Conditioning and building muscle?
 
 

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Conditioning and building muscle?

This is a discussion on Conditioning and building muscle? within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Does conditioning build muscle
  • How to build muscle on a horse without riding

 
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    02-02-2012, 08:36 AM
  #1
Foal
Conditioning and building muscle?

I bought my horse in the beginning of December and when he arrived, he hadn't been ridden in 4 months - his physical condition is poor. By that, I don't mean neglected (in terms of food or care), but he has no muscle tone, is out of shape and is pretty stiff.

So my questions are these:

How many days a week (and for how long) do you think he should be ridden to improve?

What are some good ways to condition him and build muscle in him?
     
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    02-02-2012, 03:51 PM
  #2
Weanling
My mare was the same way when I bought her. The vet said to start each session with 20 minutes of walking. Then move on to 20 minutes of trotting and some cantering, then 20 minutes of walking to cool off. I rode her about 3 days a week at first with plent of turnout. Also, be sure not to do too many circles since they can be hard on the joints, especially when the horse doesn't have much muscle. Hope this helps!
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    02-02-2012, 05:09 PM
  #3
Showing
This should get you started: HorseHelp: Building up your horses back, In-hand and Under Saddle

Keep sessions short, start with ground work. Then move to lunge work (minimal) and then start riding her (you can do a mix mash of all options, but keep the riding sessions short and easy to start with.)

Think about it this way. Imagine you are going to take part of a triathlon. You wouldn't succeed without conditioning and training. Now you don't just start out biking 10 miles or whatnot one day and then running 15 miles the next day, etc. You start off maybe walking 30 minutes, and then build up to an hour over time, then maybe go to the gym and do some leg presses or swim or something. Over time you build up to do a triathlon (and I'm not knowledgeable in this area so forgive me!)

So now you have a horse. They need muscle in order to become better and more balanced and whatnot.

Start small, work on belly lifts and ground stretches/yielding. Then move onto walking. Walking over poles, in circles, serpentines, on trails (start a short distance, and increase) up and down hills. Then move to trotting. Trotting over poles, circles, serpentines, up hills, down hills (carefully.) Then work in a few sessions of cantering. I'd start asking for that canter on the ground without weight on the back so the horse can figure out its balance. Then over time, add in more cantering. Then once the horse is balanced on the ground, hop on and walk, trot, canter.

Shorter more frequent sessions are better than long sessions.
     
    02-06-2012, 07:49 AM
  #4
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
This should get you started: HorseHelp: Building up your horses back, In-hand and Under Saddle

Keep sessions short, start with ground work. Then move to lunge work (minimal) and then start riding her (you can do a mix mash of all options, but keep the riding sessions short and easy to start with.)

Think about it this way. Imagine you are going to take part of a triathlon. You wouldn't succeed without conditioning and training. Now you don't just start out biking 10 miles or whatnot one day and then running 15 miles the next day, etc. You start off maybe walking 30 minutes, and then build up to an hour over time, then maybe go to the gym and do some leg presses or swim or something. Over time you build up to do a triathlon (and I'm not knowledgeable in this area so forgive me!)

So now you have a horse. They need muscle in order to become better and more balanced and whatnot.

Start small, work on belly lifts and ground stretches/yielding. Then move onto walking. Walking over poles, in circles, serpentines, on trails (start a short distance, and increase) up and down hills. Then move to trotting. Trotting over poles, circles, serpentines, up hills, down hills (carefully.) Then work in a few sessions of cantering. I'd start asking for that canter on the ground without weight on the back so the horse can figure out its balance. Then over time, add in more cantering. Then once the horse is balanced on the ground, hop on and walk, trot, canter.

Shorter more frequent sessions are better than long sessions.
Thanks for the info, guys!

What do you consider a short distance? 1 mile? 20 minutes?
Yesterday, I rode him from his barn to my house, which is 3/4 of a mile, one way. Is that too long?
     
    02-06-2012, 11:52 AM
  #5
Showing
It changes for each horse but if they can handle 3/4 of a mile one way, then that's fine OP
     

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