Be clever about work
“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