Dressage places unique demands on the tendons, ligaments, fascia and muscle
The exquisite control and at times suspension required of a dressage horse seems effortless during a good performance but in reality requires tremendous muscular strength, nervous system coordination and strain on tendons and ligaments.
When we think about problems with performance horses, joints immediately come to mind. Dressage horses are no strangers to joint problems but the possibilities go beyond that.
Whether exercise-related muscle strain or an inherent issue with muscle metabolism and performance, muscle is a common reason behind a variety of performance issues including poor endurance, resistance and inability to progress in training milestones. Before assuming the horse “doesn’t have what it takes” consider support for muscular function. You’ll know in a month or less if it’s going to help.
The connective tissues tendon and ligament are strong and resistant to damage but the high demands put on tissues like the hind limb suspensory ligament in dressage horses can begin to cause injury. High demands on the tissue means higher specific nutritional requirements. The fascial sheaths throughout the body encircling both muscles and tendons/ligaments are also a form of connective tissue. They used to be considered inert but recent research is showing fascia can actually contract and sustained contraction can interfere considerably with muscle, tendon and ligament function https://www.fvpt.com/myofascial-release .
Working muscle has higher demands than the regular diet may be able to meet. The correct support in the form of muscle EQ will show you within the first month if that is the issue https://uckele.com/articles/the-science-behind-muscle-eq-horse-supplements/ . Tendon and ligament exercise-related issues can also be difficult to pinpoint. Targeted nutrition can help here too https://uckele.com/articles/the-science-behind-tendon-eq/ .
Eleanor Kellon, VMD