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Discussion Starter #1
What are some good muscle building exercises that are low-impact and not much strain on legs and joints?

I know hillwork is great but I really don't want a my young horse to be having that strain on his joints. :) Until he's about 4 I want to just do walking and trotting while building up his muscle and working on refining dressage work. Once his knees close up I'll be introducing jumping (can't wait!!). Yeah he's a little under two years and I have most of his career planned out. :wink:
 

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i dont think theres really much you can do at that age... maybe jsut wait til she gets bigger, then you can start rapidly building some muscle! :p
 

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lunging is 10x harder on a a horse's joints than hill work. The hills shouldn't be too steep 20degrees for a walk and 15 for trot I believe (I might be wrong on the degrees needed).

If hills is still not something that you want to do, trot poles are great for muscle building. Won't be as affective as hill work, but will do almost as good as job. :)

And how old is "young"? you did not say
 

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Big pastures, companions to romp with, and beginning ground work. I start the ground work at 14 months--remember that horses run, jump trot, canter, gallop and walk from the day they are born. When to add the weight of the rider depends on lots of things--fitness, growth patterns etc. AND THE WEIGHT OF THE RIDER!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I weight 110. Brego right now is a little under 2 years old. I plan to get on him as an early two year old then get off. The next day I'll ask him to walk forward with me on then get off. Then I want to give him the winter to grow up some more. So when we're back in the spring he'll almost be three and that's when I want to start real undersaddle training.
 

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Walk, walk and more walk. Correct walk, mind you. It must be forward, marching and stretching for the bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Beling- why is that? I want him to really muscled up as I want to do eventing with him. :) I also would like him to eventually learn the piaffe which takes a great deal of muscle.

Thanks guys!
 

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Personally I do not think any horse should be started at such a young age as 2. Their bones are not fully developed and that can lead to joint issues later in life. All my horses were started at age 3-4 besides my older horse (well he might have been but I didn't start him so I'm not sure)

Also note you will not be doing eventing for a while, the basics have to be done first...alot of muscling isn't necessary until then
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yup I understand that. As I said I'll pretty much be getting on an off while he's two and giving him the winter to grow up. He'll be a couple months shy of three when I start riding him just walking. Until he's four I won't ask much of him other to walk and refine his responses to cues. Until he's five or six I don't expect him to be jumping but I do plan on doing dressage shows.

He's a pretty quick learner and likes to be busy so I don't see us taking too long to progress.

I'm a planner. I like to have a game plan (usually well ahead) before I go do something. :D
 

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When you start a horse the lessons are usually quite short. I like my horse to be not too tired, but just a little, to have that good I've-done-something feeling. Also I don't want to get on a horse feeling so good he's going to make trouble just for the fun of it!

As for muscling, remember that while it takes only a month or so for muscles to build, it can take a year for bones-ligaments etc to toughen up. That's why you see so many horses with sprains: they're brought into "shape" too fast for the tendons to adapt. The back is especially a problem: a horse needs to carry your weight, in balance. This takes learning as well as exercise.

Take your time, enjoy the journey.:)
 

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I pony all my yearlings. It builds muscle tone and strength while also teaching manners. To me, nutrition is the most important foundation you can give in order to built muscle. I feed Nutrena Safe Choice to all my youngsters and them top dress with either Grow N Win made by Buckeye feeds or K Finish by Tribute.

I would start with nutrition then go up to exercise. He is still a baby and has a long way to go. Start slow and it will pay off.
 

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Sounds like you have an exciting youngster! Muscles will come. Now is a great time to be teaching manners. There is a statistic out that says more people get hurt working around their horses than on their horses. It is so important for horses to have good ground manners - standing while tacking, for the farrier, vet, etc. Learning to wait is a big thing for a 2 year old. Now is a great time to work with trailering, grooming issues, and leading issues. They grow up all to fast - condition will happen when it happens. You can't put the cart before the horse.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh he's had manner lessons since two weeks old. He ties, he whoas, he'll back out of my space with the right body language, he backs, he side steps when asked, loads in the trailer like a pro, takes any equipment I put on him without a problem, leads well, walks right up to new things, walks over tarps, lets me throw saddle pads and blankets all over him and doesn't bat an eye, moves away from pressure, etc. I work with him a lot on that. One thing I can't stand is a horse that has little or no manners.

My only beef with his behavior is his playfulness sometimes. Not sure how he can lean through the panels of his paddock far enough but he's managed to grab quite a few things and drag them into his pen to play with. I've got some lovely bite marks all over the cantle and horn of my cadura western saddle. I make sure to put the tack racks even farther back now along with all the other barn stuff.

I've taken him on a ponying lesson a couple times but since my other horse passed away the only horse I have to work with is my mom's old cranky mare. She has issues with him being beside her (whole herd dominance thing) so it's a constant work to keep her letting him next to her and him staying up with her.


As I said I don't plan on doing this now. I just like having a game plan for down the road. I am definitely not going to start this now. :wink: Just in my free time waiting for him to grow up I like to plan. :)
 
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