What Equine Fitness Routine Do You Practice?
The Basics Of an Equine Fitness Routine
Every time I saddle up my horse and make my way into the arena, I'm at a loss at what kind of Equine Fitness Routine I should to do. Will I just stick to the rail and hack around doing walk/trot/canter? Or do I get serious? plan ahead and devise a training program, so that my horse and I get the fitness and mental workout we need?
In actuality you could do both. With that said, the prior is a bit monotonous not only for you, but for your horse! Let's go in with an established plan. What plan is that you ask? Have a look at the below.
Above (See photo 1) are 10 arena exercises that you should file away in your "mind vault" that will help you spice up that arena time between you and your horse. At quick glance they may seem pretty simple. But once you elevate them by attaching the three gaits, the level of difficulty increases and moves from the basic, to the challenging. The "X" indicates where you should "stop" the horse in the pattern.
To keep things interesting you could at each turn or corner, enhance the conditioning by changing gates.
These routines will build your horsemanship skills. They will also assist in building the connection between you and your horse improving his responsiveness. Lastly, in my opinion they will work those muscles in your horse that probably atrophied by monotonous rail work you've been doing!
Raising The Stakes- Let's Make It Challenging!
If your beyond the "basics" in your arena work and and your horse is at the "college level" think about adding some poles or jumps to your training routine. These props will definitely keep your horses brain on "Pay attention" as well as keep you in the saddle square and upright, balanced and in your seat. Thinking about that next turn and how your going to change it up.
Be mindful when your doing these exercises. Do them from the right and the left side and be consistent. If you start on the right side and and go from a trot to a canter in the pattern try replicating the same on the left. This will give your horse a chance to shine and show you that he is thinking along with you and paying attention in his schooling. These exercise routines should be fun and exciting for your both. You have set the tone of the training, he's done what you've asked and achieved! Victory!
(See Photo 2)
The Cool Down
Every horse needs a rest bit between exercises. A chance to contemplate on the work completed. You want to see the old "lick and chew" in your horse so that you know he understood the training practice. This will also give you time to reflect on your next plan. The cool down exercise consist of walking your horse 10-15 mins after your arena work. Either outside or inside the arena, it doesn't matter, but I am sure your horse would be grateful for an outside arena leisurely stroll and a drink of water on a loose rein. Benefits? more bonding time with your horse and dont we all wish we could make more time for that!
Which Equine Fitness Plan do you practice?