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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so I have been riding for 15 years and just recently got my first horse. She is an 18 year old Egyptian Arabian that was a rescue horse. She was extrememly underweight when she went into foster but now has gained most of her weight back. My question is how I should start her conditioning? She has no real training to speak of but does pretty well on a halter. Her only current issue is standing still (which is getting better every day) and getting in my bubble when walking. She currently is out in pasture 24/7 with grass hay and I feed her purina senior feed everyday about 3-4 lbs. She also has a heavy weight turnout blanket on her at all times except when I'm working with her. She is still really weak as her legs start to shake after walking just a bit. Not sure if that has to do with her being nervous at all though as she is quiet spazy still from being neglected for so long. She will take a saddle and a rider but I don't want to ride her yet as she is still to weak. I have never trained a horse before. She is very willing to do anything I ask I just would like some help on where to start. I would like her light trail riding by spring/summer. If there are any supplements or anything else I should be doing it would be appreciated. I am putting a picture of her below. Also I have only had her for about 3 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ah yes we have been taking lots of walks. Unfortunately she has more energy than she knows what to do with. We have gotten quite far as she no longer shakes when entering the pasture and I can even get up on her without her moving. Only issue now is she just wont move once I'm on her. I have found that she was trained at some point once she started to trust me she listens very well on the ground and knows how to lunge. But our round pen is quite icy or very very muddy depending on the day. I have enlisted some helpers to start today with walking her as I am on her to see if she just needs to be reminded of the cues to move. Any ideas on a good saddle pad? She obviously doesn't have the muscle on her back right now so she could use a nice pad to help with that until she fills out more. I am only looking to walk and maybe some brief trotting depending on how she feels. I would keep walking in hand but it seems I am in way worse shape and her walk is like my jog so that is making it difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, as for lunging I do have a line and luckily there are outdoor arenas just off the property we can use. She did pretty well and she seems to prefer to trot but she just doesn't want to stop. I do walk her for a while in the round pen as she is much more comfortable there and slows down quite a bit. I currently just have an AP english saddle. Eventually I would like to get her into dressage but that is not in the near future so I will be mostly just be casually riding this year. I have had a recomendation on a good half pad but I would like a few opinions as in the past I only leased a horse and all tack was included so I never paid much attention to it. Is it ok to work her every day just maybe only a little on off days? She gets very antsy and enjoys being taken out everyday. If I don't take her out to walk at least in the pasture she doesn't really want to go back to her small pasture/paddock area. Thank you for any replies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Congratulations on the new horse!

I thoroughly agree with the previous posters, I just have a smidge more to say. :)
I would recommend that you consider getting this book: Amazon.com: Equine Fitness: A Program of Exercises and Routines for Your Horse (9781603424639): Jec Aristotle Ballou: Books

It's fantastic at outlining what and how much to do to build muscle on your horse. It even has a special "older horses" section that outlines exercises that specifically target problem areas in senior horses.

Also, side note, according to that book (which references studies and stuff), it can take a year or more for the internal structures of a horse to become strong after becoming weak. So, even once she looks and seems 100%, her ligaments and tendons are still going to be playing catch up. It's just something to keep in mind. It doesn't sound to me like you're going too fast but be careful. :)

Do you have access to hills? Hills are fantastic for gaining muscle, especially topline muscle.

Thanks, I will look into that book. Unfortunately it is kinda flat in this particular area where she is. But once summer is here she will hopefully go to a bigger pasture area. I understand it will take quite some time for her to get back to what she should be and I am ok with that. I am in no hurry for her to do anything other than light trail riding for the summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't mind spending a little extra if it will make my horse feel better. I'd prefer to keep it under $100 because if when she fills out and gets the shape she should be I would need a new saddle if the current one doesn't fit anymore and I know that will cost much more than I paid for this one.

Would it be ok to just walk for about 10-15 min on her off days?(We work on ground work a little everyday, she has already learned to be patient.) If we stay in the round pen she keeps it quite slow. Also I have heard that walking or trotting in too tight of circles can be bad for their legs? I have a 24' lunge line for her work days but the round pen is only 80' diameter. Is that an ok size circle?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The mattes pads are universal. They will fit any saddle, on most horses. I would do some more research, but the Fleeceworks pads are nice. Along with a nicely padded under pad.

Yes walking on off days is fine. I would just walk her around the barn, in hand.

That size circle is fine.

Thanks, I was just mentioning the pad cost because if I would need a new saddle I would like that extra money to go towards the saddle and not an expensive pad if I can get away with a cheaper one.
 
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