What’s your horse’s show schedule like? Do you compete on back-to-back weekends? If so, it might be time to rethink that pattern—at least for show jumping horses. Results from a new Italian study suggest that five days aren’t enough for these competition horses to recover from their physical efforts. And the effects could be detrimental to their performance, health, and welfare.
The physical stress of athletic effort during competitions causes metabolic changes in muscle enzymes, leading to a fatigue that just gets compounded if the muscles can’t rest enough, said Giuseppe Piccione, PhD, of the Department of Veterinary Sciences in the University of Messina, Polo Universitario dell’Annunziata, in Messina.
“The findings obtained in our study point out that two jumping sessions over two weekends in a row were temporally too close and did not allow horses adequate muscle recovery,” Piccione said.