I just started leasing a 13-yr old dutch wb gelding a few days ago. He didn't get ridden very often before this so he's very out of shape, and I was wondering if anyone had any tips for getting his fat turned back into muscle! Thanks so much :)
Start out slow. There is nothing worse than starting them up too fast. Endurance riders start out with long slow distance work (at a walk) then gradually start trotting over longer and longer distances over weeks. And build up from there.
I agree hills definitely build muscle. But just walk them at first. Then when he starts to feel less winded. Start trotting.
When horse are fatigued they are more prone to injury as there muscles become tired and more stress is placed on tendons to hold the weight.
So start slow.and when he feels tired,rest. Safety of the horse first. :)
It takes weeks for muscles to become fit and even longer for tendons and ligaments and bones are the longest to become denser.
So be careful of deep footing with an unfit horse :)