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By Angela Ganter
Angela Ganter not only owns great horses but knows how to condition to keep them on top of their game. Her daughter Jackie is a tough competitor wherever she goes on several different horses. Angela took time out from her very busy schedule to give tips on what she believes is the best way to condition horses and why…
No matter how high the mercury climbed this past summer, chances are you didn’t notice a single horse in your neighborhood pool. And while horses may seem unlikely candidates for a refreshing dip, swimming programs are respected and effective methods of rehabilitation and conditioning for equine athletes.
The benefits of swimming a horse are widely recognized--building stamina and muscle tone, providing excellent exercise without putting pressure on the back, knees or other joints (which might be incurred on the gallops or during normal training rou-tines) and particularly excellent for improv-ing the cardiovascular system.
Horses laid up through injury can very quickly lose muscle tone and swimming can provide just the right amount of work to keep them close to physically fit, saving on valuable recovery time.
I built our pool in 2005 for my private use and it just turned into a business. My pool is 40ft in diameter and 11 feet deep. It is a circle with a 32ft ramp that leads into the pool. We swim approximately 25 outside horses a day plus all of our barrel horses. The outside horses range from English to all variations of western horses. We swim about 50% percent for rehab and about 50% conditioning. Outside horses are swum 6 days a week. My personal horses are all swam differently based on their use for the week.
I also have a TheraPlate that we use for therapy and maintenance. It’s time con-suming to use it properly but is worth it in my opinion; with proven blood flow increase of 85% it has a tremen-dous effect on the healing rate. I also use a laser magnet blanket by Respond Systems. It is used primarily for reducing body soreness.
The following is an example of how one of our horses is maintained--Bobbie Gene swims 3 days a week and is theraplated every day, 2 times a day. He is ridden 2 days a week and then hauled on the weekends. I use the blanket on the road to try and relieve any body soreness. We also have a Game Ready that we use post surgery at the house and we take it with us on the road to ice legs before we run; and sometimes after we run as well.
Since I built the pool I feel like my injections last twice as long and there is never a need for a chiropractor. The body seems to realign itself in the pool. It is awesome for navicular horses because they can stay sounder without the trauma to their feet by riding them.
Courtesy Angela Ganter
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