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Riding on hard ground.

items a first time horse owner should include in a first aid kit.

How can I ensure that the ground conditions do not have a damaging effect on my horse's legs? 

Q. After the relatively dry weather we have experienced recently, the ground in my area has become quite hard. I want to continue to enjoy hacking out and compete in a few one-day-events which will obviously require my horse to gallop across country. How can I ensure that the ground conditions do not have a damaging effect on my horse's legs?

A. First and foremost we would always recommend putting your horse's welfare ahead of competing or doing fast work out hacking if the ground is not favourable. It is better to withdraw from a competition or just go for a gentle walk out rather than risk potential injury that could cause lasting damage, or result in months of rehabilitation.

Riding on hard ground increases concussion and can have a negative effect on the hoof and leg structures. What you can do is limit the stress placed on the legs after a hard day's competing by applying cold therapy which provides instant relief to the legs, reducing any heat or swelling from tendon injuries, inflammation, knocks, strains and bruises.

Cold therapy lowers the temperature at the site of injury through heat exchange and constricts local blood cells, which reduces cell damage and fluid build-up.

Koolpak® from Robinson Animal Healthcare should be part of any travelling first aid kit for immediate use while competing away from home.

The ice pack is activated by squeezing the inner sachet firmly, delivering instant cold therapy that lasts up to an hour.  Koolpak® requires no refrigeration, so it is the ideal product for use on the go. The pack conforms easily around the limbs, and can be held in place with a bandage. Koolpak® is applied directly to the skin, without causing freeze burn damage.

For more information on the Robinson Animal Health Care range contact them on 01909 735000 or visit www.robinsonhealthcare.com