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Healthy Pet Care Tips

The Importance of Exercise for Horses: A Complete Guide

Horses are built for running and exercise. Their strong yet agile body makes them efficient for moving around, but did you know that it's a necessary part of their daily routine? Today's post looks at the importance of exercise for horses and the best options for getting them moving.

Why is exercise essential to a horse's health?

Because horses spend much of their time grazing, daily exercise is crucial to their well-being. While this exercise does not necessarily need to be riding, there still needs to be some form of movement in their regular activities.

Offering exercise and space to move around is vital to your horse's health. If you do not provide them with an adequate amount of exercise it could lead to a number of health concerns including obesity and laminitis.

Poor mental health and general demeanor are often a consequence of confining horses to a small space.

If you are concerned that your horse may be experiencing detrimental effects related to a lack of exercise, please schedule an examination with a trusted equine veterinarian.

Why do horses need to exercise daily?

A horse is built for movement. Along with their grazing habits, they are made to have bursts of energy where they will run and exercise. This movement helps to keep them strong and healthy.

Every aspect of their bodily systems is affected by the movements they make including their respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, lymphatic, and digestive systems. By exercising your horse, riding included, you can also help to keep their joints and muscles healthy.

Without routine exercise, your horse's body can become stiff and even the most work-loving horse will find the process of moving around difficult and uncomfortable. If this occurs, it's time to book an examination for your horse. An experienced equine vet can help to soothe your horse's discomfort and get your equine friend moving again.

Best Types of Exercise For Horses

There are a number of ways that you can get your horse moving. Here, are some of the easiest ways to do so:

  • Riding
  • Turnout
  • Lunging / Long-reining 
  • Hacking
  • Hydrotherapy

How much exercise does a horse need?

Each horse's exercise needs will vary based on a variety of factors including age, breed and health condition.

Even if turned out alone and not ridden, horses are able to have much-needed movement through their grazing habits. If your horse is kept in a stable then you will need to ensure that you bring them out for daily exercise. Another option is to turn your horse out with other horses allowing them the opportunity to exercise through running and socializing with these other horses.

When it comes to life in the wild, horses are known to cover roughly 50 miles a day. Wild horses travel constantly as a way of finding fresh water and grazing habitat each day. Because our domesticated horses live very different lives, it can be difficult for them to have a good balance of the diet and exercise needed to stay healthy. This makes it very important to plan their exercise on a daily basis.

If you would like to learn more about exercise plans that can help your horse stay healthy, speak to your vet for more detailed recommendations.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding animals or professional advice regarding equine regulations. For the diagnosis of your animal's condition and help to navigate rules governing the care and transportation of equine animals, please make an appointment with your vet.

Would you like to learn more about how to keep your horse healthy and active? Contact a PetVet Care Centers member hospital near you to speak with our equine vets today.

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