Conditioning an out-of-work horse - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 07-16-2013, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Conditioning an out-of-work horse

Hey all,
I am considering purchasing the gelding below (provided the vet check goes well) and am wondering what my conditioning regimen might be. I certainly want to focus on his topline, but should I be working on strengthening other muscles first? He's a trail horse now but I'd like to eventually have him going English. Also, tips on his nutrition? I believe his owner currently feeds him 12% sweet feed and he is out to pasture. Not sure about hay.

Thanks all!
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-16-2013, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Shoot, this thread is probably in the wrong topic. Should be in Horse Health.
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-16-2013, 02:29 PM
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Any riding at all is going to condition him if he has been sitting. Increase the amount of time you trot and lope him every time you ride, walk up and down some hills, and get him off that sweet feed!
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-16-2013, 02:31 PM
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If you're wanting him to get in shape, having him out on pasture 24/7 is not a way to lose weight. Put him on grass hay or a grass/alfalfa mix so you can ration out his food. We feed ours 3 times a day in smaller portions (but most people do not have the time to do this)...
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-16-2013, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowgirlnay View Post
If you're wanting him to get in shape, having him out on pasture 24/7 is not a way to lose weight. Put him on grass hay or a grass/alfalfa mix so you can ration out his food. We feed ours 3 times a day in smaller portions (but most people do not have the time to do this)...
He probably won't be out 24/7 if I buy him but I'm not necessarily concentrating on him losing weight; I want to build up his muscle. I'm not sure if decreasing his feed and increasing his exercise so suddenly is the best idea for him. Maybe switching from basic sweet feed to something else rather than cutting it out of his diet entirely would be a better idea?
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-16-2013, 03:27 PM
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I'm a fan of Triple Crown Lite. You feed a small amount, but get all the nutrients you need. Ration balancers are also a nice idea.

I would start with long walks. Walk for an hour, every other day. After about a week, add a five minute trot twice during your walk with a break between. For a total trotting time of 10 minutes. Do this for a week. If he isn't struggling, increase the time of your trots. Add some cantering when you think he's ready. Build him up slowly.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-16-2013, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Brighteyes View Post
I'm a fan of Triple Crown Lite. You feed a small amount, but get all the nutrients you need. Ration balancers are also a nice idea.

I would start with long walks. Walk for an hour, every other day. After about a week, add a five minute trot twice during your walk with a break between. For a total trotting time of 10 minutes. Do this for a week. If he isn't struggling, increase the time of your trots. Add some cantering when you think he's ready. Build him up slowly.
Thank you! Based on what I've seen already, he enjoys work and is happy to do what I ask. I just want to be assured that it won't be an impossible task to get him in shape and moving nicely. :)
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-16-2013, 06:10 PM
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Oh yeah, obviously don't overwork him - just see what he can handle. If he's breathing hard and lathered up after trotting for a few minutes, obviously take it easy and work your way up - it'll take a couple months for a horse to get "in shape". I don't know where you live, but we have tons of great hills in the orchards around here that are perfect for doing some conditioning as well.
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-16-2013, 06:15 PM
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And I didn't mean cut his food way down - if he's a healthy weight you want him to stay that way. A lot of horses are going to have a hard time gaining muscle and getting in shape if out on pasture all the time though. We turn our horses out for 3-4 hours a day on pasture, and then feed a grass hay for the other meal(s). I am not a nutrition expert by any means, but if you do want to keep feeding a grain or something as a supplement to hay, I feed a little bit of Purina Strategy - I don't feed much, only enough to be a treat to my horses (about a cup once a day). Besides my show horse, the rest only get rode about once a week, so are pretty easy keepers.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-16-2013, 06:29 PM
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Keep sessions short, access to hay and lots of turnout. If he needs grain, look into healthier grains.. sweet feed is not a good option IMOP. Triple Crown has some awesome options.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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