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muscling up an older horse?
Between the 18-23 year old range, how difficult is it to muscle up a scrawny horse? What is the best way to go about it, particularly in the topline.
I am currently working on my 20 year old paints conditioning and getting him to bulk up. For a while he dropped a lot of weight. When they are under weight I suggest not focusing on building muscle but getting the weight on. I dropped down to light rides 2-3 times a week and turnouts with lots and lots of food. Now that he is at a more ideal weight I am keeping him high on his food intake. (4 flakes of alfalfa, 3.5 cups of strategy, and 2 cups rice bran [per day]) On this he has been gaining weight steadily, and now I am working on muscle. He gets the same amount of food but now gets worked 5-6 days a week. Each ride contains long trots while moving well and holding up his back. Half of the rides include a trot up hill. While the other half includes transitions, spirals at all three gaits and other flat work. Then he jumps about once a week.
He is really building muscle and bulk everywhere, his topline, his chest/shoulders and hind. Good quality food, and enough of it really has to do with building muscle. Otherwise the horse that is already scrawny is just going to loose more weight. Other people probably have better exercises which I am subscribing for, but I just wanted to emphasize the feeding issue.
Thanks! I had no idea. He isn't officially mine yet. But if everything goes according to plan he will be mine in a week or too. Then I will begin the feeding and work! :)
The other thing is James Wofford says: walk for muscle, trot for balance, canter for wind.
Trot poles properly placed (3 feet for walk/trot, 9 ft for canter) will build muscle in the top line.
Long steady hill work will build muscle. Slow and steady will have that horse looking great in no time! My daughter has a 21 year old that still looks great and performs well! Good luck with him!
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