Just like any other type of animals, owning a horse comes with great responsibility. Whether you own a horse purely for riding pleasure or for more competitive reasons, you need to keep your horse in tip-top shape at all times.
Horses are known for their natural athleticism. Be that as it may, you still need to make sure that they receive the proper health care and exercise. The fitness of your horse is vital for its overall performance and health. If your horse has been inactive for months, it will need to be reconditioned before it can again on the tracks. Keeping your horse fit is a great way to ensure less risk of injuries and higher endurance levels.
Whether your horse is back on the tracks after an injury or from a seasonal break, they need to get back in shape. Having the horse checked by a qualified veterinarian specializing in horse care is the first step in ensuring they are in perfect health.
The veterinarian conducts a complete and thorough physical examination on your horse. These examinations will determine that there are no swollen joints and lumps on its ligaments and tendons. To ensure maximum performance, it is also important for the veterinarian to evaluate the horse’s gait to determine if there are problems that should be treated as soon as possible. A visit to the veterinarian is also a great opportunity to have your horse vaccinated and have its yearly dental exam.
Feed Your Horse with Quality Food
Your horse’s diet is just one of the most essential things that needs to be planned carefully. Before you can start the menu planning, it is important to determine its condition score. In order for your horse to effectively perform any form of athletic activities, your horse needs a condition score or 4 of 5.
Make sure to feed him with high-quality food. Getting your horse proper nutrients will allow them to perform a lot better. More often, your horse requires hay and pasture in order to stay healthy. While it can be tempting to buy cheap commercial hay or low-grade grains, it would not do any favour in your horse’s overall health and performance. Horses need to be fed with high-quality food. Make sure that the dietary plan for your horse is approved by the veterinarian.
Starting off Slow
Although you may be tempted to take your horse immediately onto the track, you may need to start slow with his training exercises. While most conditioning programs requires you to ride your horse at least 3 to 6 times a week. Walking your horse is still considered to be one of the fundamentals of fitness. After a few weeks of walking and easy riding, you can start power-walking your horse for 30 minutes daily within 2 weeks, gradually increasing the duration to 60 minutes a day.
Allocating 2 days of concentrated fitness work each week should help you bring your horse back to its competitive form. The remaining days should be allotted for dressage movements and cavalletti. Some owners take cross-country courses to further condition their horse. This helps boost the strength of your horse’s muscles, tendons, and cardiovascular system.
Other advanced fitness exercises include: fitness trots (3 to 5 minutes duration), draft cross and uphill cantering. Advance fitness exercise should be gradually increased for about 6 weeks to ensure that your horse is ready to return to the races.