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The Importance of Exercise for Horses: A Complete Guide

You may have realized that your horse loves to run around. But did you know that this is actually an essential part of their well-being? Here, our equine vets in Ocala share some reasons why exercise is vital to a horse's health and offer a quick guide to common exercises.

Why does my horse need to move so much?

Grazing is a constant part of a horse's life. Because of this, you need to ensure daily exercise. While this exercise does not necessarily need to be riding, there still needs to be some form of movement in their regular activities.

Time to run and exercise along with an abundance of space to move around is a critical part of your horse's health and well-being. 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.

Is horse riding good exercise? Along with allowing your horse to freely run around, riding them can also provide the exercise they need. No matter the type of exercise, the important thing is that they get enough of it.

Another potential issue that can arise if your horse is prevented from moving around is the mental effect and the movement of your horse within their confined space.

If you are concerned that your horse may be experiencing detrimental effects related to a lack of exercise please schedule an examination with the horse vets at our equine veterinary hospital today.

What is the benefit of daily exercise for horses?

The genetics of a horse are designed with exercise in mind. Along with their grazing habits, they are made to have bursts of energy where they will run and exercise. By moving around rapidly they continue to stay 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 then you may need to schedule a visit at your nearest equine animal hospital in Ocala.

What are some different types of horse exercises?

Looking to improve your horse's stance and health? Maybe you need an exercise plan for an overweight horse. While your equine vet can help you create a detailed treatment plan there are some easy exercises you can do with your horse. Some of these are:

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

How often should I exercise my horse?

Just like with other animals and even people, the exercise needs of your horse will vary depending on a number of factors.

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.

Did you know that wild horses are known to travel up to 50 km daily? 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, reach out to your equine specialty hospital horse vets in Ocala.

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 the exercise requirements for your horse and what you can do to meet them? Contact Florida Equine Veterinary Associates to speak with our equine vets today.

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