Surf and turf: Thoroughbred therapy on Cape Town’s sun-kissed coast
It makes sense that water / beach therapy could help rehabilitate horses as it does for humans. Water offers a means of movement with less stress on joints. Shifting sands will work on little used muscles for more overall strengthening. ~ HfH
(CNN) — Life’s a beach for some of South Africa’s best horses.
Trainer Justin Snaith says a day at Cape Town’s Muizenberg Beach provides the perfect workout for his thoroughbreds before they tough it out on the turf.
“This is the ultimate exercise, for both their mind and body,” Snaith told CNN’s Winning Post show.
“You take them down to the beach and for the first few strides they do their normal routine, which is either to be difficult or pull, and next thing you just watch them take a breath and they just totally relax.
“They certainly get hypnotized by the motion of the water, because you actually find you feel they start leaning as the water starts either going forward or back. All of a sudden you have this horse that is just so relaxed and at the same time, he’s getting the advantages of this lovely clear fresh seawater.”The formula clearly works. Since starting his career 14 years ago, Snaith has followed in the footsteps of his father Chris and become one of the country’s most successful trainers.
Last year, he trained 198 winners, smashing the previous South African annual record of 174. The tally included an unprecedented seven winners in a day at Fairview Racecourse in Port Elizabeth.
With 40 kilometers (25 miles) of white sand stretching along Cape Town’s Atlantic peninsula, Muizenberg is popular with surfers and the odd shark as well as its equine visitors.
It’s all part of a routine that helps the horses arrive at the track relaxed, ready to race and able to “dig that little bit deeper,” Snaith says.