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Horse Care and Comfort

Loan Pony Fitness?

Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed

Hi all,
I have recently got a pony on loan and I rode her yesterday (she was really nice) but she is a bit unfit. She is at least part arab and therefore NOT a plodder but I think it would really benefit her if she was a bit fitter. As I dont have that much experience in dealing with fitness in horses I was wondering how I would get her fitter wothout straining her muscles and suchlike.
I would be very grateful for any suggestions :)
Also I am thinking of buying her a V shaped browband but I was wondering if it does anything or is just for show :)

vicci - UK (North Wales)
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed 300 lessons completed 350 lessons completed

Hi Abi

One of the best ways to increase fitness I find is by longlining. Build the time and amount you ask her to do gradually. Uphill walking is also good for her, stretches her hamstrings and increases her stamina. Riding her of course will help, but overall a structured plan with plenty of variety that increases her stamina and strength without making her too out of breath/sweaty (and potentially reluctant to work) is my preferred method. Will be interested to see what others say - looking forward to some other ideas! Re: V shaped browband....not a clue I'm afraid!

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I agree with Viccih1 - you need to build it up gradually and longlining is an excellent way to start off. Hillwork too is great for fittening - walking uphill at first, then trying a trot and moving up to canter when she is getting fitter. It's just like with people - imagine if you started at the gym and were completely unfit, you would begin with simple exercises for short periods of time, increasing the length and difficulty as you got fitter - it's just the same with horses. You may find that 10-15 minutes per day of longlining is enough to start with, and the more cautious you are the less likely she is to injure herself.
With regard to the v-shaped browband, I think they are just for show and designed to show off the shape of the head.

Certified Instructor Ann Lindberg/Sweden
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Hi Abi, learn about the heart rate - the pulse gives you the perfect picture on her fitness. Now, the lungs and muscles get better faster then the tendons and ligaments.
In 8 weeks you will get a horse fit for pleasure riding. You start with 20 minutes of walk, not too soft soil, rather dirtroads and on the 4 week on road. You increase the walking with 10 minutes per day. Second week long lining twice and keep doing the walking. You need to remember the pulse rate so to know if you have increased too much work as well as making sure the legs are ok the day after every workout. Gradually you start trotting about 10 minutes out of your hour, hour and a half walk and build from there. The first weeks is about low intense activation and strengthening the tendons and ligaments and get the blood pumping for the muscles. After this part the workout comes into play and when built up it´s the intense training (gallop and anaerobe training).
Make sure the muscles in the back is okay and you have a good saddle.
Low intense training is a pulserate between 100-160 beats - it takes between 6-12 months to build this up. Then the workout part, the horse should have a recovery pulse rate on steady 60-80 beats about 8 minutes after working out. Remember that "workout" does include climbing and canter in intervals. This way your horse will be happily healthy and okey to ride for up to 3 hours of pleasure riding.
A very short explanation Abi! You will find Loads of information on google! BEST OF LUCK! Warmest CI Ann Lindberg

EquiAbi (UK)
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Ok thankyou all very much for your ideas and advice - its very helpful having experienced people on the forum who can help with questions and queries:)