Why does climate affect equine joints? And how to support them – by Peter Fishpool

winter-riding-image-loThe colder weather has most-certainly arrived and for many horse owners, this snap in the air can spell stiffer joints for their equines. Our horse’s joints are crucial, as they facilitate movement and absorb impact, but over time joints naturally suffer wear and tear, resulting in stiffness. Taking good care of your equine’s joints can help to ensure your horse or pony remains comfortable and happy in their work, helping to minimise pain and prolonging their ridden career!

Here in the UK our winter brings a colder climate, resulting in harder ground conditions, which can be concussive to joints. In addition, our well-known rainy conditions come into play, and long periods in cold, wet and muddy fields can also exacerbate stiff joints. The synovial joints are the highest risk area, due to them being the most mobile, and therefore more susceptible to injury.  It is the job of the lubricated cartilage to absorb the impact placed on the joint as the horse moves – if this is affected, the friction can cause the joints to wear as a result.

But why does the climate effect joints?

Just like us, in cold weather our equines’ joints often suffer more during cold weather, and our horses and ponies often display an increased level of stiffness in their movement. Colder weather also appears to play a role in troublesome joints, causing more problems.

Though at this stage scientists are not 100% sure what causes cold weather to increase joint pain symptoms, one of the leading theories is that it is caused by a drop in air pressure, known as barometric pressure. A reduction in barometric pressure changes the weight of the atmosphere which surrounds us and our animals, and in colder weather, this pressure reduction allows body’s tissues to expand, therefore in turn placing more pressure on stiff joints.

Symptoms of equine joint discomfort include – stiffness, reluctance to exercise, heat or swelling around a joint, lameness and obvious pain upon movement or flexion of a joint. If you suspect that your horse is struggling with joint pain, it is always wise to call your veterinarian in order to properly diagnose the root cause of the problem and then decide the choice of treatment; but there are plenty preventative steps horse owners can take to keep joint issues at bay!

Four Top Tips from Scientific Nutritional Products for Supporting your Horses Joints this Season

1.) Regular exercise is highly recommended for horses with stiff joints in order to keep joints supple; but ensure if you do have an equine with a joint problem that you warm up gradually, and be sure to avoid any hard work or excessive strain. After a long, strenuous ride always cool them down gradually and allow your horse a day off in order for your equine to rest and recover properly, reducing any chance of problems.

all-terrain-bare-hooves2.) There really isn’t a truer sentiment than ‘no foot no horse’ so keep your horse’s hooves well trimmed and balanced, in order to limit the risk of joint problems and manage them if they already exist.

3.) Be mindful of the surface you are exercising your horse on. Rough terrain to those that are not conditioned to it will place more stress and strain on the joints. Frozen paths out hacking and likewise sand schools and arenas at this time of year are common, increasing concussion and the likelihood of the horse to slip and trip.

4.) Provide an equine joint supplement in the diet. Horse Joint Right Supreme is an ideal additional to the diet to support joint health in autumn and wintertime.

Look for a supplement that offers optimum levels of Glucosamine,  Chondroitin, Hyaluronic Acid and MSM, all of which help to build equine cartilage, ligaments, tendons and develop synovial fluid alongside helping to cushion and lubricate the joints. Green Lipped Mussel is also known for its soothing qualities on joints and maintenance of joint cartilage and connective tissue, therefore optimising joint function.

Peter represents: www.horsesupplementsdirect.co.uk

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