How to start getting a senior horse back into shape?
Hey guys! I just wanted everyone's opinions on the best way to get a horse back into shape. My horse is a 21 year old Appendix QH who hasn't been ridden regularly since at least April. I'm planning on getting back in the saddle and getting him and I back into shape, but I'm just wondering where I should start.
He knows everything pretty well. I ride english and would like to work toward some jumping lessons at our new barn. I've never jumped before (but my horse has once or twice), although I've ridden for many years and have a good seat, etc. Any exercises you guys might recommend to get us safely to the level of fitness that would be required for an out of shape 21-year-old horse to be ready to jump?
Also, I understand that jumping can be more stressful on an older horse, so I am willing to take every precaution necessary to keep him sound and comfortable. I've been assured by the woman that I will take lessons from in the future that we can start slow and with a lot of ground work (I'm assuming poles and cavaletti). I will not jump if it causes my horse pain, obviously.
Sooo, any suggestions, tips, exercises, what to work on first, etc?
PS. Thanks in advance :)