© 2004-2012 Horse Tack Review
Reduce Soreness and Discomfort for Horses through Proper Muscle Care
Whether they are “weekend warriors” or dedicated competitors, all horses are athletes that stretch and strain their muscles during every ride—so every horse can benefit from proper muscle care. Muscle pain, stiffness and swelling are common conditions that may be either reduced or avoided when riders apply a muscle care regimen in addition to an appropriate training program. Used properly, muscle care products—such as liniments—can offer a wide range of benefits to help the equine athlete recover from work and keep training hard.
Absorbine® muscle care products, which include Absorbine Veterinary Liniment, Bigeloil® Professional Liniment, and RefreshMint® Body Wash and Brace, are carefully formulated to help relieve pain and reduce swelling of muscles and joints while aiding natural healing. One of the best known and most trusted brands in the horse industry, the original Absorbine Veterinary Liniment has been used by veterinarians and equine professionals for 115 years.
“Routine training, competitions and other activities that require extended periods of exertion always have the potential to result in soreness or injury,” said Dr. Harry Hayes, Vice President of Research and Development at W.F. Young, Inc. “Including the use of liniments, such
as Absorbine Veterinary Liniment, as a part of routine management, can help alleviate stiffness and discomfort for the equine athlete.”
Muscle care starts with a warm up routine to stretch and supple the horse’s body before performing more physically demanding activities. Liniment is an effective addition to a horse’s everyday warm up routine. Rubbing liniment on the legs, shoulders and flanks will encourage additional blood flow to the muscles, making them relaxed and more elastic. Riders should not apply liniment to the area under the saddle, however, to avoid generating excess heat and possible blistering. Using liniment before an exercise session is especially beneficial for young horses starting training and mature horses returning to training due to an injury or weather—the liniment loosens muscles and tendons, reducing the risk of injury often associated with a lack of condition.
Riders often apply liniment to their horses as part of a cool down routine after workouts, facilitating the reduction of swelling and soreness in muscles and legs. To prevent “stocked up” legs, liniment may be applied to the affected areas and wrapped lightly with a breathable material, such as cotton. In addition to the legs, riders should also pay special attention to the back, loin and shoulder—and add a light blanket for the full therapeutic effect.
Riders can also benefit from the therapeutic effects of liniment—W.F. Young, Inc. markets a similar formula of Absorbine Veterinary Liniment for human use, under the brand name Absorbine Jr®. The top selling liquid pain reliever in the U.S., Absorbine Jr. provides temporary relief of muscle aches, pains, backaches and arthritis.
After a hard workout, an all-over liniment body wash helps to refresh tired muscles, as well as easily wash away dirt and sweat. As an additional benefit, products such as Absorbine Veterinary Liniment and Bigeloil contain ingredients with antiseptic properties to keep skin free from irritations—and even soothe insect bites during warm weather months.
In the case of injury, liniment use aids in the repair of muscle tissues by increasing blood flow to the affected area. For the first 24 hours, cold water or ice packs should be applied to the injury, followed by treatment with liniment two to three times a day for up to two weeks. Horse
owners should consult with their veterinarian if they are unsure of their horse’s injuries or suspect a chronic condition.
Traveling to shows, clinics and other events often creates swelling and other signs of stress in the legs as the horse uses its body to balance while in a trailer. Riders and competitors can help ease the strain of travel on their horses’ legs and muscles by applying a liniment brace—which can be made by diluting liniment with water and witch hazel. When using a brace, the horse’s legs should be wrapped with porous shipping wraps—taking care to protect the fetlocks and hooves.
Muscle care becomes even more essential when maintaining performance in horses as they age. Using liniment during warm up, cool down, or simply to increase blood flow, can promote flexibility and ease stiffness in older horses, particularly in the knees, fetlocks and hocks. Applying liniment and lightly wrapping the joints post-workout will provide the maximum benefit to the horse.
Marketed by W. F. Young, Inc., Absorbine products are available nationwide in tack shops, farm supply stores, and catalogs. Founded in 1892, W. F. Young, Inc. has provided over a century of quality health care products for the equine industry. From its headquarters in East Longmeadow, MA, the company is committed to extending this heritage into the new century. For a dealer near you or for more information, visit www.absorbine.com.