After injury controlled exercise is used to get pets moving again without causing further injury. This is especially important in the case of horse's as they require movement to effectively digest their food. Controlled exercise for horses can include lunging, long-reining and in-hand walking whereas in dogs slow lead walking is most commonly used. Hydrotherapy can be used in certain cases if it is available to you.
Slow lead walking in dogs and in-hand walking in horses requires us to walk at the animals walk pace this ensures that the animal is weight bearing on each limb individually. As your pet progresses through their rehabilitation different surfaces can be used within your walking to improve core strength and joint range of motion. In horse's long-reigning and lunging can be used to increase the speed of your walk and then progress to the trot and canter. Lunging and long reining also allow for the use of serpentines and circles to increase lateral flexion of the spine and neck. In dogs weaving, circles and figure of 8’s can be used to the same effect. These exercises also increase the weight-bearing of the inside limbs and extension of the outside limbs leading to a longer stride length, increased muscle mass and strength.
In horse's training aids can be used to help the horse work in the correct outline, by encouraging more core engagement and hindlimb impulsion. Common training aids include Pessoas, cotton training aids, resistance bands and bungee training aids. When used correctly training aids can help re-educate your horse’s way of going. If you are unsure what training aid would be right for your horse or how to correctly fit or use them please get in touch.
Controlled exercise programs are given to all pets who have vet physiotherapy sessions with us.
Find out how to keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated when they can't be walked here!