The sun is shining. The grass is turning green. The colorful flowers are starting to come out. And maybe most importantly the temperature is warming up.
With the warming temperatures means more riding time.
More riding time means happier riders and hotter horses.
Here’s your friendly reminder to take it slow with your horses if you haven’t had the opportunity to ride consistently all winter.
A lot of people including myself have had plenty of the winter blues. The weather had been less than stellar in a large part of the country.
Breath. Cut yourself a break. You are doing the best you can where you are at.
But also be realistic with your horse’s physical shape. This is the time to be bridging the gap between winter hit and miss riding to long summer nights.
Horses are athletes. We should prepare them as such.
They need proper warm up and cool down.
They need properly planned riding to get in shape. They need to be properly ramped up and challenged. Horses do not need to be rode hard every once in a while.
Horses need to be properly challenged both cardiovascularly and through their joints. People often think about making sure their horses have “air,” but they can overlook the importance of strengthening.
Horses’ tendons and ligaments need to be loaded in order to get stronger. Tendons and ligaments have the least amount of blood flow. This means that they are the slowest of the body tissues to change. They are some of the slowest to heal when they are injured.
Farley Schweighart is a Physical Therapist who helps riders and their horses heal from injury, improve performance, and return to winning.