Suggestions for getting older horse in shape to trail ride again.
 
 

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Suggestions for getting older horse in shape to trail ride again.

This is a discussion on Suggestions for getting older horse in shape to trail ride again. within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
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    01-20-2011, 03:41 PM
  #1
Green Broke
Suggestions for getting older horse in shape to trail ride again.

I am wanting to get my horse ready for trails again. I have access to 200 acres where he is pastured. But due to health and work, haven't ridden for several years now.

He is 17, in good shape as far as at a good weight, and has no health issues.

Wish I could say the same for me?

But I was thinking about when spring comes, maybe just riding him at a walk for 30 minutes to hour? Not major, just rolling hills, and gently sloping ones at that.

Have any of you had a horse that has been off for a while, and gone back to riding again?

While my 60 ft portable round pen is out there, and I could use it, I would rather wander around in pasture.

I do have my own truck and trailer, so can go somewhere there are trails too, after get it together a little better.
     
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    01-20-2011, 03:48 PM
  #2
Weanling
Zee was off for about 5 years before I put him back to work last August (he'll be 22 in May). We're now doing 2' and getting ready for the upcoming show season!! The first thing I did was have a full vet check. I did senior blood work, and had a physical exam to make sure he was healthy enough to go back to work. I also changed his supplements and his diet to ensure proper nutrition. Plus a massuse and chiro visit. When we started exercising, we did about 30 minutes 3 times a week. Mainly walk/trot with lots of breaks and stretching. Each week, I would introduce something new to wake up his muscles. Bending, poles, stronger canter work, etc. I listened to him very carefully, and any time I noticed him getting stiff, sore, or cranky, I'd give him a few days off. I'm a firm believer that senior horses need moderate exercise just as much as any other horse to keep arthritis and other changes at bay. He'll let you know when it's too much, but it sounds like your plan for him would be very beneficial to his health and enjoyment. I know Zee is VERY happy to have a job again!
     
    01-20-2011, 04:33 PM
  #3
Green Broke
Thank you, I had not even thought about getting vet to check him over before hand, but I will.

I don't know if there is a chiro/masseuse for equines here. I sure haven't seen one, although will ask some of the horse people in area.

I can do some basic stretching, and massage myself, if I can't find someone though.

And the 3 times a week sounds about right, not enough to wear either one of us out, or stove us up, but enough to get it together some.

He is a funny horse, very sensible, and he does like to be doing something, I always felt he enjoyed the trail rides very much.

I will dig out phone book and see what is out there for chiro or massage too.

How long did you work on getting into shape with your horse, before you saw improvement on muscle tone, and wind?

I am really looking forward to this.
     
    01-20-2011, 04:50 PM
  #4
Weanling
As long as he's not showing any pain or stiffiness in his muscles or from the saddle, I wouldn't worry too much about the chiro or massuse. I also do leg stretches and neck stretches with Zee after each ride.

Zee changed so much so quickly that I ended up buying him a month and a half after I started working with him! Take lots of pics of him before you get started and then every few weeks. I look back at pictures and videos of the last 4-5 months and am totally amazed that I'm looking at the same horse!! It only too about 4-6 weeks before I noticed a difference in his stamina and strength. It's still a work in progress, but each month he's making huge strides. He can easily get through a 2' course now. In November, when we started jumping him, he would tire after just a few cross rails!
     
    01-20-2011, 04:51 PM
  #5
Weanling
You can check out a bunch of our progress videos here! We've Come So Far!!
     
    01-20-2011, 09:37 PM
  #6
Yearling
A friend of mine had a horse years back that had been a pasture ornament for a number of years. Was healthy, just out of shape. My horse was young at the time, and I had more than enough time in the saddle, but wanted to have more exercise myself, and had been looking for a walking/jogging buddy.
So I thought why not use the horse as my jogging buddy?
I would just snap a lead rope on him, and off we went. He certainly had no trouble keeping up with me, and it got him used to listening again.

If that is not your thing, and the horse is healthy/sound, then just do as Z suggested. A few short walk rides, gradually increasing duration and speed as you and your horse get fit again.
     
    01-22-2011, 02:09 PM
  #7
Green Broke
I think that this will be good for both of us, although Bonanza may not think so?

When I first moved here, I had them at small place I rented, just 2 acres, and was leery of taking Bonanza and riding off and leaving Kola. The fences weren't in that great a shape, and just worried about it.

But with the other horses there now, that belong to people I rent from, I won't be concerned.

But I will definitely be getting ready for this. Have to get my tack cleaned and oiled, and get that ready too.
     
    01-23-2011, 07:05 AM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Palomine    
He is 17, in good shape as far as at a good weight, and has no health issues.
Our lead mare, Angel, (coming 17) would cringe if she knew how common it was to call that 'older'

Quote:
But I was thinking about when spring comes, maybe just riding him at a walk for 30 minutes to hour? Not major, just rolling hills, and gently sloping ones at that.
Nice, rolling hills is perfect, and you should easily be able to start at an hour of walking. Unless he is really terribly out of shape, I would quickly progress to trotting the hills...hill work is the absolute best for building stamina and muscle.

Quote:
While my 60 ft portable round pen is out there, and I could use it, I would rather wander around in pasture.
I'm glad you mentioned this...except for specific training issues, I would never use round pen work for just excercise....how boring for the horse! Riding out in the real world will not only excercise his body, but his mind, too.
     

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