Horse fitness

Are you pushing your horse to hard?

Are you asking of your animal something he/she cannot do?

Horses are a living paradox: they are big and strong, and yet also fragile. Regardless of your professional or amateur status as a horse person, and which discipline you are involved in, you and your horse will go through a lot of miles together, both in training and in competition.

Find out how you can determine the fitness of your animal in an easy 2 step program from my book Fitness Evaluation of the Horse, Howell Equestrian Library, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

I developed a fitness evaluation program to provide you with important knowledge that will help you evaluate your horse’s fitness and possibly solve some of the problems he/she might show. Ultimately, this will improve your relationship with your animal in several ways.

You will be able to:

*  Identify the strong and weak areas of your horse.

*  Better understand your horse’s aptitudes.

*  Select a specific exercise program to balance and strengthen your horse and  progress in your riding performance.

*  Identify early signs and symptoms of strain in your horse, and therefore prevent complications or injuries.

*  Better care for your horse.

*  Save time and money by contacting your veterinarian early in the process.

Find out for yourself using these 2 simple steps.

First Step – A riding evaluation offers you a simple Riding Evaluation Program, the REP, to help you evaluate the fitness of the horse at all his normal gaits. This easy step-by-step REP will allow you to identify any abnormalities, if  present, in your horse at the any gaits. The information contained in this section will help you recognize the stronger and the weaker sides of your horse, any tight muscle groups or sore joints. As you proceed to work all natural gaits and their variations, you will be able to assess all aspect of his anatomy. As you gain experience with this process, you will make better guesses about what you feel, see and get from your horse’s performance.

Second Step – I created a simple palpation routine to verify the fitness of your horse’s musculoskeletal systems. The “Palpation Evaluation Program” (PEP) will allow you to further your investigation and verify your guesses from the earlier riding evaluation. Down on the ground, this PEP will help you determine what is really showing in your horse’s musculoskeletal system. From your riding clues, you will be able to follow up with your fingertips to identify the exact location of any problem. In this section, there is a multipoint diagnostic test for the horse’s musculo-skeletal system. The valuable information contained here will make you comfortable in carrying the evaluation of 25 important points on each side of the horse.

This fitness evaluation program of the horse is a great routine you can use at anytime, anywhere and on any horses. Both the REP and the PEP will reveal a lot of information on the horse to you. The combination of these two tests will allow you to find out about:

  • Any dentition problem.
  • Any skeletal problem.
  • Any existing musculoskeletal condition or conformation problem.
  • Any weak body part.
  • Any achy legs from the wear and tear on joints
  • Any discomfort from the effect of the present shoeing.

From there you can choose the best course of action to improve the fitness of your horse. Depending upon your finding, you might simply need to adjust your training program  in order to remedy to the possible weakness at hand, or you might need to call upon other professionals to help your horse  back to a better musculoskeletal fitness.

In the case of a new horse, your personal examination will reveal right away if this particular horse is or not a good candidate. The major reasons for your personal fitness evaluation are:

  • If any, to evaluate the extent of these conditions or problems.
  • To interpret the results of your examination relevant to the use of the horse.
  • To identify the potential for future problems.

If, from your personal fitness evaluation program, you feel that the horse presents some serious musculoskeletal issues that would interfere with your riding goals, then you can reconsider your decision. You just save yourself a bunch of time and money.

On the other end, if the horse appears to be a good candidate, then you can move to the next step, contracting a veterinarian for a pre-purchase examination. Through his findings, your veterinarian will be able to inform and advise you about the horse’s complete general health and about any specific condition the horse may present.

As much as this program will help you identify the fitness level of your horse, it will also help you discover your horse demeanour and work ethic.

  • Is your horse willing to work?
  • Is he showing good temperament?
  • Does he enjoy working?
  • Is he lazy or erratic?
  • Is he temperamental

This thorough test will help you discover all those details so you can choose the right horse for you.

I encourage you to read this book and incorporate it into your daily routine. I am sure you will find it a valuable tool, which will become a constant reference for you over the years.

3 Responses to “Horse fitness”

  1. September 18, 2011 at 12:56 am, Josie said:

    Was totally stuck until I read this, now back up and runnnig.

    • November 25, 2011 at 3:50 am, Jahlin said:

      Articles like this just make me want to visit your wseibte even more.

  2. December 08, 2011 at 11:52 pm, Sebastian Disano said:

    Very interesting info!Perfect just what I was searching for!

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