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Why walk exercise is so valuable for your horse!

exercise walk Feb 14, 2022

If you follow me already, you will know that I'm a massive fan of walk exercise for horses!

Whether rehabbing, starting a horse, bringing back into work, strengthening, correcting posture, working with a senior horse, specific walk exercise will help with all of these scenarios with horses. 

I tend to work with horses that have current injuries, or in the long term management of injuries, so do spend a lot of time in walk with horses, in particular at the beginning of any process. And I'm always amazed at how much improvement can be made just by working in the walk...not just to the injury, but the horses entire body. 

What can be achieved by working in the walk...: 

  • Slows the horses pace 
  • Gives the horse time to process your request
  • Gives the horse time to organise their body: brain-body connection
  • Takes the weight out of the forehand by slowing down
  • The horse uses each limb individually in the walk 
  • Corrections can be made more easily in the walk 
  • Target a limb or diagonal pair in walk 
  • Time to work on refining aids while walking 
  • Improves connection with your horse
  • A lot of the more 'global' issues with your horse can be worked on in walk! 
  • Improving the quality of the walk will improve the quality of the other paces 
  • Low impact so we decrease the risk of injury 

I have literally transformed horses by doing a progressive 6 week hand walking plan, by improving their walk posture, core strength, speed (nearly always slowing horses down!), and engaging their brain in the walking.

Some ways to add walk exercise to your routine...: 

  • Walking on the lunge 
  • Long reining 
  • Walking over poles 
  • Hand walking 
  • Walk hacking 
  • In hand work 
  • Walk schooling (lateral exercises in walk) 

A lot of what I teach in person and in my online groups is about training your horse to work in good posture, and correcting posture in the walk helps enormously in the other paces. If you need to correct how your horse moves and organises their body, if you're trotting too soon, your horse can quickly get back into speeding up and getting on the forehand, so time spent in the walk is always time well spent! 

I always like to correct and make changes to the horses movement and posture at the foundation level, so working slowly in a relaxed manner in the walk makes total sense! And because everything is slowed down, I quite often see the horse have a 'penny-drop' moment in the walk as there is less going on, and more time for him to process. (The 'penny-drop' moment that I see is usually the realisation that it's actually much more comfortable to slow down, let the tension out of the body, and walk in a relaxed, long and low frame, it's always an amazing moment to see this happen!). 

So that's my experience of working with horses in the walk. As you can see I'm a massive fan of walking, and always like to encourage some slower, corrective type training within most horses exercise plans, whether injured or not. 

I hope this post might have given you some new ideas, and reasons to try it out for yourself with your horse, if you don't already do much in the walk. 

Slow and steady always wins the race!! 

***NEWS...***

I have a brand new online course available 'Core Exercises for your horse' where you will learn all of the core exercises that I use daily, recommend and teach! Core Mobilisation and Core Activation exercises are some of the most effective and important exercises that you can add to your horses routine. But there is a bit of an art to them, and this course will teach and show you HOW to do them without your horse cheating. Includes a detailed lesson on posture, lessons with detailed explanations, images and videos to show both sets of exercises, plus all of my tips and recommendations. Plus access to my private Facebook group. CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS: Core Exercises Course

***My popular Exercise Ebook Bundle is also available for instant download, for some new ideas on ways to work with your horse, in a corrective way. The bundle includes: 

  • Core Mobilisation & Core Activation Exercises
  • Simple Groundwork Exercises
  • Effective Lunging

Images and descriptions of all of my favourite exercises, that are the MOST effective for your horses body. And my lunging tips will help you to train your horse to stretch down on the lunge and work over his back. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS: Exercise Ebook Bundle

*As always, do get in touch if I can help you with your horse, you can email me directly through my Contact page. 

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