Bringing Your Horse Back Into Work

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Bringing Your Horse Back Into Work

Bringing your horse back into work can be a daunting process, filled with uncertainty, adrenaline and nerves. To make sure you are in the best place possible to start a-fresh, we have put together some things you should consider before bringing your horse to work!

Routine

Get back in the swing of things and establish a routine that works for your own and your horse’s life.

If they have been turned out 24/7, introduce periods of stabling. This will also pose the perfect opportunity to scrub off built-up grease, tidy manes and tails, and build trust within the relationship you have with your horse. It’s also a great time to establish some of your horse’s manners, which may have been forgotten over the course of their time off.

When re-establishing your horse’s schedule, consider alterations to their routine which will optimise their performance under saddle.

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Health Checks

Before you get going, making sure your horse is up to date with routine health checks is key. This will reduce the risk of adverse reactions from discomfort and the chance of potential injury.

With time-off, check-ups that are usually part of your every day routine can slip through the net. Make sure to book appointments for dental checks, farriery and physiotherapy before you get back on. This should sort out any niggles that will bother your horse when riding.

Also make sure your horse’s vaccinations are up to date, so you are ready to take up every opportunity and incorporate new environments and scenarios into your horse’s education.

Bringing Your Horse Back Into Work

Tack Checks

After time off work, your horse will have changed shape. Muscle mass will have reduced, whilst fat may have been gained. This is okay and completely normal; however, it could mean your tack doesn’t fit as it should anymore.

Rope in expert advice to ensure your horse has optimal comfort under saddle. After all, you wouldn’t want to start their ridden experience off on the wrong foot. Having a well-fitting saddle will also help with symmetry of muscle development, the co-cooperativeness of your horse and their way of going.

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Fitness

When you’re finally back on board, make sure you don’t overdo it; your horse won’t be able to perform the way they did before you gave them a holiday.

Introducing work without a rider to begin with, helping to activate muscles and strengthen them in readiness for extra pressure and exertion. Slowly build up exercise time and intensity over the course of 8-16 weeks, making sure that you are monitoring effort levels throughout.

All horse’s need a small amount of physical stress in order for muscle and system development to occur. However, too much or continually stressing the body can predispose to injury and illness. Use your initial riding experience to nail the basics, such as riding the perfect circle and improving your accuracy in flatwork movements!

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