Non-invasive methods to improve a racehorse

It is normal for all racehorses to work in an intense training environment. They are exposed to daily work levels that keep increasing as part of pre-race training. Although speed is the ultimate goal, it can be a double-edged sword. It can also make them prone to muscle soreness, bruises and knocks among others.

The following therapies are applied regularly to ensure peak condition.

  1. Treadmill
  2. 8-compartment horse walker
  3. E-Trakka Blanket
  4. Game Ready Machine Heart Rate Monitors
  5. Equine inhaler
  6. Equissage Machines Equilibrium Machine Bio Scan Machine

1. Equine Treadmill

The treadmill serves an ideal tool for interval training, with both distance and speed being accurately controlled. Research shows that the inclined treadmill forces the hind limbs to carry more weight and to provide greater propulsion. This is an ideal approach to assist in the muscular development of the hind limbs during training. The level of stress applied, speed and duration of gallops with each work out can be monitored by the use of heart rate monitors or by measurements of blood lactate concentrations.

Nursing of race track injuries such as tendons or joint problems or control the work regime for an overly strong track worker. The treadmill belt has a smooth and consistent surface which provides an opportunity to eliminate injuries from uneven footing.

Improvements in a horse’s fitness can be detected by its exercise and recovery heart rates. Heart rate monitors play an important part of Steven’s treadmill training.

The multi-purpose treadmill traditionally has been used as a research tool or in clinical diagnostic testing. However, with the development of the high-speed treadmill, it has become more popular as a training tool.

 Types of control

  • Intensity
  • Volume
  • Interval

This is a major advantage when doing high-quality galloping work.

Our complex is well equipped with the stable’s own weighing scale, an ice machine and an ice bucket spa. The main stable comprises of 2 storeys. Ground-level is fully air-conditioned and is great for horses that need to acclimatise to Singapore’s tropical heat. At second-level, the boxes are open concept so that horses can see each other. This is useful for horses who fret and need company.

2. Horse walker

Steven gallops 2 to 4 horses daily on the treadmill and looks at all the recovery heart rates to ensure that the horse is improving his condition and not under or overworking during specific workouts.

  • One of the methods of warming up horses prior to work.
  • Prevent injuries to tendons and ligaments by encouraging blood flow to those areas before strenuous exercise.
  • Walking before athletic exercise will improve the oxygen delivery and waste product removal to and from the muscles.
  • All our horses are walked on the walker before they are saddled or worked.
  • Up to 8 horses can exercise simultaneously

Maintaining optimal care
Methodical feeding and regular grooming for the horses are part of the stable care. In addition Julie Burridge ensures that the horses maintain optimal health by adopting up to date non-invasive therapies.

Game Ready System for recovery
Polar Heart Rate Monitor for horse’s fitness

Monitoring the horses’ heart rate can lead to significant improvements in performance, endurance and health. A horse’s heart rate is a reliable indicator of its level of fitness.

The usefulness of continuously seeing a horse’s exercise heart rate comes from the knowledge there is a linear relationship between heart rate and how hard the horse is working. By ‘heart rate auditing’ each of the horse’s training sessions, any change from normality is a possible warning sign that all may be not well.

Working too hard for too long invites injury and fatigue. Working at too low an intensity provides little training benefit.

Using light for a non-invasive Therapy

Together with Equissage, Julie currently uses the more specifically targeted BioScan system for its therapeutic and remedial capacity. The hand-held BioScan light generates photo-dynamic light, tuned to specific frequencies. Cellular tissues absorb this infrared energy, causing a biological response within that cellular tissue, releasing healing enzymes into the cellular structure.

Apart from delivering similar benefits to the Equissage system in terms of increased blood circulation and muscle stimulation, BioScan aids in the repair process, encouraging damaged cells to be replaced more promptly. Tissue granulation, imperative as part of the healing process in wounds, ulcers or general inflammation, is also stimulated and the overall immune response is energized.

Both these easy-to-use portable therapy machines are in constant use in the Burridge stables with up to six to eight horses receiving treatment each afternoon.

Equilibrium Massage Pad for wellness and relaxation

Considered one the of safest forms of physiotherapy available, Equissage is a form of electrical “cycloid” massage delivered through a back pad, a hand-held pack or a leg and tendon boot. The stimulation produced through any of these methods improves local-site blood circulation and venous drainage. It also encourages lymphatic drainage, relaxes muscles and releases tension while increasing joint mobility and improving respiratory conditions. Equissage can be used on both injured and healthy horses alike.

When any of the horses’ nerve or acupressure points are blocked, it leads to poor performance in the shape of shortened strides, head and neck problems, and even possible hip or shoulder lameness. The Equissage back pack is then used to provide muscle and skeletal relief, while simultaneously increase the activity of the circulatory and lymphatic systems. This can be used to warm up a horse and used again post-race to reduce any detrimental build-up of lactic acid or stiffening of muscles and joints.

Used together with the back pad (used for stimulating lymphatic drainage), the hand pack becomes effective on specific muscles and joints. The hoof, especially, benefits as bruising can be minimized and circulation increases to promote healthy hoof growth.

Clinically proven to promote relaxation, improve back flexibility and even increase stride length. Each massage session strokes, vibrates and oscillates, stimulating the muscles – a sensation enjoyed by the horses. At Steven Burridge Racing this is applied on horses who have had a hard race or whom are about to race. It promotes blood flow and horses benefit tremendously from the soothing effect.