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The importance of varied training

Sometimes it can be easy to end up riding in the arena day after day when you have not made a weekly plan for your training. Having an indoor arena during fall and winter makes it even easier to end up riding around and around inside doing dressage and flatwork 4-5 days a week.

But if you are to build a strong and durable horse, it needs time to work all the different groups of muscles. An important factor to prohibit lameness is to vary your horses training, footing and intensity.

Variated and versatile training gives the horse stronger muscles, skeleton, joints, tendons, and ligaments throughout the whole body. This makes the horse have better chances of avoiding injuries and lameness.

Doing too much of the same is never good for the horse, both for the mind and the body. Riding on the same footing everyday will eventually wear and tear on the horse. To have a healthy and durable horse, it is important to vary the footing and intensity.

If you only have access to one riding arena, try to ride outside as much as possible, to ride on natural footing and walk on pavement. Riding in the woods with roots and other elements that makes the ground uneven will also make the horse more attentive.

If you have a jumping horse you want a horse that is awake, attentive, quick off the ground and light in the front. These are all qualities you can achieve by riding outside of the arena. If you have a dressage horse, you want them to be quick to respond to the helpers, attentive, light in front and with a strong and durable body.

Having a big and lazy horse?

If you have a big and heavy horse, it is easy that the horse gets heavier and heavier in the front and for your helpers. It can be challenging to keep your big horse carrying himself around motivated, quick, attentive and with light helpers. 

Find a place where you can do a longer canter uphill to train the condition and strength. 

Your big horse will learn to keep going by himself without being pushed every stride or helped with spurs to keep going. When he can carry himself in canter up the whole hill, it will be easier next time you ask him to carry himself in the arena with light helpers.

Have a weak unbalanced horse?

Riding downhill on weak unbalanced horses is a great way of introducing what later will be asked of them in collection in the arena.

Whether you have a dressage or jumping horse, you will need to ask them to collect, sit and bend their hindlegs. 

Walking on their own balance without running downhill with rider, they will be introduced to using their body in this way, and when we later ask them for collection in the arena, they are already familiar with the feeling.

Backing up in the arena, sitting and bending their hindlegs will not be such a big deal.

Create a varied training plan

Regardless of whether you have a dressage or jumping horse, it is really important for your horse’s durability, strength, health and general well-being that you create a weekly schedule with the aim of varying the training.

Polework and gymnastics are good for dressage horses as well as jumping horses.

Trotting poles off the ground makes them use those back muscles in another way than usual. Longing them over trot poles makes them stay attentive and think for themselves.

Gymnastics is a great way of training strength for both disciplines. Longing your jumping horse over cavalettis, makes him think for himself instead of always relying on your eye to find the right distance.

A weekly schedule containing varied training for the mind and the body, where the horse trains condition, strength, motivation, attentiveness, physiotherapy and have fun could look like this:

Monday: Flatwork training flexibility and tempo changes

Tuesday: Pole work, trotting poles canter over cavallettis on bent or straight lines, training strength

Wednesday: Condition training outside canter uphill, walking downhill, on varied footing and walk on pavement.

Thursday: Day off

Friday: Dressage training or jumping training depending on discipline. 

Saturday: Longing or free running the horse so he can move freely and use his back without a saddle.

Sunday: Day off

Monday: :Dressage training or jumping training depending on discipline. 

Tuesday: Lunging over trotting poles or cavalettis

Wednesday: Easy walk outside with or without rider.

With the new calendar view in the Mosson app, you get a complete overview of your horses’ schedule on your phone.

Plan your schedule directly in the Mosson Calendar!

See everything that is planned for each horse.

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