Q: My mare has osteoarthritis in her hocks, which can make some schooling difficult for her. I want to maintain her fitness, without stressing her joints or making her arthritis flare. Do you have any advice for how best to achieve this?
A: Osteoarthitis is a condition that commonly affects older horses, but it doesn’t have to mark the end of their career. Just chat to your vet and see if they feel that you are doing all you can to keep her joints healthy, and check if they have any advice on the kind of exercise she will benefit from before you begin. There are lots of general ways that you can protect your mare and keep her fit enough to manage her workload, but make sure you get specific advice from your vet for your mare’s particular situation. Osteoarthritis does not present in the same way in all horses, or affect them all similarly. Bear this in mind, but general principles for schooling a horse with osteoarthritis are as follows: