Some owners don’t get on their horses for weeks, then take them out for hours on a trail ride and wonder why they become lame – sometimes permanently.
Don’t be that owner! Maintain your horse’s fitness through regular riding, and follow a correct program of exercise. Look for horseback riding books which tell you how to plan your riding sessions in the best interests of your horse.
The ebook Horse Riding Lessons: Teaching Yourself to Ride, together with its accompanying horse riding video will explain how to do this, and help keep your horse healthy and rideable.
Warming Up Your Horse
If you go to a basketball game, you’ll see the players perform warm-up exercises on court for quite some time before the game starts. This is to loosen up their muscles and reduce their risk of injury during the game.
A horse is no different. He needs time to loosen up, too. Especially if you have an older horse - which is likely when you’re a beginner rider – he’ll not ‘get going’ as quickly as a younger horse. Start your riding session slowly.
Bad Things Happen If You Don’t!
If you don’t do this, your horse can sustain serious injuries. Typical results of working a horse too hard, too soon are pulled tendons, ligaments and suspensories.
Depending on the severity of the injury, your horse will be out of work for six months. During this time you’ll spend a lot of money on visits from and to the vet plus extra boarding fees because your horse will be on ‘stall rest.’
This involves around three months in his stall without turnout, requiring more work on the part of the staff at the barn, who’ll have to clean out his stall more often and give him more hay.
Mental Strain on the Horse
Your horse will be very unhappy while stuck in his stall and watching his friends go out into the paddocks every morning without him. He’ll get bored and possibly develop stable vices such as cribbing, wind-sucking and weaving, which heavily reduce his value.
Get the Picture?
And that’s for a horse that will get better. If you’ve overdone the riding without warming him up, you could have a horse that can never be ridden again.
These disasters can easily be avoided by the simple precaution of taking it slowly at the beginning and end of each riding session and not riding him too long if he’s not fit enough. It’s much better for your horse and being relaxed, he’ll also feel more comfortable for you to ride.