Be clever about work

Your Horse (UK) - - Your Horse's Care -

“When plan­ning your ex­er­cise regime for the colder spell, be cre­ative,” says dres­sage rider and trainer Tara Os­borne of Long Drove Dres­sage Cen­tre. “Reg­u­lar turnout is es­sen­tial as it helps keep your horse sane, al­though I know not ev­ery­one has this lux­ury.” Tara says that be­ing con­sis­tent is key. “Small amounts of ex­er­cise ev­ery day is bet­ter for keep­ing your horse’s mind and body ac­tive and healthy, but it doesn’t have to be rid­ing.” Tara rec­om­mends more than just lunge­ing as an al­ter­na­tive to get­ting in the sad­dle. “Create in­ter­est­ing things for your horse to fo­cus on,” says Tara. “For in­stance, ran­dom poles for him to walk over in-hand; safe, sturdy ob­sta­cles for him to stand on or walk across; a ball for him to put his leg on and stretch it out, which will also tone his core. These are things that will keep him men­tally ac­tive and phys­i­cally healthy in just a 10 to 20-minute ses­sion.” Hav­ing these types of ac­tiv­i­ties at your fin­ger­tips is also ex­tremely use­ful when the weather is just too aw­ful for rid­ing. “Over the win­ter months, many own­ers worry about their horses get­ting too ex­citable, so they lunge them at speed two or three times a week,” says Tara. “But this just gets their adrenalin up and makes them su­per fit too. I would ad­vise lots of slow and steady ex­er­cise in­stead — you can work on most things do­ing this.” If you want to com­pete over the win­ter months, con­sider hir­ing an in­door school so your train­ing isn’t in­ter­rupted.

“Small amounts of ex­er­cise ev­ery day is bet­ter for keep­ing your horse’s mind and body ac­tive and healthy, but it doesn’t have to be rid­ing”

There are lots of things you can do to keep your horse ex­er­cised

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