Overloading of the horse's joints

The equine musculoskeletal system is an organ system consisting of the bones, joints, muscles, tendons and hooves. These structures are constantly under stress as the horse moves and as we use it in riding and driving.

When training the horse, the musculoskeletal system is subjected to a repetitive load that adapts by restructuring the tissues. This causes a breakdown of the tissue, a 'micro-injury', which in most cases heals by the formation of new tissue.
In this way, the structures adapt and make the connective tissue stronger and more adapted for further training.

The balance between training and load that is positive for the musculoskeletal system and the horse must be carefully considered depending on a number of factors such as the horse's age, genetic condition, how it moves, how it is fed and the surface on which it is ridden.

If there is an overload of the musculoskeletal system in connection with too hard training over a long period of time and which is not adapted to the individual, the micro-injury does not heal but results in wear and tear. In the long term, there is a risk of chronic injury.  
In a healthy joint, the synovial fluid and cartilage contain a high concentration of high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid.

The molecule is composed of long sugar units that form long chains and bind large amounts of water into a complex network. In the healthy joint, hyaluronic acid plays a major role in the nutrient exchange of the articular cartilage, but it also binds to the joint surface like a plaster and reduces friction between the joint surfaces by acting as a shock absorber. Studies of horses in training have shown that the length of the chains is reduced, leading to a shortening of the hyaluronic acid molecules. This leads to a reduction in the beneficial effect of hyaluronic acid in the joint.

Oral supplementation with high-molecular hyaluronic acid promotes the recovery of strained joints.