I recently bought a horse which has long patterns. I already have heard all the confirmation stuff so no need for that here, I’m not selling him so no use talking about it. BUT I want to make sure that I protect him and prevent injuries as best I can. I make sure to be careful and slow warming up and down, I use Professional Choice Sports Medicine Boots on his hinds to provide support. But I have a few questions. Are there any other boots (maybe not as bulky and “ugly” as sports medicine boots) that anyone has tried and loved? Are there any stretches that would help? Ice boots? Supplements? Exercises? Etc. I’m open to anything!! Thank you.
I assume you mean “pasterns.” Proper farrier care is essential to support long pasterns. Make sure you find a good one. Keep an eye on his heels. Underslung heels can be the kiss of death on a horse with long pasterns.
I second good farrier care, which can actually be quite hard to find at times. Really watch out for the ‘long toe and under run heel’ situation, as that could exacerbate problems. In the same line of thought, I’d read up and learn as much as you possibly can about how to look and evaluate a hoof’s balance. Recognizing a good and a bad trim will help you minimize or prevent any future effects of hoof related issues on the legs. I just ordered this book upon a recommendation and I can say that it is very well written and easy to understand: The Essential Hoof Book: The Complete Modern Guide To Horse Feet - Anatomy, Care And Health, Disease Diagnosis And Treatment. Other than that, I would make sure to gradually condition him to work.
I wouldn’t necessarily buy supplements aimed at improving one area or another. You could unbalanced certain minerals if you provide more of one than the other. Instead, I’d aim at providing a well-balanced diet and once that is done, then you could look at things such as MSM etc. Good nutrition is the basis of everything, including the quality of his hooves and tendon/ligament health. For the best nutrition, I highly recommend testing your hay and having a nutritionalist help you with your horse’s diet or have a company such as horsetech formulate a custom vitamin/mineral supplement to compliment your hay. There are certain minerals that I’ve found can be low, at least in comparison to other minerals in many commercial feeds. Copper is one of them and is part of what helps make ligaments and tendons strong. Copper deficiency impairs collagen crosslink formation. Iron (Fe), copper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn) are interrelated, thus need to be at approximately a 4 Fe: 4 Zn: 1 Cu ratio of each other to work efficiently. Every area can differ in what minerals/ vitamins are high low, so the best way you can ‘fill in the blanks’ is to test your hay and formulate your horse’s diet around that.
There is debate about the booting issue and some research suggests that booting can lead to overheating of the tendons/ligaments and make them more prone to injury. I don’t think it is such a big deal in exercise of lower exertion and cooler days, but I would keep it in mind on hot days and days were he is working hard. Alternatively, there are a few boots out there that are made to be cooler than alternatives. If you are a good wrapper, I recommend the Eskadrom Climatex under wraps. Different types of cooler boots: Equilibrium stretch & flex, Magyk Equipe boots and Premier Equine Air Cooled Boots to name a few.
Icing after harder workouts for 10-15min could be beneficial.
Take care of his feet.
I wouldn’t use a heavy neoprene boot on a horse where I was worried about the potential for soft tissue issues. I’d also spend a lot (lot lot lot) of time educating myself about what a foot should look like and identify a farrier who is not only good but happy to talk you through their process and accept feedback. There are plenty of “good farriers” but they have piss poor communication skills and will dismiss any feedback offered. With a horse at elevated risk for an injury, you cannot afford to have someone part of your horse’s care team who doesn’t have strong communication skills.
Thank you SO MUCH! This was super helpful and I will make sure to look into that book and talk to my farrier!