What is equine hydrotherapy?
Equine hydrotherapy refers to all therapies that use water to improve the health and well-being of horses. It is widely considered within the industry as an effective alternative therapy that is drug-free and non-invasive and equestrians continue to harness the numerous benefits it can have whether for performance, rehabilitation or for general health and fitness.
Methods of hydrotherapy include cold hosing, water spas, aqua treadmills, and swimming pools. Exercising on a water treadmill is a common type used and is proven to be an effective training method that improves the strength and endurance of a horse as well as aids in rehabilitation. The treadmill can be used in the recovery of many tendon, ligament, and muscle injuries as well as common back-related injuries. It can also be incorporated into the exercise routine of a horse to improve overall fitness and muscle strength.
How do water treadmills for horses work?
The buoyancy of the water reduces concussion on lower limbs and increases the range of motion. The higher resistance of the water builds stronger muscles and the water pressure aids in reducing swelling and improving circulation. The cold temperature of the water also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relief) effects.
ECB water treadmills are installed with the latest technology and performance analysis which allows for individual programs for training and rehabilitation of each horse to be created and stored. The water level on the treadmill can be changed for each horse. The aim is to slowly increase the water level as deeper water increases the stride length and decreases stride frequency which leads to increased back extension and flexion.
ECB equine water treadmills also allow for the use of salt water as well as fresh. When salt is added, it helps accelerate the healing and repair of many injuries that occur on the lower limb. Inflammation is significantly reduced and pain relief is experienced. An incline can also be set on the water treadmill which demands the horse’s key muscle groups to work harder. This further strengthens the muscles and increases overall fitness.
The key benefits of training your horse on a water treadmill are:
- Develops stronger muscles
- Improves aerobic capacity and overall fitness
- Increases circulation
- Improves Joint mobility
- Reduces inflammation
- Encourages a bigger stride length
- Enhances overall performance
- Develops core strength
- Aids in the recovery and management of a variety of specific injuries/conditions including tendon and ligament injuries, Back injuries, Joint injuries, laminitis, etc.
- Helps relieve general stiffness and soreness
- Improves post-competition strain
- Promotes lateral flexion of the back
ECB is the market leader in water treadmills for horses, with over 400 products sold worldwide. Find out more by visiting the product page here.