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Is your horse ready?

exercise Feb 28, 2022

Is your horse ready? Ready for what?! Ready for whatever you want to do!

In the UK we are about to enter Springtime (anytime now!), so you may be about to increase exercise with your horse, start competing, or bring your horse back into work after time off/reduced exercise over the winter months. 

At this time of year I like to recommend stepping back, physically and mentally (!) with our horses, to consider what they have been doing over the winter, where we would like to get to with them, and what needs to be improved so that we can get there! 

*Has your horse come out of winter looking good, fit, well, supple, strong back and core?

*Or has your horse come out of winter in soft condition, maybe a little stiff and with a sagging tummy and weak looking back?

*Or somewhere in between these points?

Putting some thought into your horses current situation, and what you need to work on to get your horse 'ready' for Springtime, really can make the difference between a smooth transition back into work, or struggling with your horse. 

Assessing your horse...

A few ideas for you to stand back and assess your horse...

  • How is my horses weight? Too fat, too slim, any fat pads?
  • How is my horses posture? Does he have a nice strong looking core and back, or a sagging tummy and weak downward sweeping back?
  • How is my horses topline muscle right now? Does he look strong along his back or does he need building back up?
  • Does my horse look downhill?
  • Does he look healthy, shiny, and happy, or does he seem down and lethargic? 

All of these questions can give you some clues about how your horse is doing currently, and what you might need to work on first. 

If your horse is weak, stiff, and needs building back up, this should all be worked on, from the ground, prior to getting back on board, so that he is strong enough to carry you, especially if he's had time off so isn't fit or strong at present. 

Time spent on the ground strengthening your horses core, improving his topline, posture, and flexibility is all time very well spent for your horse! You can actually decrease the risk of injury by bringing your horse back into work slowly and sympathetically, and strengthening them up in a way that their body has time to adapt to. 

If you wanted to do a 5k run, and you hadn't been doing much exercise all winter, you would take a couple of months to prepare for it, not go straight out and do a 5k run on day 1! It's the same for our horses. Take your time, do some basic prep work, and you will reap the rewards! 

I hope this post gives you a few ideas on what to be looking for as you're getting ready to re-start this Springtime!

 

AND as always, if I can help you in any way with your horses, do get in touch, you can email me directly through the Contact page in the menu above. 

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