SmartPak Monday Morning Feed: Spring Conditioning

Spring has sprung, and it’s time to get those horses in shape. What’s the best way to bring your horse back to condition after a winter off? Here are five of the top answers from our friends at SmartPak.

SmartPak asked their friends and followers on social media “What’s your #1 tip for getting a horse back in shape after a winter off?” and there were so many great tips and suggestions they wanted to capture and share them.

Scroll down through the top five tips riders like you had for bringing a horse back into regular work after a winter off:

5. Check with your vet

In times of change, it’s always a good idea to refer to your veterinarian to ensure your horse is happy and healthy first and foremost. They will be able to visually assess your horse for any areas in need of support and may be able to offer suggestions on a safe, effective conditioning plan.

4. Take it slow

Give you and your horse plenty of time to get back into the groove. That might mean working backwards to plan out the days and weeks you have available to prepare for your first big ride of the year- whether that be an event, a clinic, or a particularly challenging trail.

3. Take it in-hand

In-hand work can be a great way to starting getting you and your horse’s fitness level up. Unmounted work like hand walks and long-lining (not to be confused with lunge lining) can help minimize strain on your horse’s back or legs as they rebuild muscle while also improving your communication from the ground as an added bonus!

2. Take it up hill

Hills, if they’re available to you, are a natural source of fitness-building. Walking hills both in-hand and under saddle can be an effective way to increase fitness without increasing the speed or intensity of your work.

1. Work the walk

Noticed anything our community (that’s YOU!) stressed over and over again? You guessed it: walking! Whether you’re in hand, long-lining, ponying, under saddle, or anything else, spending a lot of time at the walk is the best way to get your horse started after time off. (Not sure how much time to spend? Refer back to #5!)


Happy spring, and get in shape, Horse Nation. Go SmartPak and go riding!