How to get and keep your horse in shape
Hello im writing this tutorial so people can have somthing to look to I guess and because im bored.
So first off, think of a horse like yourself for a moment. You wanna work out to get that better body and loose weight perhaps. You dont just run over to the 100lb weights and go at it you take baby steps. Start from somthing small and short and work your way up to bigger and longer.
Your gonna swet and breathe funny during a workout so is your horse, when you start breathing hard its time to stop for the day, same with your horse. So Lets begin.
Im gonna put this out there before anything because it truely disturbs me when people do this and if you do then im not sure I care if your offended.
Running up hills or runnin your horse in circles around your arena is not gonna build the kinda muscle and stamina you want its just gonna turn them into hot heads EVENTUALLY.
And honestly why are you running your horse on a trail in the first place? Even if the ground looks good theres gopher holes everywhere your asking for an accident. A friend of ours just had to put her horse down two months ago because she ran her on a trail and she stepped in a hole and broke her leg.
Now with that out of the way.
The Warm up.
Lets just say you got a new horse, he has no muscle and no stamina. What were gonna want to do is have a workout no longer than 30mins in the arena.(Ill talk about trails later) For these 30mins your gonna have start off with simple things, obviously walking around the arena, and some bending to keep his attention on you and keep him from getting bored of walking. Then if he is capable id so some slow trotting, then maybe finish the work out with a couple laps of extended trotting, if he isnt breathing hard and swetting by then go ahead and lope alittle. But when trotting take him at least both ways twice at the slow lope and extended lope. If you horse is swetting alittle its nothing to worry about, that just means he's getting a good workout just like we do when were swetting. But dont get him dripping or soaked thats not nice :?
Make sure to give him an efficient cool down walking around the arena until his breathing is back to normal. And a little tip to prevent gate sourness, dismount him in the middle of the arena ande loosen his cinch. Doing this prevents him from getting gate sour because your not riding him out the gate and loosening his cinch is like a prize at the end of the workout telling him he did a good job.
Thats the kind of workout you should do daily, and eventually add more time, go from 30mins to 40mins to and hour. You will know when he is ready because of how fast or easy he gets tired.
Working Your Horse On The Trail
I cant stress that enough its unsafe and really doesnt do much for your horse, your horse gets the most workout from long trotting.
So on a trail around here their normally about 1hr and 30mins long. Its got up hill and down hill and straight outs. A good trail will have all those. For the most part trails are suppsoed to be a relaxing get away for both you and your horse so relax, you dont wanna run on the trail because everytime you go to go on that trail after you keep running him there your horse wont be able to relax and will be prancing because he's gonna think all you want is to run. SO WALK PEOPLE, pet him talk to him, talk to your trail buddy relax and take it all in. When going uphill take the moment to long trot, that builds butt muscles and chest muscles, as soon as it flattens out again though bring him back down to a walk so he can relax again. If you dont believe thats a hard workout right there, then get off your horse and try SLOWLY joggin up what he just trotted its works your muscles more than running up it would. Going down hill just walk of course and sit back in your saddle, he's gettin butt muscles from creepin down that hill believe me. At the end of the trail if you've been trottin up every hill and walkin the rest gurantee your horse is gonna be alittle tired and swetty and oddly relaxed :]
The Harder Workout
Okay so this workout is for the horses that already have muscle and stamina that you wanna keep up with. Its also good for horses that get bored easily and let their minds wander or stop paying attention. This is also the workout I do with my horse.
1st. I walk my horse into the arena and hop on, I bend his head to my knee both ways for 2 seconds each then I ask him to walk. The whole time im walking im tippin his nose in and at random points around the arena I make him go in and dow a circle. The I do some counter bending which is alittle harder than just bending so their payin attention, try and do a couple perfect circles with their nose tipped to the outside. Its hard work.
Then ill move onto the slow trot alot of reiners like my horse or western pleasure horses will do this trot. I normally dont do to much bending during this because his nose is almost touching the ground doing what we call peanut rolling, so ill just do circles here and there. Then we come to the extended trot, here ill bring his head up so its level with his body and ill work on bending again at this nice extended trot. I go each way around the arena three times at this pace, bending the whole time and picking random spots to circle him and stop him. I like to work on stopping alot so randomly throughout our workout I ask him to stop, if he even takes one step after I asked I ask for a back up. So he has to pay attention because he doesnt want to have to back up if he doesnt stop on time. After the extended trot ill walk him abit, let him catch his breathe and keep him from thinking that were just gonna keep going faster.
When I think he's ready I ask for the lope, ill let him put his nose to the ground for awhile and do some nice relaxing circles. Then ill do circles with his nose tipped in and maybe do some flying lead changes, though its not the best to do those everyday. Its good to come up with your own random patterns and switch them up everyday so he's not doin the same rutine(sp?) everyday even though this one he will keep busy doing. So after awhile its time for the cool down. let him slow trot alittle, maybe a lap or two then ask him to walk and walk him out until he has gotten his breathing back to normal. Then do as I said earlier in the post and dismount in the middle of the arena and walk him out.
After a hard workout like that its good to rinse his legs down with cool water to soothe the joints.
continueing on next post
Boots and Grains.
Okay for workouts like the one above its good to wear boots on your horse. Bell boots and front leg boots are a plus. Normally you shouldnt need back boots for a workout like that, but for my horse I put sliding boots on him because he slide stops, if your horse also does definitly always wear sliding boots, evne doing a small stop they like to tuck under.
Grains are of personal prefrence im not gonna tell you that you should get a certain brand or not. But definitly look into getting joint supplements for your horse. My horses get joint supplements everyday, it helps with existing problems and helps prevent problems. All horses that work hard on a daily basis or, horses that show hard like barrel racing, jumping ect. Should have joint supplements.
Important and Thank You.
These methods are only gonna work if done on a daily or every other day basis, just like working out for us only helps if were concistant. Working out once a week isnt gonna help our bodies or theirs.
And Now thank you for all that actually read this all wether you agree with what I stated or not. Hope you enjoyed this and I hope it helped some people.
PROOF THAT IT WORKS!! XD
My Horse Twinkie!!!!
All that and knowone is gonna comment? lol XD ugh
Hillwork is great for building a topline, and it doesn't turn your horse into a hothead. Twinkie is gorgeous.
Posted via Mobile Device
And thanks :]
Sorry - can't past the orange letters and the incorrect spelling.
Thanks for the all the information! That was wonderful! I got a 19 year old mare a couple months ago and she really needs to get into shape. She doesn't have much muscle - more fat than anything! I've been working her on hills trotting and doing lots of trail rides. I can see what your saying about the hard breathing - she sure does that! I'll be more careful with her and go slower. Thanks again for the wonderful tips!
BTW - Twinkie is gorgeous! You have a lovely horse there!
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