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It has been a productive day. You and your horse were coordinated and you fine-tuned that new exercise together. You’re worn out, and your horse is sweaty and clearly put his heart into the session. Have you ever wondered how you can help your horse after a heavy workout?
Just like us, horses can feel sore the day after exercising. Liniment can help your horse recover after using new muscles, or exercising muscle groups harder than normal. Applying liniment helps your horse the day after a workout, particularly by lessening sore and stiff muscles and preventing inflammation. Liniment increases circulation, so it can also be used to target particularly sore areas by applying it full-strength directly onto their coat. I would avoid open sores since this can cause a stinging sensation.
My stand-by favorite liniment is Vetrolin. It has been around forever, smells amazing, and you only need a little bit diluted in water for it to be effective. Farnam recommends one ounce of Vetrolin for a quart of warm water for a regular post-workout wash. I just take a feed bucket and splash enough to coat the bottom with ½” of Vetrolin, and fill the bucket the rest of the way with warm water.
Even though the water is warm, the sensation will be cool on the muscles once the solution is applied. You will want to start by applying it to their lower legs first, then work your way up on one side to the shoulder, across their chest and up their neck. From there, you can move underneath their belly or up towards their back. Repeat on the other side, but I recommend getting all four of their legs first. It gets their body accustomed to the sensation before hitting any major muscles and causing them any shock upon contact. As a habit, it would be good to at least coat your horse’s legs after every workout, and reserve the full-body wash for the particularly intense workouts.
If you have any left-over (which you probably will), you can store your bucket in the floor of your tack room (a trick I picked up from my trainer) and continue to use the solution until gone. Applying Vetrolin, or any other liniment, is a kind way to end a session with him or her. It helps them recover from soreness more quickly and feel great the next day. Plus it smells d-i-v-i-n-e!
Information gathered from personal experience & Amazon.com. As always, consult your veterinarian before adding anything to your horse care routine.