Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
It's all about calculated risk versus reward. ANYthing we do with our horses will cause wear and tear to their joints as compared to them sitting in a perfectly manacured pasture. We have to assess the risk versus reward, and decide what's best for the horse on different levels. In order for our horses to maintain a healthy fitness level, we must exercise them - unless the horse is suspended, this is going to cause wear on the horse's joints. When managed properly, the wear is minimal; it's when the risk is mismanaged that the risk outweighs the benefit that we encounter problems.
Any living being's body is going to degrade and wear down eventually, it's just a matter of time. When managed properly, we can extend the horse's career and healthy days as long as possible; however we shouldn't wrap them in bubble wrap.
There's being cautious, then there's "ohmigod I don't want to walk out the door this morning because I'm sure I might sprain my ankle!" Many horses, like humans, like to have a "job" - they like the interaction, they like to be challenged (slightly personifying here, but you know what I mean).
It's just as much a "mental" thing as physical. I'm injured right now and can't do as much exercise as I would like, or need to keep my mental state where it should be.
I also want to add that this is a completely individual thing as well. While lunging might be detrimental to some horses (MIE's Nelson with hock problems is an example), it is beneficial to others.
The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography cvlphotography.com
Last edited by JustDressageIt; 05-21-2010 at 03:31 PM.