Swimming of horses has been discontinued until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience.
For horses that have been injured or are coming out of surgery, swimming can play a significant part in shortening the recovery period and provide needed circulation to the injured area. For horses recovering from infection, or a physical condition such as bruising, abscess, navicular, tendonitis, joint or muscle problems, splints, bone chips, blistering, etc. swimming allows the horse to improve or stay in physical condition while recovering.
Increased circulation: Swimming exercise and the massaging action of the water promotes circulation and movement that provides increased blood flow to provide oxygen and nutrients to the surrounding tissues and helps to flush out toxins and unwanted by-products created by injury or infection.
Earlier exercise: Medical opinion is unanimous, whether human or animal, in that the earlier exercise can be started following injury or surgery, the better chance for full and faster recovery. Because swimming is non weight bearing, in many cases it can be started before hand walking begins. This is very important to remember as hand walking usually depends on the animal being able to bear weight on the injured part. In many cases the injury is healed sufficient for movement to take place (swimming) but not for weight bearing exercises such as walking.
Muscle tone: Loss of muscle tone (atrophy) occurs very fast in the inactive horse. Swimming reduces contraction and atrophy of ligaments and muscles and will build back lost muscle tone, or muscle mass, faster than any other exercise alternative. Building back muscle tone and strength before walking or ground exercise begins avoids potential re-injury due to weakened joints, ligaments or muscles.
Mental health: Confinement to the stall during recovery from injury or surgery is a major contributor to development of bad habits such as, stall walking, chewing, pawing and general nervousness. Swimming, during convalescence, provides the physical and mental outlet that relieves the boredom that generates bad habits.
With all therapeutic applications, your veterinarian should be consulted before swimming begins.
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