Bringing Your Horse Back Into Work

Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted six more weeks of winter, but for many of us, thoughts of spring and more time in the saddle are in the forefronts of our minds. That means it’s time to think about getting our horses legged up for riding season. Check out these tips and tricks on bringing your horse back into work:

Winter often is a time when our horses get some time off. Whether it’s because the whether inhibits our ability to ride regularly or the lack of sunlight kills all motivation (ahem — guilty as charged), many of us decrease our time in the saddle during the colder months.

However, as spring rolls around — or at least the notion of it — we start thinking of showing, more time on the trails, and all the lovely things we will be doing with our horses in just a few short weeks or months. This does pose somewhat of a dilemma for many equestrians. How do we safely bring our horses back into work in order to get ready for show or riding season?

This same question arises for those who are bringing horses back into work after an injury. Fortunately, in her latest vlog for the FEI, Australian eventer Han of @Han Equestrian, outlines the process of bringing your horse back into work after an extended period of time off. 

She starts off by going over a checklist of physical things to think about: nutrition, saddle fit, hooves, teeth, etc. Then she outlines some basic principles underlying the reconditioning process: “Slow and steady wins the race. I always like to think of it like when you go back to the gym after having time off. You don’t immediately go back to lifting the same weights or running the same distance — you build up to it and it is exactly the same with your horse. Obviously if you rush them too much at the beginning and they get a lot of muscle soreness they might get sour to the work and worst case scenario you might end up with an injury.”

Take a look at what she has to say and get cracking at that spring riding bod.

Go riding! (No, really. Go riding.)