Exercises to do with my horse to build up her muscles?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Willow's Meadow, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My horse is 5 yrs. old and was just broke. When we got her she really hadn't been ridden much and not consisitenly. And when she was ridden it was mainly only at the walk. So she really doesn't have any muscles. How can I build up her muscles? Her shoulder, hind, leg, neck etc. muscles. Trail riding is out of the question for now.....no trails. But there is a big grassy area where I can ride her in the snow when it snows and we have an indoor arena. Would riding in the snow build up her muscles because she would have to push it with her legs? Also what other things can I do in the arena to build up her muscles for riding? Lunging? Trotting? Cantering? I'm not sure what is the best thing to do. The area where the saddle goes is NOT slopped down, its just fine......so we don't have to worry about building that up.
     
  2. lorieMN

    lorieMN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am a little confused,,if she is in good health and weight she should be fine on muscle,,just soft..so like people,just start out slow and build up to what you want to do..post pics,,she may just be a leaner muscled type to start with..
     
  3. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    Active walking, circles, serpentines to improve suppleness, lots of transitions with half-halts.

    I do a lot of hill work but usually that stops in the winter since the hill faces south and gets icy--partial thaw and freeze, partial thaw and freeze
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    First you need to get some communication established, then let the horse find its balance under you and start developing the beginnings of the necessary muscle tone, then you just ride the horse correctly and muscle develops. The (relative to the horse's stage of training) more correctly you have her balanced, straight/bent, relating to the bit, and doing correct (for her stage) transitions, the faster her muscles will develop.

    "Transitions" or "mileage" or "hill work" are the traditional answers, btw, but they won't help (and can backfire) if you are not doing them right. And deliberate muscle-building exercises, like reinback up a hill, can *very easily* sore, distort or lame a horse and I really really would not recommend them to anyone who had to ask in the first place.

    So, just concentrate on just getting the horse going correctly, not through badgering or muscling the horse but through correct tactful riding and the use of good judgement as to what's good-enough for where she's at now. And muscle tone will happen on its own, in time.

    GOod luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. Celtic Hill

    Celtic Hill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2010
    Scotland CT
    Troting up hill is really good for conditioning.
     
  6. froggiesheins

    froggiesheins Overrun With Chickens

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    Willow's Meadow :

    My horse is 5 yrs. old and was just broke. When we got her she really hadn't been ridden much and not consisitenly. And when she was ridden it was mainly only at the walk. So she really doesn't have any muscles. How can I build up her muscles? Her shoulder, hind, leg, neck etc. muscles. Trail riding is out of the question for now.....no trails. But there is a big grassy area where I can ride her in the snow when it snows and we have an indoor arena. Would riding in the snow build up her muscles because she would have to push it with her legs? Also what other things can I do in the arena to build up her muscles for riding? Lunging? Trotting? Cantering? I'm not sure what is the best thing to do. The area where the saddle goes is NOT slopped down, its just fine......so we don't have to worry about building that up.

    Riding in the snow can ONLY be done if you have snow pads and borium shoes put on, PERIOD! Otherwise the snow balls up in the foot, and you do the slip and slide and it is dangerous. Riding in snow is similiar to riding in deep sand, ayou can sore and even bow tendons if you do too much with an UNCONDITIONED horse. I lived in Chicago for 32 years and we rode outside in the winter with these shoes on, so I do know.
    Muscle building work is a slow repititious process, circles, transistions, stretching, getting the horse responsive to your aids etc.. etc...
    Stick to working in the indoor arena, on a young horse you need a fixed area till you establish control over her and trust. Start by establishing a steady trot/jog then ask for longer stride and then shorter stride. Does this horse respond to leg aids easily?
    If you have not a clue how to properly ask for a trot/canter,half-halt, get help from a trainer.​
     
  7. froggiesheins

    froggiesheins Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes and no, if you are training a dressage horse hill work for conditioning is not the best because it strengthens the wrong muscles. In moderation anything is OK, but you want to condition all the muscles in the horse.
    Quote:
     
  8. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    Quote:
    When I condition my distance horse, I start off walking up hills to make sure the horse is pushing with hindquarters rather than pulling with forelegs and to help build up heart, lungs and muscle first. It's not until I do several weeks of this that I ask her to trot uphill, even then only once.

    Come post in spring and maybe I'll do a "condition along" because others have asked similar questions
     
  9. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Some of the best dressage trainers in the world use hills, but they carry the work out differently than the endurance rider or eventer.

    For most horses, walking or trotting uphill is a good exercise, but trotting or galloping downhill is not, it puts too much concussion on the forelegs.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2010
  10. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

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    You can also teach her to use her hind end more effectively in the round pen, gradually increasing impulsion, asking for more drive (push off) from behind, ask for longer strides, first at the walk, back off if she breaks into a jog or trot, then when you can moderate her strides at the walk, practice short sessions at the trot, interspersing with the walk. Even at the walk she can get sore if she is not used to using her hind end so much. Go easy on her, keep the sessions short and as effective and goal oriented as possible, not play time.
     

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