Creating Overall Strength & Balance in Your Horse Takes Time and Consistency –
Optimal equine fitness requires time, consistency, appropriate nutrition, proper rider, and equine biomechanics. As a Certified Equine Sports Trainer, I have gained an understanding to the advanced or technical side of equine biomechanics and fitness. As I began working with horse owners one on one I did not feel like they were interested in learning these advanced details. My clients often wanted me to design an equine fitness plan for them to execute, without them learning additional information. What is important to note is that the proper execution of an exercise is really what determines if it is beneficial for your horse’s strength and balance. Any exercise improperly practiced can be detrimental to the horse’s fitness and body.
Equine Fitness – Posture and Topline
There are many outlooks on what optimal equine fitness is. It will vary greatly depending on your equine sport or discipline. One thing most people agree about is that a well-developed topline is crucial to a horse’s overall posture and fitness.
“When we speak of strengthening a horse so that he moves better and lasts longer, we’re talking about his ring of muscles. This ring of muscles determines, in large measure, whether the horse will advance in his training or plateau indefinitely. In any discipline, this ring of muscles is the alpha and omega. When he is in movement, these muscles should be engaged and supple, regardless of whether he is pulling a carriage, covering ground, on a trail, or working cattle.” ~JEC Aristotle Ballou, Equine Fitness A Conditioning Program of Exercises & Routines for Your Horse
Equine Fitness – Adjust to Fit the Situation
This topic was in response to a horse owner that reached out with a question via Facebook about building a topline. The horse is described as being thin upon arrival and in her 20’s, but sound and able to be ridden. For that description I would recommend starting with:
- A clean, natural, and supportive diet would be first and foremost. We will go into more detail on natural supplements in this week’s, Weekly Feed Post.
- Slow and right will beat fast and wrong here. This horse is up there in age and will need time and consistency of exercises to properly build strength. Supporting this horse with additional therapy during this would be beneficial – bodywork, Back on Track therapy products, and adding a natural effective liniment to support the muscle, connective tissue, and bone as they strengthen.
Exercises you can begin with are things like slow uphill work (slight gradient for a senior horse that is not conditioned), repeated transitions, serpentines, and general overall conditioning. Proper collected work is beneficial but it is very important that the horse is engaging properly and equine biomechanics are being utilized and are understood by the owner. Simply asking a horse to carry with a low head carriage or improper use of draw reins or other “tools” for head carriage will not prove productive if the horse is not truly engaging and is carrying tension and brace.
Mission of Equine Wellness-
We are here to help support horse owners and empower them with the information they need to maintain or restore horse health and wellness! After ensuring your horse is on the path to well-rounded fitness, you can continue supporting your horse to vibrant health by grabbing your copy of my book Healthy as a Horse and discover the forgotten framework of care that can transform your horse’s health. Click here to reserve your copy now.
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Life is better when you’re horsin’ around!