Normal post winter workout for horses

Eight best winter workouts for your horse

What ever your level of eventing these work outs will get your horse fighting fit for the new season.

  • Swimming – swimming adds variety to a horse’s work and is less stressful on the joints since the horse is not weight bearing. Circular swimming pools are being surpassed with straight line pools that include a wave function to add resistance to the work, and, as the horse can get out at each end, they can put their head down for a breather between ‘laps’.

  • Water treadmills – water treadmills provide a great alternative to avoid the frosty ground and are not only getting more sophisticated (some now incorporate a computer analysis of your horse’s workout), but they are also becoming more mainstream.

  • Hill work – incorporating hills into your road work starts to develop strength and power. Studies have suggested that walking uphill is most beneficial; cantering uphill is considered ‘cheating’ as the horse can more easily pull itself along and trotting should be used with caution as it may add strain to the sacroiliac joint.

  • Leg yielding – incorporating leg yielding up and down hill can help build a horse’s core muscles, while teaching a horse to canter, trot or walk straight downhill helps them learn to ‘sit’ and lighten their forehand.

  • Lungeing – lunge work can benefit lots of horses. It helps the young horses reduce tension in their back without also dealing with the weight of a rider, and it helps the older horses to loosen up.

  • Beach riding – if you are within reach of a beach, most beach-riding bylaws are lifted between October and March, giving a great opportunity to get out on the sand. Walking through the shallow water makes the horses use their joints.

  • Gallops – not just good for physical fitness, giving your horse a blast on a gallop track is great for their mental fitness as well, giving them an opportunity to blow off some steam and teach them to move forward.

  • Interval training – alternating between cantering and walking for timed periods builds up stamina and endurance, while sprint training improves a horse’s anaerobic capacity.