Kinesiology Tape: Helping Riders and Horses Stay Injury Free
In many ways horses are like their riders. Both need their muscles, tendons and joints to be in a healthy condition to lead a happy and active life. In recent years it has been a common sight to see athletes and horses in competition covered in brightly colored tape. This tape is known as kinesiology tape or Kinesio tape and they are helping prevent serious injury both in professional arenas and out in the fields.
Tri-State Livestock revealed that Kinesio tape was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase who worked as an acupuncturist and chiropractor in the US and Japan. According to the website, the tape can be used by “both two-legged and four-legged patients – for two primary objectives: first as a training application to prevent injury, and second, to support rehabilitation and recovery in a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular and neurological conditions.” The tape works by lifting the skin to allow for increased circulation, which improves lymphatic drainage and decreases inflammation.
Speaking to the Paulick Report, Dr. Dana Stead, veterinarian at Del Mar, compared horses to Olympic athletes. After showing journalists the horses at Del Mar, Dr. Stead said “virtually none of these horses are 100% perfect physically. They are all eligible to have their little aches and pains. No athlete is physically perfect. Look at our Olympic athletes now. You see a lot of them covered in kinesiology tape. When you race and you train, issues arise. Athletes work through those issues; it’s the nature of competing.” For both riders and horses kinesiology tape is one of the quickest ways to recover from injury without putting too much stress on the muscles. Breaking Muscle explains that this is due to the fact that kinesiology tape still allows for range of motion while also stabilizing. This quickens recovery for riders and horses as the muscle can be gently rehabilitated while training and riding. During events it can also act as band-aid allowing the rider to continue to compete if they injure themselves mid-competition.
The benefits of kinesiology tape for riders can be numerous. In an interview with kinesiology tape brand Rock Tape, Lauren Billys explained why she used the tape for her equestrian activities. She told Rock Tape “I use Rock Tape on myself for posture correction, teaching my body to change its compensation to facilitate more a balanced use of my body.” Billys has had four knee surgeries and uses the tape to support her injuries. Incorrect posture is a common problem when riding horses that can cause muscle pain as the body over compensates. As Billys shows, kinesiology tape can be used to prevent injury and improve your riding as well as injury recovery.
Muscle sprains and tendon injuries are common for both riders and horses. Just this year, Betfair who preview events such as the famous Grand National, reported that Don Cassack, one of racing’s most successful horses was retired due to a leg injury. The site noted that the trainer had found a bit of heat in his leg and instantly retired the horse. Leg injuries are very common and this example shows how quickly a healthy horse can become injured. In order to give a horse the best chance to get back on the track trainer’s use rehabilitation tape such as kinesiology tape. Whether the horse is used for recreational purposes or is a thoroughbred racing horse preventing injury and aiding recovery is key to insuring that a horse is ready for heavy riding. Kinesiology tape is one of the best ways to maintain animal, and rider, health.