Yesterday, EN’s Visionaire wrote a great article about competing in the heat. I read it with interest as I’m headed to an event in Lexington, where temps are expected to reach into the 90s.
I’ll take hot and sticky over cold and damp any day, but I can’t say the same for my horse–I read somewhere that the ideal outside temperature for a horse is between 45 and 65 degrees. So, if we’re going to ask a horse to perform in stressful conditions, it’s important also that we take accountability for their post-workout recovery.
Today, we’ll be introducing a new column, “Ask the Vet,” by veterinarian Jennifer Johnson. As both a rider/competitor (dressage and eventing) and a vet, Dr. Johnson (can I call you Jen, Jen?) brings a unique perspective to her profession. I’ll let her tell you a little bit about her background
“I am a veterinarian, and an Eventer & Dressage rider. I’ve been involved in horses in some form or another since I was 4 years old and have experience in gaming, pleasure, H/J and, for the last 8 years, Eventing and Dressage. The majority of my practice has been with horses, both in referral centers (at 3 different universities) and field service. I’ve also had the pleasure of serving as official show veterinarian for several horse trials & other shows in the midwest. And, although I am not an FEI vet, I’ve had the opportunity to serve along side FEI veterinarians as they discharged their duties on course and in the 10 minute box at several 1*, 2* and 3*s. Additionally, I have, in the past, been involved in the USEF drug testing program.”
We’re excited to have Jen joining our HN team, and she’ll be kicking things off with an inaugural column addressing the science behind proper cooling-out techniques, which become extra-critical on hot summer days.
Stay cool, Horse Nation, and Go Riding.
Speaking of beating the heat… did you know that the most common cause of back injuries in horses is ill-fitting saddles, closely followed by muscle injuries due to overheating? The need for thermal balance cannot be overstated. In order for a muscle to operate at its peak it must cool itself constantly. If excess heat cannot be pulled away, and/or gets blocked by materials that do not breathe (such as gel and some closed-cell foam), this heat will radiate back into the already overheated muscle.
While high-tech fabrics, such as Coolmax were engineered to draw heat and moisture away, they lose their effectiveness as soon as they get wet. Sheepskin and wool can hold thirty percent of its weight in water before it even starts to feel wet, thus being able to transport excess heat away from the muscle much longer.
Fleeceworks new range of 100% Merino Wool pads with Perfect Balance Technology offer excellent thermal balancing properties. Since wool’s ability to provide pressure point relief is limited, we have added our Perfect Balance Technology to these pads. With the added full inserts made from visco—elastic foam, our wool pads deliver a complete protective pad. Optional Front and Rear inserts allow you to customize your saddle fit. Learn more at Fleeceworks.com.