Building Muscle and Endurance Help

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Building Muscle and Endurance Help

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  • From building horse muscle to endurance work
  • How to build muscle and endurance for horses

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    11-24-2009, 05:09 PM
Building Muscle and Endurance Help

Dixie was given to me last Spring. She had a bad case of summer pasture heaves so I was unable to do anything with her. Now that the weather is changing, she's breathing pretty well and the vet said to go ahead and start giving her some work.

I just started lunging her today. She's very rusty and acts like I am going to hurt her (I don't know much about her background or what other people may have done to her. I do know that I have to work very calmly and slowly around her and then she responds well to me).

Anyway, does anyone have an idea on how to develope some back muscles on her by lunging exercise. Also what is best as far as building up endurance for her lung capacity.

She is 14 years old. We have no hills. Would small jumps help?
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    11-24-2009, 05:38 PM
Walk, walk and more walk.
Keep walking, even if there aren't hills.
Walk her on a free rein, walk her on a loose rein, walk her in a frame, walk her in a shoulder fore, walk her in a shallow leg yield, walk her in a serpentine even.
Just keep walking.
It will help her lungs to adjust to work, it will strengthen her muscles, and also give her joints time to adapt back to getting worked.
Walking is so often overlooked! I walk my fit horse for at least 30 minutes every 45min-65min long ride.
    11-24-2009, 06:18 PM
I'm bring an old tb back into work after 12 months off for my dear old dad to ride. As anabel said, just walking. The first few weeks I just walked him everywhere. It helps because he is in a large, sloping paddock 24/7 so he build up alot of muscle from that, and fitness also so he did alot of my job for me. I then started lunging him in trot for 10mins a day, switching rein every couple of minutes and alternating the size of the circle. For me the most important thing was that he was stepping under with his inside hind and really using his back.
Because he has been so beautifully educated by his previous rider, I was able to put fairly loose sidereins on him and get his really stretching into that contact, now under saddle he is beautifull!
    11-24-2009, 06:28 PM
Not sure how to walk her. She will only trot on the line at this point. I am not yet able to ride her (not ready myself to get up there, need more time working with her to see how she will react... I'm too old to fall off!!) I can't physically walk her for 30 minutes (arthritis in my feet) would prefer to lunge/walk her. I guess I'll have to work on getting her to walk on the line and go from there. Thanks!
    11-24-2009, 07:55 PM
Practical Horseman had an eventing article about a month or two ago. I think it was Jim Wofford. Anyway, his theory is plain and simple.

Walk for muscle
Trot for balance
Canter for endurance

It might take awhile to get her to understand that you want her to walk on the lunge, but a good energetic, engaged walk will go a long way toward building muscle. Maybe you can longe her out in a field where the ground is uneven. It will do more good than on completely flat ground.
    11-24-2009, 08:01 PM
My field is pretty flat but there are a couple of uneven spots where the ground is lower, so I'll try that. I guess our goal will be learning to WALK on the lunge line :)

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