Get your horse back into shape

Although your conditioning program will need to be customized based on your horse's specific needs, you can start with this basic framework for bringing back a healthy, young horse who was previously fit.

Every horse’s needs are different, and any fitness program must accommodate the individual. That said, here is a basic framework for a fitness plan designed to bring back a healthy, young horse who was fit the previous year. This protocol is based on riding four or five times per week. If you’re riding only three times per week, add time to the warm-ups and walking sets, and increase the program to 45 days.

Week 1: Ride for one hour, mostly walking with a few intervals of trotting that are no more than 10 minutes each.

Week 2: Extend the total ride time to 90 minutes, keeping the same amount of trotting.

Week 3: Introduce short canter sessions, no more than three minutes each; increase trotting session to 15 to 20 minutes.

Week 4: Increase ride length up to two hours, with trot sessions of up to 20 minutes. Keep canters at three to five minutes.

Consult your veterinarian or an experienced trainer for specific guidance tailored to your horse’s individual needs.

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