Equine fitness : General rules of fitness

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Equine fitness: General rules of fitness Bringing a horse to an adequate level of fitness for everyday riding takes more effort and planning than many riders realize. Perhaps because horses cannot talk to us or because they seem like large masses of bone and muscle, we tend to regard them as being naturally more apt for their job than they actually are. We jump into specializations with them and neglect good basic conditioning, which puts them at a disadvantage. Too frequently, riders treat their horses like cars - turn on the engine and go. This chapter provides conditioning tips and information that is sometimes overlooked in our own busy lives and dealings with horses.

It is easy to look at a horse of average weight that shows some muscling and assume that he is plenty fit for whatever you may ask in your daily riding; however, we far too often underestimate what does or does not physically tax horses. You must see past the initial impressions of a big, powerful-looking horse. Size and brawn don't much matter when it comes to the aptitude of tendons, bones, and ligaments for the job at hand, no matter the job. In other words, it's impossible to judge a horse's physical preparedness by what you think you see on the outside.

Because of the fragility of their vertebral columns, many horse require several months of exercise for their back and abdominal muscles to gain the necessary strength to maintain a good posture under the rider's weight. If the muscles of his back and abdomen are not developed properly, the horse bears a rider's weight by overtensing the tendinous floor of his belly like a sling, creating a dropped back and saggy underline, which is very difficult to change. Furthermore, it can take up to a year to develop the fitness necessary to handle an hour's worth of walk, trot, and canter. Yet, how many riders require this after just a few months?

Extract from the book Equine Fitness, a conditiong program of exercises & routines for your horse written by Jec Aristotle Ballou, Author of 101 Dressage Exercises
Staff Il Paretaio 2016-05-03