Does anyone know a good Horse Fitness Plan?

July 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Common Questions

fitness plan
by Alegrya

Question by Sarah: Does anyone know a good Horse Fitness Plan?
I really want to have a fitness plan to go by to get my pony fit. He is currently 10years, 14hh, clydie x anglo-arab and he is really really fat but semi-fit. Like he can do acouple of rounds at 90cm but is puffing alot after. And he can trot for about 5minutes straight then gets abit tired but he is an extremly active pony! Does anyone have any good sites for me to look at or any plan’s themselves? Thanks.

Best answer:

Answer by Madeline
Personally what I do when a horse needs to be conditioned is to do a lot of work on the flat. Make a strict schedule. Example, if you are riding for an hour, you could try:
-Warm-up walk, ten minutes.
-Trotting, ten minutes.
-Walk break, four minutes.
-Trotting, fifteen minutes.
-Walk break, five minutes.
-Cantering, ten minutes.
-Cool-off, six-ten minutes.
That’s just one thing. I like to do a lot of trot and canter work, nice and forward on the flat. Really get him to reach out in his stride and bend into the corners. Soon enough that should get him conditioned.
But don’t take it too fast and wear him out. If it gets hot where you live, be sure to let him have lots of walk breaks and some water.
Good luck!

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One Response to “Does anyone know a good Horse Fitness Plan?”
  1. Marianne says:

    Well, generally speaking conditioning exercises fall into one of two categories.There are your more Endurance-based ones, and your Strength-based ones. There are tons of books on the subject, however, so I’m not going to get at the physiological differences each causes.

    Each conditioning schedule has several parts you must consider.Each of these should be horse and rider specific, which is why there is no perfect, one-size-fits-all conditioning schedule.

    1. What are you conditioning for? Let’s say you have a Dressage horse, an Eventer, and an Endurance horse. Each should have a totally different schedule.

    2. What is the horses level of condition? This can also be gauged by their TPR- if the horse was fit enough for the activity, TPR should return to normal within 15 minutes.

    3. What other factors are there, such as past injury,disease, and even breed. Yes, breed. See, there are two main types of muscle fibers- Fast-twitch and slow-twitch. Fast twitch fibers are good for strength and stuff like sprinting, and slow-twitch is better for endurance type work. They have taken muscle biopsies of several breeds, and found there are differences- QHs, for instance, have a high precentage of fast-twitch fibers.

    4. What do you have available? Do you have an arena to ride in, lakes, ponds, roads, or a park with horse trails?

    5. How much time can you commit?

    Once you have figured those out, you’re half done. Now for some common exercises.
    Interval training
    Jumping, Dressage
    Gallop sets

    Long, slow Distance work. Trail rides, road hacks, ect.

    Deeper footing ( Use with caution though- you can easily hurt the horse)

    However, the kicker here is that you cannot focus on one thing. Every discipline requires both types of conditioning- For instance, LSD work increases cardiovascular fitness, and is important even to a Dressage horse. It is usually best to alternate what you do, and you must always give a horse at least one day off a week.

    Don’t forget about nutrition, either. Although now he has extra weight, he will reach an ideal weight and then you will have to feed more to prevent him from getting too thin. Remember you should always add roughly 5lbs of hay for every 1lb of grain, but horses do not NEED grain. However, having roughage is extremely important for hindgut function.

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