When horses are sore, strained, or injured there's one natural therapy that horsemen return to time and time again - ocean therapy.
Has your doctor ever told you to go home and soak sore muscles with Epsom salts? Maybe you've been prescribed pool therapy as part of a rehabilitation program. Or maybe you just like how relaxing a swim in the ocean can be at the end of a stressful day. Ocean therapy is an excellent way to physically heal the body, and it's even used for horses.
The mare in this video received a kick from a herd mate, so her owners turned to ocean therapy to help her heal. Salt water is great for reducing inflammation, cooling the body and reducing swelling, and strengthening muscles without the high impact that occurs when working a horse on hard ground. The act of simply walking this mare in the water is doing her body good, and she's fairly relaxed about the process, too. Take a look.
These aren't the only horse owners who believe in ocean therapy. Racehorses are frequently treated to ocean outings if they're stabled near the ocean, and some horses are even trained in the water at times. Many higher-end barns and rehabilitation facilities have swimming pools designed specifically for horses to help with injuries and rehabilitation. There are even treadmills available which can be filled with water; the horse can walk forward in a flow resembling a current.
If you have an ocean nearby, you may want to try taking your horse for a walk in the water. Before you do, though, check with your vet and make sure that the therapy is right for your horse. Bring along a friend to help you, and be prepared for the fact that many horses are scared of the ocean their first time out.
Make it your goal to get your horse close to the water - if he goes in, that's a bonus. It may take a few trips before your horse has the confidence to walk into the water, and even more time before he'll go in as deep as the mare in this video will. Just keep trying and stay patient; soon your horse may benefit from the ocean's healing capabilities.