Hello, forum :)
Tonight I was browsing horse sites and the forum (as usual) and after reading some threads about horse fitness, it occurred to me that I really need to get myself and Sammy into some kind of schedule. One thing I read that stuck with me was where someone said that just because a horse is a healthy weight and doesn't get winded when worked, it doesn't mean he's fit. The person compared it to a person who eats right and does a little cardio but then once a month to the gym for heavy weight-lifting — that day isn't doing anything but making him sore because his body isn't conditioned for it.
I've had Sam for two months, and between the "settling in" week and a few (non-consecutive) weeks off because of lameness, all the riding I've done total is probably 15 30-minute sessions of W/T "work." And before I got him, he was a pasture pet for at least a year. When I bought him, he hadn't been ridden in two months, and that was the first time for a while before that.
Sooo...I want to come up with some sort of rough plan for getting us in shape. Do you guys have any recommendations?
I'm thinking maybe I will commit to working him in some way 6 days per week, comprised of a mix of days of W/T and longeing plus some in-hand walking on the trails.
And what about short mounted walks on the trail? Would walking on the (very slight) hills help build muscle without being strenuous?
Also, what about long-line work? I don't know how to do it, but I could learn. Is there any benefit to long-lining with a horse who's already been rideable for years?
Any advice on gently bringing a 10-year-old out of retirement?