome and laminitis to severe skin lesions. In some cases it appears hoof growth was stimulated.

Equine cold water spas with oxygen jets and highly mineralised water have been shown to be particularly useful for healing abrasions and treating tendon problems in horses and ponies.

A typical equine spa is a unit with doors at both ends enabling horses to be loaded and unloaded easily. Once the horse has been walked into the unit it is sealed. The spa unit is then slowly filled up with water - this usually takes about 3 minutes. Typically a session will last from 10 - 20 minutes. The spa is then emptied and the horse is walked out. The water temperatures are controlled by computer at between 2 - 4° centigrade.

 

EQUINE HYDROTHERAPY SERVICES

Reasons for swimming.

·         To improve fitness - swimming increases stamina and works the cardiovascular system .It develops muscle and can be incorporated into a training programme with other work.

·         UNLIKE A SPA UNIT, THE POOL ALLOWS TOTAL NON WEIGHT BEARING EXERCISE

·         As a therapy - providing exercise for an injury without the need for weight bearing. After the initial period of rest, the movement of an injury can greatly reduce lesions and scar tissue.

·         To maintain fitness - whilst recovering from injury, convalescent time is reduced, as the animal does not require building up again.

·         To sweeten up jaded or bored horses - by adding something different to they’re routine. This is particularly useful in the case of animals in hard training, e.g. racing, eventing endurance and dressage.

·         Following a period of box rest where muscle wastage has occurred, or in certain back injuries, swimming builds up muscle and improves top line.

·         Youngsters benefit from swimming as there is no stress on young joints and they become confident in water.

·         Swimming is especially useful in the treatment of laminitis.

COLD WATER HYDROTHERAPY

Triggers 3 basic reactions in the horse.

  • ·         The metabolic response of cells in the horse's body is lowered, the cells then need a lower amount of oxygen to function and as a result hypoxic injury is reduced.
  • ·         The permeability of the walls of the horse's blood vessels is reduced by cold hydrotherapy - this reduces the amount of fluid accumulating in the area that is injured.
  • ·         The cold slightly numbs the injury being treated - this acts as an analgesic to this area of tissue.

 

CONDITIONS TREATED BY COLD WATER HYDROTHERAPY

  • ·         Tendon injuries
  • ·         Ligament damage
  • ·         Sore shins
  • ·         Degenerative joint diseases
  • ·         Fractures and splints
  • ·         Concussion
  • ·         Infection of the legs
  • ·         Post-operative complications
  • ·         Wounds and cuts
  • ·         Poor Hoof Growth
  • ·         Soft tissue damage
  • ·         Bowed tendons
  • ·         Tendonitis
  • ·         Windgalls
  • ·         Bog spavins
  • ·         General stiffness and soreness
  • ·         Post competition strain
  • ·         Laminitis
Swimming stimulates cardio-vascular activity and promotes improved respiration in an impact free exercise environment. Horses recovering from strains and muscle ailments improve rapidly with regular water therapy. Swimming, when combined with other exercise regimes builds muscular strength, stamina and flexibility.
Water Jets are used to increase the flow of water in the pool. Usually three settings are available. First, no jets in operation the horse swims freely. This allows the horse to swim at its own pace in a relaxed manner. Secondly, stage 1 jet power with just two of the four jets operating. The water flow against the horse requires more effort in swimming and a higher level of exercise is achieved. Thirdly, with stage 2 jet power selected up to 20 gallons per second of water are displaced against the swimming horse. This is usually employed when horses are approaching peak fitness.