Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
There is nothing that will replace good old fashioned muscle workouts. You could try more intensive workouts while you can get out and ride, that is, build up to a longer riding/training session and keep him there.
Working him up and down hills, crosstraining (like doing some little jumps, or raised trot poles, barrel racing, etc, getting him using different muscle groups), and lots of trotting on the bit, now hollow, will get him fit.
However, just like with humans, you can only keep up a level of fitness if you keep it up - if you slack off, and he isn't getting exercise, then he will not keep fit.
Another way is just getting a horse to work in liberty - that is, someone asking him to go through his paces, but not with a rider on him - a good forward trot and an even steady canter will be your best friend. Freejumping is also a wonderful way to build muscle.
Can you get someone to work him for you? What about a hot-walker?
Unfortunately with muscles, if you don't use 'em, you lose 'em.
The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography cvlphotography.com