Being a horse owner is one of the most rewarding feelings, creating an unbeatable bond with your four-legged friend and growing your capabilities as a duo. With their welfare being your responsibility, ensure you are providing them with the best possible lifestyle to not only keep them healthy but to maximize their performance. We’ve pulled together our 6 top tips on boosting their capabilities so you can take it up a notch and ensure they are fit to ride.
Switch the turnout rugs for the saddle, getting you and your horse out and about for regular riding sessions. As well as improving technique, riding around is great for your horse’s welfare as the added weight on their back will hollow the spine to reduce the chance of health issues. By strengthening their back from a young age and maintaining the habit, the muscles remain activated to keep them strong and powerful.
Maintain fitness levels
By staying active and regularly undergoing exercise, your horse will stay in peak physical condition for longer. A fit horse will have less chance of struggling with back problems thanks to their strong confirmation, being able to carry heavier weights without issue.
The way you ride your horse can contribute to their fitness ability, applying force to different areas to keep them trained. Standing in stirrups is one of the most effective riding methods as it provides extra stability and gives the horse the most freedom when they move about, being particularly effective for younger horses who are in the training process and horses who may be struggling with back issues following an injury. A standing trot is another good skill to practice as it distributes the weight more evenly, with the horse and riders’ bodies moving up and down in unison.
For both the rider and the horse, maintaining a symmetrical posture will ensure they don’t lead to health issues down the line. An asymmetrical load can impact the limbs, muscles, and bone structure so ensuring this is a priority from the offset will mean you can go forward safely and effectively.
Trust their approach
When you are competing, it is often recommended to leave your horse alone where possible, helping you establish any further training opportunities that are needed in the future. By intervening in these moments, it can result in a deteriorating of their performance as their focus is lost, reducing your chance of success on competition day.
As with many things in life, consistency is key. The main aspect of any training plan is a steady process that allows your horse to adapt to your movements, timings, and forms of communication. By gradually introducing new movements and synchronizing with your horse, performance will improve as you both work from the same page. By trying to complicate things too soon, progress may be lost so take it slow and steady, tackling one issue at a time.