via the scottish sun: SPORTS SCIENCE has become vitally important in football, rugby, athletics and almost every activity over the last decade or so.
Horse racing is no different with everyone looking for an edge and ways to keep improving.
With that in mind, we have recently invested in an Aqua Treadmill which will hopefully have a significant impact on keeping our horses fit.
We looked at various things we could have done, like installing a swimming pool or adding a new gallop, but after doing our research we decided this was the way to go.
How it works is the treadmill fills with ice-cold salt water up to the horse’s knees while they start off at a walk and gradually build up the pace.
The resistance and elevation means they get a tough workout and the ones we have had on it so far have had a good blow afterwards.
Exercising them in cold water means it’s better for their tendons and joints and also helps build up muscle tone, which we can specifically target according to what each individual needs.
When a horse gallops, you find they tend to just use the same muscles all the time but when they’re asked to train in water they have to use their whole bodies.
By doing that they should become a better, stronger athlete.
The treadmill won’t replace the gallops because that’s the best way to get them fit and we know how to get them up to speed on our woodchip hill.
But what it does allow us to do is really focus on muscle groups and also ease horses who have been injured back to fitness again.
For the horses we already have fully fit, this will maintain it and hopefully take them to a new peak in condition.
I know of a few of these facilities down south – especially in the big centres like Lambourn – but there aren’t many trainers who have their own one in the yard.
Nicky Henderson is someone who does, and he used his to exercise Altior in the days leading up to winning the Champion Chase even though he’d had that small problem with his foot.
One For Arthur was one of the first of our horses to try it out and it will form an important part of his rehab from the tendon injury he suffered six months ago.
He will use it throughout the summer before coming back into full training later in the year with a view to heading back to Aintree again in April 2019.
All being well, he will just have three races next year with the Grand National being the main focus.
It is going to be strange heading to Liverpool this year without a runner in the race after winning it 12 months ago, but that’s racing.
As time goes on you get reflective and the one thing we have all really became aware of is how the National is much more than just winning a race.
Source: the scottish sun | Sports science is vital in horse racing and water treadmill is helping One For Arthur get back to his best, says Lucinda Russell