What could be behind a horse’s failure to develop or maintain fitness as expected? Andrea Oakes investigates
YOU prepared him methodically for the season, but your horse’s energy reserves seem unusually low. Or perhaps his fitness levels are not progressing, despite the fact that you’re following a training programme.
Before delving too deeply into the potential veterinary issues, performance horse consultant Peter “Spike” Milligan MRCVS advises first placing your training techniques under the microscope. Only then can a horse’s fitness – or lack of it – be objectively assessed.
“A competition horse needs to be just fit enough,” says Spike, a British Eventing youth performance squad vet. “Event horses at the lower levels are often too fit, which can compromise their soundness, appetite and condition, as well as their ability to achieve a good dressage score. Yet a slightly overweight, underfit eventer is at risk of injury.
This exclusive veterinary feature is also available to read in Thursday 8 July’s Horse & Hound magazine
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