In order to enjoy your riding, training and competing to the full this coming season, it is critical your horse is fit for the level of work he will be doing. This will allow your horse to produce peak performance when it matters and minimising the risk of any injuries.
After the winter period many equines need to develop their fitness in preparation for a higher level of work. Fitness should be worked on gradually over a period of weeks to enable the horse’s body to adjust to the changes in exercise level. Remember; don’t take short cuts or rush the process as sudden increases in work can result in pulled or torn muscles, risking causing much more harm than good. Prior to beginning fitness work the horse’s general health needs to be checked so get up to date with any vaccinations, dentistry checks, shoeing or worming that is required.
Remember each horse is an individual and the period of time required to get a horse fit will be influenced by numerous factors such as their workload over the wintertime, their age and how fit the horse has previously been. The Soaker takes a look at some basic top tips for bringing your equine back into work.
Five Top Tips from The Soaker for Getting Your Horse Fit...
Always begin with walk work; start by walking your horse for 20 minutes and build it up for over an hour. Try walking up and down hills which is particularly good for balance, conditioning and muscle development.
Keep your horse’s work varied for all round development, regularly undertake fun trail rides, don’t neglect your schooling and even if jumping isn’t your usual discipline, it can be highly beneficial to have a “pop” every now and then offering your equine variety and encouraging them to use their muscles in lots of different ways.
Extended periods of canter work will improve and build your horse’s cardiac endurance but make sure you give your horse plenty of walks in between to break up the work!
Ensure you always complete a sufficient warm up and cool down process to protect your equine’s muscles, tendons and ligaments from injury and after riding if the weather is cool cover your horse with a absorbent rug.
Providing ample clean, fresh drinking water is essential and soaking your hay in The Soaker can provide up to 1-2 gallons of water per soak flake offering your equine the essential macro nutrient they need to work effectively, efficiently and healthily!
For more information about The Soaker visit the website www.healyourhay.com