How to Treat a Horse for Muscle Soreness

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If your horse is sore after a difficult workout or show, you have several options to help relieve the discomfort and speed his recovery. Symptoms of muscle soreness vary based on the severity of the pain and the muscles affected. Your horse may be lame, react when the affected muscle is palpated, have heat and swelling in the affected muscle, refuse to engage hindquarters during work or be hesitant to work.

Warning

  • If you see symptoms of soreness, have your horse evaluated by a veterinarian to rule out more serious injuries.

Apply Liniments

Analgesic liniments are liquids that you can apply to areas of soreness. They often include ingredients to help reduce pain and discomfort such as eucalyptus, menthol, camphor and capsaicin. They may be used before or after a workout to reduce muscle soreness. Rub the liniment into your horse's legs or sore muscles. You can wrap his legs for additional support.

Warning

  • Some liniments may cause skin irritation and should not be used on open sores or under a wrap. Read the product label and warnings before use.

Apply Ice and Poultices

Applying ice or cold water to the horse's legs after a difficult workout can help prevent inflammation and relieve soreness. You also can apply a poultice to your horse's as an alternative or additional cold therapy to reduce swelling and speed healing. Poultices are made of clay such as kaolin or bentonite.

Rest and Medication

Giving your horse time to rest will allow him time to recover on his own. If you do ride, make sure to reduce the amount of work you ask from him. Consider giving an anti-inflammatory medication under the direction of your vet to help reduce muscle inflammation and pain.

Therapeutic Options

Various therapies can help treat muscle pain and soreness including massage, chiropractic work, acupuncture, ultrasound therapy and electromagnetic therapy. Consult your veterinarian to determine if these methods are appropriate and to get a referral for a qualified practitioner.

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