7 Top Tips to get your horse fit for the season

Posted 5 February 2015 12:00 AM by Freddie Best

1.    Plan- make a plan for each week, but be realistic. Ideally a horse competing at a lower level would be ridden 4 or 5 times a week and one at a higher level 6 days a week with one day off.

2.    Walking- when bringing a horse back into work, it is essential to start with a few weeks walking. Ideally starting with 20 minutes then building it up, as well as trotting up hills to tighten ligaments and tendons.

3.    Schooling- after some light schooling sessions for the first week, the length and difficulty can be increased. Make the horse sweat so the muscles work and build properly.  After this it is essential to walk the horse off otherwise it’ll get tight and stiff.

4.    Jumping- when bringing your horse back into fitness you don’t need to jump big. Grid work is extremely beneficial; it helps with suppleness and straightness, as well as helping the horse make a better shape and keep a rhythm.

5.    Fast work- for low level horses this isn’t so important but for high level horses fast work is essential in building up stamina and fitness. Although, gallops are a good way to for your horse to let steam off and sharpen up lazy horses.

6.    Variety- inevitably many horses will feel fresh when coming back into work, so use poles and lunging to add variety into their programme.

7.    Preparation- unaffiliated shows are a great way to prepare you and your horse for near approaching season. Going to local dressage and jumping shows will keep your horse’s head in a good place, as well as your own, and is a great way to increase your confidence before your first event.

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