When the UK Equine PR and Canine PR Team reveal in passing conversation that their horses and competition dogs regularly have massages and physio checks, it’s sometimes met with disbelief from people – ‘What your horse has massages?’ (Often followed by some sniggering)
But the bottom line is that just as humans athletes need to be kept in tip top condition so do our furry animal athletes. Our UK Equine team believe that whether your horse is a show jumper, eventer or dressage horse, each discipline places different demands on the body, and it’s up to the riders and owners of these animals to ensure that their horses can perform to their best. And priority is given to ensuring that the horse stays supple and comfortable in the physical work.
Being involved with riders at the highest level of their sport, means we get a very privileged insight into what goes on behind the scenes both managing and maintaining a top equine athlete.
The preparation ahead of Rio for both horse and rider was fascinating, and the attention to detail in every aspect of the horse’s fitness and welfare is considered, with the very best professionals brought together to ensure both horse and rider are feeling and performing their best resulting in bringing home some medals.
As anyone who is into their fitness will tell you, having a big workout at the gym or running a marathon can still leave your muscles feeling tight or overworked. Even if your preparation might have been on par and your warm up and cool down sessions have been adequate, regular physiotherapy and sports massage will still be critical to keeping you on the right (running) track!
Horses are the same and with the added complication of having a rider on their back (who isn’t always supple or straight!) means they really do need regular checking over!
Dogs which compete in competitions such as fly ball or dog agility also benefit from massage and physio. Their sport requires the dog to be fast and agile, so they need to be kept in excellent condition and remain supple and flexible too.
And don’t forget as a rider or dog handler you also need to have an element of fitness and flexibility too! Keeping fit and ensuring your body can cope physically means you will enhance and not hinder your chances of competition success with your fur partner …oh and don’t forget your physio and massage too!