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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...

Monday, 23 April 2018

5 Exercises To Create a Fitter And Stronger Horse

Your horse is an athlete and needs to be kept fit while your riding him.  Truth fitness is using lots of exercises to slowing build muscle.  

1.  Raised Trotting Poles

Raised trotting poles are a great way to build muscle on the top-line, shoulders and back end.  It also helps to get your horse more flexible and able to lift his legs over jumps.  Set up the usual trotting poles (around 3-7 poles) with jump standards on one side of each pole alternating to opposite sides.

2.  Interval Training

Also called gallop sets, this is a set of gaits created it raise the heartbeat to a peak then bring it back down slowly.  The usual pattern for a fit horse is walk - 10 minutes, trot - 10 minutes, canter - 5 minutes, trot - 10 minutes and walk - 10 minutes.

The pattern that would be appropriate for an unfit horse would be walk for 10 minutes, 3 minutes trot, 1-minute canter, 3 minutes trot and 10 minutes walk.  Then when you feel your horse is doing that pretty well for a few workouts, slowly increase the trot and canter by 1-2 minutes every week.

3.  Hill Work

Hill work is great for horses to create muscle, strength and endurance.  Remember that going down the hill is an important part of the workout!  Hill work also helps get the horse more balanced.  Start will some small hills and only go up and down a few times.

You can slowly increase the steepness of the hill and the duration as your horse gets fitter.

4.  Grid Work

Gridwork is great for every horse!  You don't have to be a jumper for grid work to be beneficial for you and your horse.  It helps with suppleness, stamina and strength for your horse and also helps you with quick reactions, aids and fitness.

5.  Work on Different Ground

This is so important and a lot of people do not know this.  You should always try to work your horse on different ground.  So for example, I will ride in the riding school, on grass, on-road, on gravel and even walk through small streams.  This really helps to develop strong muscles and bones in the horse's legs which helps stop injuries.

Just remember to check that the ground is not too hard or dangerous.


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