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12 juni 2023 Reading time 2 minutes

Muscle pain? Here's what you can do!

Muscle pain, or muscle acidification in horses, is often a result of (too) intensive training. With these tips, you can quickly recognise sore muscles in your horse and know how to prevent it happening.

What is the difference between muscle soreness and muscle acidification in horses?

Neither is pleasant for your horse, but sore muscles are different from muscle acidification. With muscle soreness, tears occur in the muscle fibre due to (too) intensive training. The muscle cell also forms lactic acid, causing the muscles to acidify slightly. Lactic acid forms when too much is asked of the muscles. With muscle acidification, so much lactic acid is formed that the muscles acidify to such an extent that the pH in the muscles drops. Muscle acidification can be detrimental to your horse's health, so it is important to take good care and prevent it happening as much as possible. 

Another painful muscle condition in horses is muscle ptosis. Muscle soreness is usually caused by metabolic disease, excess sugars and starches or very intensive training.

How long does muscle soreness last?

Just like in humans, horses can still have muscle soreness up to a few days after intensive training. However, if it takes longer to heal and your horse is still sore after three days, it is wise to consult your vet.

How do you know that a horse has muscle pain?

You can recognise muscle pain and muscle acidification in a horse by a number of symptoms. And while muscle pain is, therefore, slightly different from muscle acidification, you won't see any real clear differences in symptoms. A horse suffering from muscle soreness: 

  • Takes shorter strides than normal when you take him out of the pasture or stall 
  • Reacts more violently to the touch of a brush while brushing 
  • Feels stiff when riding and holds on more/ struggles to relax 
  • May resist more during training, as certain movements or exercises may be painful   

How does muscle pain occur in horses?

Movement of your horse is made possible by a cooperation between tendons, ligaments and muscles. Muscles are the most flexible of this group. If a horse's training is built up very quickly, there is a chance that the muscles will pull on the ligaments and tendons, so to speak, because they are less flexible. This hurts the muscles or creates muscle pain. If a muscle has to work very hard, there is also a chance of acidification. During heavy exercise a muscle needs extra energy and, to get that energy, fuel is consumed. The consumption of fuel produces waste products that accumulate in the muscle causing acidification. 

Which supplement helps with muscle pain in your horse?

If your horse generally suffers from stiffness and muscle soreness after (heavy) exercise, a nutritional supplement can help provide extra support to the muscles. Nutrients such as vitamin E, selenium, magnesium and antioxidants help keep muscles supple. The supplement Pavo Eplus contains all these ingredients and works preventively for muscle stiffness and helps prevent sore muscles after intensive training.  If you want to preventively give the muscles a little extra to stay supple, this is a perfect supplement during intensive training and the competition season. 

Horses that exert heavy effort are prone to muscle acidification, or horses that perform irregular work may benefit from some more intensive muscle care. For these horses, the supplement Pavo MuscleCare can offer extra support. This supplement takes care of sore and stiff muscles after (heavy) effort by breaking down and removing the built-up waste in the muscles more quickly.

Tips for preventing muscle soreness in your horse

Always start your training with a good warm-up and finish with a cooling down; 

  • During cooling down, it is important that your horse does not cool down too quickly. When the muscles stay warm, blood flow stays good and the muscle recovers better. So, if it is very cold, stepping out with a fleece blanket is recommended; 
  • Train your horse regularly so that he is in good condition and build this up slowly. As a horse gains endurance through training, he will suffer less from muscle soreness;  
  • Adapt the feed to your horse's efforts and provide extra support to your horse's muscles with a muscle supplement, such as Pavo Eplus (preventive effect) or Pavo MuscleCare (nurturing effect). 

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