Back in the saddle

horse competing

Now that show season is up and running, we are all thrilled to be back in the saddle. Others are looking forward to a casual ride in the forest or maybe some lessons. Here are some tips to tune up your horse for more quality riding time.

When starting your horse back in work, it may be a bit out of shape after extended time off. Slowly bring it back into work or it may come up sore. Sometimes even a short “rehab” type program is beneficial, especially in the older, unfit group. Take time to warm up your horse properly at the start of your ride. If your horse is still feeling unfit or at all unsound, then schedule a check-up with your vet.

Acupuncture & Chiropractic:

These treatments help put your horse’s body back in balance so they can have improved health and performance. Veterinary medical acupuncture benefits your horse by combining western medicine and offering insight into the whole patient. It can benefit any horse, especially those with muscle soreness. The goals of chiropractic treatment are to restore normal joint motion, stimulate nerve reflexes and reduce pain and abnormally increased muscle tone. It is important to have a trained professional perform these to recognize when there is an injury and therefore a different avenue and treatment plan will be recommended.

Joint supplements:

Even if your horse is young and has not had any previous problems, a joint supplement can still be beneficial to keep its joints healthy. Your vet can also perform a soundness exam, which includes flexions to pinpoint if any particular joint is at risk of bothering your horse, and help you with a personalized plan that can help prevent future lameness problems.

Horse vaccine


It is important to make sure your horse is up to date on vaccines if it is in close contact with others. Some vaccines such as equine strangles need a booster series and therefore it is recommended to have the final vaccine before exposure to other horses.


We recommend performing a faecal egg count on your horse prior to deworming. This helps identify and prevent worm resistance to drench product and can help your vet with forming an individualized worming plan for your horses. We have seen many horses with high faecal egg counts this season. Horses don’t always look “wormy” when they are “due” and often horses with high worm burden don’t show outward signs of it.


It is important to get your horse’s teeth checked at least once a year by a qualified professional. A complete oral exam with mirrors is necessary to spot minor details that might be causing your horse pain. Signs that your horse might have a dental problem include dropping feed, chewing funny, reluctance to collect or go forward under saddle, or headshaking.

At Franklin Vets our goal is to keep your horse happy and healthy and we are here to answer any questions you may have. Phone 09 238 2471.

Dr Kendra McLeod, DVM


Franklin Vets

Franklin Vets - excellence in veterinary care for dairy, farming, lifestyle, equine and household pets. BESTPRACTICE ACCREDITED NZ.