What is a tendon?

Tendons are a part of the musculoskeletal system of the horse. They are responsible for stretching and contracting. This disperses the concussive forces that the skeletal system encounters.

Because of this, it is extremely important to focus on the fitness and conditioning of your horse. It is important to condition the horse slowly. Combine both slow and fast work into your training program. While bone tissue takes the longest to develop, tendons also require a lengthy conditioning time. Read below for some of the most important facts about tendons and how to protect them!


Tendon Actions

Tendons connect muscles to bones.

Because tendons are responsible for connecting muscles to bones, they are more elastic than ligaments. (Read more on “What is a ligament?” in our blog).

Muscles often develop more quickly than any other body part. So, it is important to condition your horse for both muscle and tendon strength. This could mean working your horse on different footing (soft vs concussive) etc. It is important to have the tendons gain strength and elasticity. During the process, the muscles gain both size and strength. 

Tendons stretch and contract to help disperse the concussive forces the skeletal system encounters.

The tendon itself is like a rope or a ribbon that is contained within the tendon sheath. Described as a thick and tough fibrous outer covering, the covering contains synovial fluid for lubrication.

When damaged tendons are elastically compromised they become prone to re-injury.

Similar to ligaments, once a tendon experiences stress or tearing, it is prone to happen again. Because of these attributes, it is extremely important to condition your horse correctly for the level of fitness needed for its daily job/exercise.

*All information has been sourced from the USHJA Trainer Certification Manual and Study Guide– IF you have any serious inquiries about your horse’s health and wellness please content your veterinarian immediately. *

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