Trotting and cantering downhill?

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Trotting and cantering downhill?

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  • Endurance trot or canter
  • Is is bad for your horse to canter downhill

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    06-20-2011, 12:48 PM
Question Trotting and cantering downhill?

I never trotted and cantered down the hill, I figured it's not the best thing for my horses legs, but I was just watching some eventing videos and eventers do that.
Now I'm wondering just how bad it is for horse's legs?

Btw, I'm a trail rider and there are hills and only hills here + I'm without round pen or arena to ride in (I ride in an orchard that is flat, but it's impossible to do any circles or similiar things, because trees are in rows, and it's muddy half a year so then I'm just on trails. It's silly to trot up, stop and walk down then again trot up... It makes me trot up half a minute then walk down 3mins.)
Well I don't want to risk my horse's health
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    06-21-2011, 08:13 PM
Hills can be great and build muscle as long as the horse is in shape for it, the rider is riding properly and you have scoped out the area beforehand to make sure there is nothing the horse can trip on or fall in to. I would strongly suggest you start by walking the hills though. Working on hills is a lot of work for the rider too so if you don't have the muscles for it yourself you will not enjoy it and could potentially injure you or your horse. It takes a lot of abdominal muscles to travel down a hill, you shouldn't just be sitting there like a sack of potatoes and leaning back. Ask any eventer. If your abs arent burning, you aren't balancing properly which is dangerous as you add more speed. The eventers you see on TV have had a LOT of training to keep them safe on XC courses. Hope this helps!
    06-22-2011, 09:09 AM
No it doesnt hurt there legs but I know how you can thinkit does. I canter and trot down hill alot and my hore is fine and healthy.
    06-22-2011, 09:10 AM
I'm so glad you are concerened for your horses health! Most people don't care, it makes me sick
    06-22-2011, 09:52 AM
If the horse and rider are balanced together, hills can work wonders for your horse's muscles.

If they are not balanced then, yes, there is a possibility of doing damage to any part of the horse. The horse could trip or fall and tear or break something.
    06-22-2011, 09:53 AM
Originally Posted by Dusty and Olivia    
i'm so glad you are concerened for your horses health! Most people don't care, it makes me sick
Most people DO care about their horses.

OP, eventers and endurance riders both trot and canter up and down hills. As long as the horse is fit and has been trained to properly work hills, it won't hurt and will actually benefit them in the long run.

Of course, as Gemini stated, the rider also needs to be balanced and in tune with the horse.
    06-22-2011, 10:39 AM
Manca, doing hill work is very benefitial for both horse and rider. Being an Eventer, I do a lot of hill work and a lot of hacking, conditioning is the most important factor to the sport.

When you are going downhill, make sure you are balanced over your horse, slightly behind the verticle, tall, and still functional with your legs to ensure that your horse remains balanced while going down hill. If your horse were to trip, you will be in a great position to remain up top, with your solid lower leg keeping you there.

I'm so glad you are concerened for your horses health! Most people don't care, it makes me sick
I agree, while I wouldn't say most, I would say a lot. I see it on a regular basis, especially with the younger crowd. Not ruling out Adults either. Not because they don't care, but because they just aren't educated....well, and I would say some just really do not care.

I see them show up at the barn, tack up, ride, ride, ride, jump, jump, jump and then throw their horses back out without any concern. They do this on a daily basis. Especially the jumping - the over jumping. I see them "over riding" their horses just because they want to do it, with no concern for where the horse is mentally or physically.

Then their horses go lame, and they wonder why. Then the horse is "disposed" of, and a new one is brought into the picture.
    06-24-2011, 10:41 AM
Thanks for answers :) I was worried it might not be ok for joints and tendons. We already ride in trot (and canter if it's not too steep) up the hill (for 2 month this year), it will be chalenging to try trotting down. I'll start on very flat hill until we will both be balanced and then try more steep ones.
    06-24-2011, 11:09 AM
Super Moderator
Good post, MI.

Just make sure you start hill work slowly. You can injure your horse doing too steep, too long, too fast. Start gradually.

Eventers must be very comfortable galloping down hills. Too many people try to gain time on XC when going uphill, because it is easier to ride. However, it is downhill where you can gain the best time....IF you can balance your horse.
    06-24-2011, 02:58 PM
Thanks for advice, I'll take time :)

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