Tryondailybulletin.com - Full Article
By Catherine Hunter
February 13, 2018
Spring is just around the corner — the crickets and bullfrogs are starting to sing and the warm weather is coming.
If it ever stops raining long enough to ride, Foothills horse lovers will again be enjoying the trails after this exceptionally cold winter.
While we are all shaking off a little cabin fever, it is important to consider the horse’s condition if they have been off from work through the winter. Asking a horse to go on a long or fast ride when they are not in shape can not only damage the horse’s heart, wind, tendons, joints and muscles, it can betray the animal’s trust, and make them fear being ridden again.
Walking and trotting is the best place to start a fitness program. Rides in the beginning of the conditioning program should be kept short, approximately 20 to 30 minutes, and can gradually increase as the horse gains stamina.
In the beginning of the program, the rider should limit the number of days per week the horse is ridden. If the horse has done nothing but loaf in the field since early November, a five-day per week program will be too much to start. Consider riding one or two days, and then giving the horse a day or two off. If the rider wants to ride more often, she can gradually build up to five or more days a week...
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