Here are some fantastic winter riding tips for keeping your horse fit over those dull and dreary months. And with spring around the corner, what better time to up your horses fitness in time to enjoy the better weather….
My Top Tips for keeping horses fit in winter!
- Use interval training– there are many, many interval training programmes you can follow to maintain and improve your horses fitness. This can be done on the lunge, hacking or schooling.
- Regular, consistent work rather than random or weekend sessions. Inconsistent exercise can lead to discomfort and injury. Older horses will take longer to return to full fitness from time off. Keep your horse as active as possible year-round. So don’t stop training your horse for a month (or more unless necessary)- rebuilding the muscle, flexibility and stamina takes more time to regain as the years go by.
- A 20 min lunging session will allow your horse to stretch his legs, maintain his (or her) fitness especially if you do not have the time to hack him/her. We all hate the dark cold nights!
- Variety is important to keep your horses fit and entertained. Horses go sour quickly when their work load is repetitive. Harvey especially! I take every opportunity to hack, jump or long rein etc to keep his brain active and occupied.
- Clip appropriately for their workload. Harvey is clipped all year round for his own comfort as he has a very thick coat! This leads to rugging accordingly! Do not over-rug because YOU feel cold- it does not mean your horse does!
- Spend longer warming up and cooling down than in the summer months
- Daily exercise, even if Harvey has to stay in because of the bad weather, i make sure he is exercises so he has a good leg stretch and the extra time stables does not cause any health or joint problems
Laura and Harvey can be found at: