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Aquatic Therapy for Horses: The Healing Power of Water

Many different types of equine therapies can work together to help reduce pain and improve your horse's quality of life. Here, our Ocala vets discuss the benefits of equine aquatic therapy and how combining other treatments with your horse's hydrotherapy plan can lead to overall wellness.


What is equine aquatic therapy?

When your horse has a hydrotherapy session, it's more than just an equine swimming lesson, it's a way to improve their overall wellbeing.

The time that your horse spends on an equine water treadmill can help to enhance suppleness, and stride length, increase cardiovascular fitness, and help build muscle tone and core strength.

Your horse will experience a workout that affects their whole body, improving their fitness level, joint flexion and respiration. The water creates a low-impact environment while encouraging an increased range of motion.

The depth of the water will be increased gradually, throughout each session. As the water becomes deeper, your horse will experience a longer stride length, with a decreased stride frequency resulting in an increased back extension and flexion.

Some water treadmills may be used with salt water to address inflammation and injury. Furthermore, the treadmill may be set to an incline at key stages throughout treatment to increase the effort and activity of your horse.

The Benefits of Aquatic Exercises for Horses

There are several potential benefits when your horse has hydrotherapy including:

  • Improved overall performance
  • Soft tissue mobilization
  • Development of core strength
  • Reduced recovery time from some injuries
  • Improved muscle tone and strength
  • Reduced weight bearing with greater water depth
  • Hydrostatic pressure assists circulation
  • Improved length of stride
  • Reduced concussion
  • Increase in fitness and stamina
  • Improved flexibility and suppleness
  • Promotion of muscle development
  • Encouragement of lateral flexion of the back
  • Reduced swelling

Equine aquatic therapy works well when combined with other therapeutic treatments resulting in holistic care that covers every aspect of your horse's wellbeing, aiming to improve their quality of life.

Equine Therapies at Florida Equine Veterinary Associates

Our equine veterinary team in Ocala offers numerous equine therapeutic treatments that focus on helping your horse live a comfortable, pain-free life.

From joint or tendon injuries to inflammation, arthritis, and other health conditions, horses can acquire a variety of conditions that need treatment.

Whether it's administering acupuncture treatments for musculoskeletal disorders, shockwave therapy to help your horse regain mobility, or another treatment option, we are here to help your horse get back to performing at its best.

While our equine hospital does not offer hydrotherapy, we are happy to offer a variety of services that can work cohesively with aquatic therapy, achieving an overall improvement in their well-being.

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 regulations governing the care and transportation of equine animals please contact your vet.

Would you like to learn more about how equine therapeutics can help your horse live comfortably? Contact Florida Equine Veterinary Associates to request a consultation.

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Florida Equine Veterinary Associates is passionate about the health of sport and performance horses. Get in touch today to book your equine athelete's first appointment.

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