My TB needs to gain muscle .. suggestions?!

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My TB needs to gain muscle .. suggestions?!

This is a discussion on My TB needs to gain muscle .. suggestions?! within the Jumping forums, part of the English Riding category
  • How to build muscle on my horse
  • Muscle gain on a horse

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  • 1 Post By showjumper09
  • 1 Post By heymckate

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    11-12-2012, 12:31 PM
Unhappy My TB needs to gain muscle .. suggestions?!

I bought a 15 yo OTTB last month and he hasn't been worked since last summer. I know that TB are more "ribby" than other breeds but I felt he was underweight and he's also lacking hind muscle that he used to have. (I previously leased him so I know what he used to look like).

I've been doing small grids/gymnastics excersizes, he free lunges but is scared to death of lunge whips. I work him every day for about 1-2 hrs. We've jumped some, worked flatwork ALOT, tried some dressage excersizes, and i've seen just a tiny bit of change in his muscle tone.

How long will it be until I will see the difference? What can I do to help improve and strengthen him back up?
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    11-12-2012, 12:41 PM
What is he getting in terms of feed? If he's working off all the food, his body simply won't have enough reserves to produce muscle. 1-2 hours of riding a day is a LOT of work; I'd suggest cutting back on the amount of exercise. I bet he's burning off those calories very quickly and his body simply cannot build muscle as it isn't getting enough.
My horse is in a performance amount of work at 5 days a week, and 2 of those rides are just lighter conditioning rides, around 30 mins. He gets a crapton of hay as well as grain and a "multivitamin" supplement.
    11-12-2012, 12:47 PM
A picture may be helpful to determine if and where he needs to gain muscle.

Anyway, if he hasn't been worked since last summer and you're working him 1-2 hours daily, depending on his current muscle tone which it sounds like there's not much off, he's probably being overworked. I'd suggest setting a schedule with weekly goals.

Was this horse ever raced? Are you able to ride at least 5 days a week? What sort of arena/riding areas do you have access to? Are you working with a trainer? What are you hoping to do with this horse?

Those are just a few questions I'd keep in mind with making a schedule. If you'd like I'd be more than happy to help you with making one, I've used this method with a lot of young horses in the past. Good luck!
themacpack likes this.
    11-12-2012, 01:07 PM
I agree that you might be overworking him a bit. Maybe cut back a little bit--horses are just like humans, and their muscles do need some recovery time. Giving him several days off a week will really help.

What are you feeding him? Depending on what he's getting, you might need to add some supplements. You might check into rice bran--my OTTB has greatly benefited from it, gaining both fat and muscle. Beet pulp might be another option to consider.
Nikkibella likes this.
    11-14-2012, 12:22 AM
I would lunge him in a chambon (not more than 20 minutes per day).

Also, when doing flatwork, make sure he is ALWAYS in a good outline and tracking up.

You should see results between 2-6 weeks.
    11-14-2012, 02:18 AM
Do lots of long trotting
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