The ‘gums’ of the horse are a good point to take into account as far as an indicator of health and general condition.
The gums of the horse are where we can do a blood circulation test by putting pressure on the gum for a minute, then removing the finger and waiting to see how long it returns to normal colour. This is what I have called a Capillary Refill Test Time.
This takes place when the capillaries replenish the blood to the gums. When the time-span is quick all is ok, when it takes a while you can realize the total blood circulation of the horse body is not as good as it should be.
Normally after a good massage treatment the blood circulation always improves. This can be seen by doing the CRTT or ‘gum-test’, and it’s a good idea to do this before you commence your work to see the difference before and after the massage.
Muscle tension and fatigue can have a lot of differing effects on the health of the horse especially with blood circulation and the number of side effects it can have when it’s not at its best or optimum function.