Getting your horse ready to return to work

_MA14427.JPG

Did you give your horse some time off over winter?

Whether due to shorter days or after an injury, there are stages of a horse’s life when he may not be ridden as much as he’s used to. During these down times it’s important to keep an eye on his weight and tailor his feeding.

After a period of rest, your horse will also need to go through a phase of recuperation to prepare for his return to full work. This usually means regaining fitness, strength and building up muscle, all of which require a suitable diet and exercise.

Check his diet

  • Help your horse build up muscle by providing him with essential amino acids (e.g via products such as muscle supplements).

  • Ensure your horse has access to adequate and readily digestible carbohydrate sources such as cereals and sugars.

  • Introduce extra carbohydrates slowly to allow the digestive system to adjust, and avoid unwanted weight gain or exuberance.

Plan your exercise

  • When getting your horse back into work, or upping his workload it’s important to follow an appropriate exercise plan.

  • For horses who’ve been injured, your vet and/or physio will give you guidance.

  • Often exercise plans will start with walking, slowly built up over a number of weeks to include hill work, pole work, and core muscle exercises in the stable.

  • As with altering his feed, it’s important to not make too many drastic changes at once to his exercise regime. 

  • Keep a close eye on his weight and fitness levels, to ensure you aren’t pushing him too hard, and to be able to notice when you can go that bit further.

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now. Find out what’s in the latest issue here