All you need to know about horse walkers
Find out the many benefits of using a horse walker
For many, a horse walker is considered a luxury item rather than a necessity but for some horse owners they are an essential piece of yard equipment and if used correctly can provide excellent benefits.
A horse walker is excellent for warming up horses prior to work, cooling down after work and providing a form of exercise should turnout be an issue. They can be very useful for introducing gentle work to horses or ponies that have been out of work due to injury as they enable the muscles to be built up without the restriction and weight that a rider poses. Bringing a horse back into work after box rest or time off for any reason can potentially be dangerous for both the horse and rider as excitement levels are likely to be high, so introducing work gradually is wise. Using a horse walker for this purpose is ideal as not only can work be initiated gradually but it also avoids walking out on the roads.
Most types of walker are hydraulically driven with no requirement for electricity to be in with the horses. This type of walker can be manually operated or electronically controlled for greater accuracy. There are a couple of options available for the surface – any all weather arena surface can be used if you intend to only use it for walking however bear in mind that loose surfaces such as sand will move with use and can become deep so will require a fair amount of maintenance. Waxed surfaces will be a lot more stable but they also present the problem of droppings getting trodden in – this type of surface will however be better on larger walkers where horses are likely to be trotting or cantering.
Rubber floors offer the best surface for a horse walker which is only going to be used in walk. This is because they offer a level, consistent surface with ample ‘give’ to prevent concussion and also allow the horse’s foot to move naturally as it hits the ground. These surfaces are also far easier to keep clean as the droppings can be swept out and the track easily hosed down to keep the environment healthy for horses using the walker.