Know Before You Go: Is Your Horse Fit?
Monday, January 15, 2018
You will probably want to spend many hours in the saddle to see as much country as possible. Do yourself and your horse a favor and make sure the two of you are fit enough for a riding vacation. Overweight or under conditioned horses are prone to saddle sores, heat stroke and fatigue-induced injuries. A sensible conditioning program starting six to eight weeks before your trip will make the excursion more pleasant for both of you.
To build endurance, try interval training on the trail. Start by trotting on level ground for five - 10 minutes, followed by three minutes of walking. Do this several times throughout each trail ride. Gradually increase the amount of trotting time, and add in some light hills after the first week or so. If you really want to monitor your horse's progress, invest in an equine heart monitor. This device can tell you when your horse is working too hard for his own good.
Equine heart rates will vary between individuals and are affected by things such as age, weight, temperature, fitness, and illness or injury. In very general terms, an average, healthy adult horse's resting heart rate should be between 30-40 beats per minute. A healthy aerobic working heart rate range is between 100-140 BPM. If heart rate goes above 180 BPM, slow down!
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