Equine Sports Injury? Heal it Faster

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These are Some of the Most Common Sport Horse Injuries (and How you Can Treat Them!)

Someone riding a horse and playing polo in a green field

Having a horse is a lot of responsibility and it can be really scary when your horse is dealing with an injury. No matter if that injury is big or small Fauna Care is here to help. Sport horses in particular face a lot of injuries because they are so active and engage in a lot of repetitive strenuous activities. If you think your sport horse is injured and aren’t sure what to do then keep on reading. Keep in mind though that often the best thing you can do for your horse is to get a veterinarian in to see them. 

Here is all the information you can find to help you treat your sport horse’s injury below: 

  • What are the most common injuries that you will see in sport horses?
  • What are the symptoms of those injuries, how can you tell if your horse is suffering from one?
  • Now that you know what injuries your horse is most likely to experience, how do you treat them?
Man riding a racing horse, wearing a blue jacket and a black helmet
You want to be able to have as many years as you possibly can with your horse and Fauna Care is here to help make sure that you do.

What are the most common injuries that you will see in sport horses?

Sport horses can experience a broad range of different types of injuries, but below we will list some of the most common injuries that they may experience. 

  • Joint inflammation 
  • Suspensory ligament injuries 
  • DDFT damage 
  • Bone bruise 
  • Sore muscles 

The reason that sport horses are more prone to these types of injuries listed above is due to the nature of the competitions or other activities they are participating in. For example, a jumper or a dressage horse is putting more strain on their body through the kinds of tasks they have to perform in competitions. If you perform jumps with your horse it is possible that they could land on a leg wrong causing a sprain or even a break. There is plenty of information on these kinds of injuries that you can find online but the best way to treat an injury is by having your horse see their veterinarian. 

Man riding a horse and doing a jump over a fence
Horses are incredibly strong and graceful animals but even they get hurt, and it can be really scary when your horse gets injured, so follow these tips for recognizing and treating an injury in your horse

What are the symptoms of those injuries, how can you tell if your horse is suffering from one?

Ok, so after hearing all the names of these different kinds of possible injuries that your sport horse may experience you might be wondering what they are. It can be overwhelming to hear a lot of medical terms and not know what they really mean. What symptoms will your horse be exhibiting if they are experiencing these kinds of injuries? When should you take them to see a vet if they do seem to be exhibiting symptoms that align with some of these very common sport horse injuries? 

One thing not mentioned earlier but that you should keep in mind is what to do if your horse has a cut or abrasion. If your horse has a cut the first thing you should do is to clean it out with saline which will help to flush out any dirt or grass in the cut. Do not scrub the area, and if the wound does not start healing naturally in the next few days then be sure to have the cut checked out by a vet as something else may be going on that is making it harder for your horse to start healing. 

If you think your horse may be suffering from joint inflammation here are some of the symptoms you may notice in them: soreness, stiffness, and sometimes redness around the inflamed area (which most commonly is in the ankles). 

It can be pretty difficult to notice and diagnose a suspensory ligament injury in your own horse. These injuries usually happen from repeated jumping or running (if your horse is putting too much strain on one part of their ankle or landing repeatedly in a way that inflames the ligament). Usually, the area will be tender to your horse and inflamed. If you notice your horse behaving this way the best course of action to take is to get a vet in to do a hands-on checkup as soon as possible. 

DDFT damage stands for deep digital flexor tendonitis. Usually, if your horse is experiencing DDFT the symptoms you will be likely to notice include severe and acute limping and sometimes in extreme cases heat and swelling in the area of the injury. If you want to find out more about DDFT there is a lot of information out there about it, but the best course of action, again, is to have your horse looked at by a vet. 

A bone bruise is not the same as a break. However, they are usually caused by the same kind of repetition of strenuous exercises (like jumping). A bone bruise would not show up on an x-ray but may be visible on an MRI, making bone bruises hard to diagnose. A bone bruise usually requires 3-4 months of rest for a full recovery. 

If your horse is flinching, pinning back their ears, or wringing their tail when pressure is placed on a certain area of their muscles then they are likely experiencing sore muscles. Most sore muscles can be treated simply by a few days of rest, but keep an eye on them and consider possibly changing their diet or giving them a massage in the irritated area. 

Woman riding a horse in front of old brick buildings and a white fence
Injuries can be very common in sport horses as they are doing a great deal of strenuous physical activity, but many of these injuries are treatable, don’t worry!

Now that you know what injuries your horse is most likely to experience, how do you treat them?

Many of the injuries listed in this article require a trip to the vet in order to even diagnose before thinking about treatment plans. For the most part, any course of treatment you look into for these kinds of injuries will require the opinion and help of a veterinarian. 

With joint inflammation, the usual course of action is just to give your horse some rest time. After seven to ten days of rest, they should be back in good shape, just ease them back into their regular routine. If your horse is dealing with sore muscles a similar treatment plan would be in place, just give your horse some much-needed rest time and take it easy once they’re ready to ride again. For the remainder of the injuries mentioned in this article the best way to find the right treatment plan is by talking to your vet and having them do a hands-on examination of your horse to figure out what’s wrong and how to get your horse back to their healthy self. 

We at Fauna Care want to be here to help in any way we can if your horse is facing a tough injury. Soon your horse will be back on the road to a healthy happy lifestyle!

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