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If there is anyone that can talk about hot horses on a hack, it is me.  My horse Shandy was a complete nightmare on hacks.  He would attem...

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

How to Keep Your Horse Fit During Winter

Tip Number 1 

Keep your horse in the field for longer each day!  This is great for two reasons, it is better for the horse in general and will keep the horse warmed up for you so you end up riding for less time.

This is obviously important for all year round but equestrians tend to keep their horses in for longer in the winter (they aren't meant to stand still for hours and hours).

Secondly, a horse that is outside walking around all day will be more fit than a horse that stands in a stable all day and only gets out to be ridden.

Tip Number 2 

Use lunging to give the horse some work.  Now, this is going to take much less time than most rides IF the horse is working properly over the back, balances his weight over all four hooves (instead of on being on the front hand) and stretches into the contact.

If your horse can't do this first you shouldn't be riding the horse until you establish this and secondly it will take much longer to start stretching and learn how to lift the back.

I have had comments saying 'so cramming a horse into a lunging device and making him go round and round so you don't have to exercise the horse for so long?' well no.  A correct fit of a lunging system or side reins should let the horse stretch right down and be quite loose.  It helps to have to horse learn to seek contact and help them lift the back.  A lunging system fitted correctly will HELP the horse.

Tip Number 3 

Keep an eye on weather, ground hardness and temperature.

With the weather, you need to find the time of the day that the weather clears up.  Ground hardness is important because the frozen ground is too hard to ride on but if the ground is soaking wet is can be too slippy.  Obviously, try to ride in the winter when the temperature is at the highest for that day.

Overall, you may not exercise your horse as much in the winter but if you plan well then your horse should stay pretty fit.


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