Just starting a haflinger gelding to pull a sled this winter, he's been doing great! Was wondering if someone could give me some creative ideas to exercise his muscles and get him conditioned to pull. We've been riding him, so he's already pretty conditioned from that. I was actually happily surprised at how much he liked his new job!
Also, how much in weight increments should I go up each day for him? He had no problem pulling an 80 pound sled/hay bail the other day.
Well to start with your first question. There are lots of things you can do to help him build up his muscles. Trotting is the best thing for him. If you have a round pen, do around 30 minuets of walk, and trot work for the next few days. Then slowly added more trotting time. Like 1-2 minuets every few days. Trotting is better balance for the horse while still allowing them build of muscles.
It vary much depends on the horse. You need to watch him each days. Just stick to the sled for a few weeks. You dont want to make him super sore or he may not want to be put back into the cart. After a few weeks add around 30-50 pounds, Or even a person. You just need to watch him, just dont go to fast.
We used to use the stone boat and a bale for a seat and go down a road with hard packed snow. The sled slid nicely on this. We often checked how warm the horse was getting so there was a lot more walking than trotting. We'd take a thermos of coffee to allow the horse a break and pull some hay off the bale. We always walked on the way home. We didn't want the horse to get the idea it could hurry home.
Awesome advice and ideas, thank you both!
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