It’s officially springtime and people everywhere are enjoying their horses after the cold winter months. If you were unable to ride or exercise your horse often during those months you may have found that your horse has “stocked up” in their hind legs. Although I find this to be more common in the springtime and in older horses, it can happen during any season and to any horse.
What does the term “stocked up” refer to? Stocked up is commonly known as edema in their legs due to lack of movement and exercise. Edema is when fluid gathers in the tissues causing swelling from poor circulation. If your horse has been standing for the majority of the winter then you may be experiencing this. There’s no need to fret though, this is very common and there are a few ways to combat it!
First, you can let mother nature take care of it! This means turning your horse out and letting them get some sun and exercise to really get that blood pumping. Avoid putting them back into a stall that restricts their movement.
Second, you can gently massage the area! This is by far my oldest mare’s most favorite option. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good massage? I often find that running some cool water from the garden hose on to her legs while massaging the area gives her great relief.
Now, some people may say that doing a standing wrap will help your horse, but I have found this to be the opposite. Standing wraps force additional pressure to the area and over time the horse can become too dependent on bandaging increasing the edema for the next time they are stocked up. This is only my experience though and if you have found that bandaging works for you, please do what resonates with you the most.
If you deal with a horse that stocks up how do you combat it? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to drop a comment below or message me on my personal Instagram @unbridledmama.