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Spring Conditioning for Horses, where to start?

Spring Conditioning: Where to start? When spring finally arrives, the sunny riding season ahead can meet riders with both excitement and anxiety. Where do I start, you might wonder as you calculate how un-fit your horse has become from a winter mostly off. How long will it take to ease him back to fitness? What sorts of exercises and timelines should you use? In this article, I’ll answer these questions plus offer a simple schedule in addition to some rules you never want to break. As a starting point, let’s consider when a horse loses the fitness he might have Read the full article…

Filed Under: Horse Care & Upkeep, Horse Health & Fitness |

What are Corrective Exercises for Horses?

What are Corrective Exercises for Horses? Whether or not it works in our favor, horses become stronger somewhere any time they exercise. Unfortunately, this often means tightening up muscles and patterns we wish to change for ideal wellness and performance. For instance, when a rider spends ten minutes trying to help a stiff horse bend his body on a circle but only achieves good results for two or three of those minutes, that means the horse has spent the remaining eight (or more) minutes adding strength to the areas in his body we are trying to change. This ratio does Read the full article…

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On the Bit… or on the Buckle?

On the Bit… or on the Buckle? Since I advocate strongly for dressage horses to also ride trails regularly, I found myself years ago implementing a rule or mantra that applied to any time spent in either of these experiences: on the buckle OR on the bit. Essentially, this boils down to riders keeping their horses in one of these states at any given time. Whether on trail or in the arena, they would ensure their horses were either working on the bit or traveling ‘on the buckle’ on a loose rein. It is the middle ground between these two Read the full article…

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What are Horse Calisthenics?..and Why Do They Matter?

What Counts as Calisthenics? And Why Might You Care? Luckily, someone interrupted my rhapsody during a clinic last week praising the value of calisthenics for developing equine athletes. What exactly did I mean by calisthenics?, the student asked. She was probably not alone wondering, lost as  I was describing the power of these exercises. The Webster dictionary defines calisthenics rather broadly as: “Exercises to develop a strong, trim body.” These exercises, the definition continues, require minimal gear or complicated moves. They build body strength while simultaneously developing GRACEFULNESS through their precise execution. So, what counts as calisthenics for horses, and what Read the full article…

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What is Proprioception?…and why Should Equestrians Care?

What Is Proprioception? It probably pegs me as a total geek for horse fitness, but I’m delighted by how frequently I hear folks using the term proprioception nowadays. Hopefully it doesn’t mean that equestrians just like fancy words, but signals instead that they are clued to how crucial this concept is. Still, though, some of us might be a little foggy on the exact meaning or definition of this term, so I wanted to clear it up. Proprioception, a term used frequently in physical therapy and in my books, refers to how individuals “read” the position, motion, and equilibrium of Read the full article…

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