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  • Side reins
  • Body biulding for horses

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    03-13-2008, 04:37 AM
Body Building!

Alright, the sun is shining again finally!!! Time to put my boy to work! He's had a very easy winter and has lost a ton of muscle. This winter, we mainly worked on flexibility and lengthening his stride at walk & trot...he was very choppy before. His topline is fairly in shape, but his haunches are weak and his neck is so scrawny!

What exercises do you recommend for strengthening the rear end and neck?

I don't really have access to any hills or trails.

I have a big outdoor arena, a medium indoor arena, round pens, jumps, cavaletti, lungeline, etc.
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    03-13-2008, 07:21 AM
Lots of trotting and trot poles leading up to small jumps :) lunging too is good. Maybe with some side reins or a lunging system if you have access to one.
    03-13-2008, 09:14 AM
For the hind: trotting, extended trot, poles, trotting/cantering uphill (works great)

Neck: collection, circles, any type of bending
    03-13-2008, 01:50 PM
Lots of trotting with a goof headset so lunging with side reins and any uphill work always works best
    03-13-2008, 04:44 PM
Yea, you really can't beat jumping for strengthening the rear end can you?
    03-13-2008, 08:24 PM
Wow! I'm happy that a couple of you mentioned going over small jumps to help strengthen his rear end. That's the fun part!!

I wish I had some hills on our property! Grrrrrr

My horse's previous owner worked him with side reins a lot, so I know he's used to them. I just don't have much experience with them, so I've always been a little weary. Maybe I'll give them another try. I'll just have to make sure he continues to move out and not go back to his choppy ways.
    03-13-2008, 11:28 PM
Just be careful with the side reins. You don't want to do them too tight. At first you just want to have them tight enough that they are like your hands but they can stretch if they need to. As he gains more muscle and gets fitter you can tighten them a little but you can do a lot of damage if you do them too tight ;)
    03-14-2008, 05:04 AM
Here's a photo of the side rein length I had been working him with last summer. I have switched to clipping the side reins to the buckles on the girth as opposed to the saddle's D-rings like in the photo. He looks a little behind the vertical in the photo, but it isn't from the side reins as they are not tight in this shot. I think he was just moving around and this was the moment the photo was taken. Anyways, does this length look okay to start off, or should I lengthen the reins?

    03-14-2008, 05:28 AM
I would lengthen them a bit too start with as he is behind the vertical a bit which would mean with his head in the right spot they would probably be a tad tight to start off with. Although ultimately you are looking for a good frame you want to let him be able to stretch out if he wants to to start with. Once he has been working well and starting to strengthen his muscles then he should be right to have them tightened a bit :)

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