Summer is in full swing here in the South. This means longer days which allows for more daylight to prepare for upcoming shows and trail rides. Is your horse in proper shape to do the job you’re asking? Regardless of the specific discipline that your horse does, an appropriately strengthened core will make him more balanced to do whatever task that you ask! This blog will offer a few tips to get your partner in top shape.
First things first. It is important to make sure that your partner is not resisting any movements due to pain. A preemptive lameness exam can be done to determine if anything should be addressed. Doing these exams at regular intervals not only is of benefit to your horse, but it helps your veterinarian to get to know your horse more intimately and not only when there is a problem. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture are a great less invasive treatment that can be done to ease muscle stiffness and pain associated with strenuous work. Click here for more information about acupuncture.
Hill work is one of the most simple things a rider can do with his horse. Simply riding a working trot up a low grade hill (we’re not talking about endurance hills here!)After trotting up, serpentine your way down at the walk. This helps to continue encouraging your horse to use his hind end instead of falling forward on his front end.
A Pessoa lunging system is a tool that can be used to encourage balanced movement. It is a system of ropes used with a surcingle with several different options for head position. A strong topline is also an added benefit from use. It is an excellent tool for horses with a “kissing spine” to help muscle development without the added weight of tack and rider.
A helpful book called “Activate Your Horse’s Core” is also available. It contains many stretches and exercises that can be done both on the ground and while riding. Pictures of the exercises are included. Best of all, the book is laminated to make it barn-safe!
If you have any questions about the content in this blog, please do not hesitate to ask.