How to Keep Your Horse Fit Without Riding

May 17, 2020
 woman walking horse in field

There are many reasons to prioritize your horse’s fitness. Keeping your horse fit is good for his health and can help with weight management. Your horse may need regular exercise because of limited turnout. And if you plan to compete with your horse, he’ll need to be fit and ready for the physical demands of competition.

Whether you simply don’t have time to ride, are recovering from an injury that prevents you from riding or are simply looking to change up your horse’s routine, these activities can help you to keep your horse fit without ever having to mount up.

Focus on Lunging

Lunging can be a great tool, and it also gives you the chance to watch and become familiar with your horse’s movement. By lunging your horse in long reins or side reins, you can encourage him to use his body for maximum strength and fitness-building benefits.

Be careful when introducing lunging to your horse. If he isn’t used to lunging, then you need to progress gradually. Lunging can be stressful on your horse’s body, so keep your initial sessions short, reverse directions frequently, and introduce aids like side reins only when your horse is experienced in lunging.

Go For Hand Walks

Sometimes a change of setting is refreshing for both you and your horse, so consider incorporating hand walks into your horse’s exercise. Hand walks provide a great opportunity to take your horse out into new settings and places, like nearby trails. It’s an ideal way to introduce young or inexperienced horses to elements that could scare them, while your presence on the ground provides reassurance. Plus, both you and your horse will get some good exercise during these walks.

Ground Drive Your Horse

Ground driving offers a great way to get your horse fit while developing his training, too. You can train your horse to ground drive in an arena, but then consider ground driving him in other areas — like out on the trails — for a change of pace. Ground driving will give you both exercise. Plus, because you have control of both reins, ground driving can give you a little extra control that’s ideal when you’re starting your horse back to work after an injury or are working a wiggly youngster.

Work in a Round Pen

If you have access to a round pen, then you have access to a valuable training and fitness development tool. You can do many of the above options, like lunging and ground driving, within a round pen. The round pen also offers you an ideally sized area so that you can still maintain control and contact with your horse when you’re working him without a bridle or halter.

Round pens are ideal options for doing groundwork, working with your horse at liberty and working him in hand. Because these pens are often larger than the circles that you would lunge a horse on, they can be less stressful on a horse’s body, which is a big benefit if you’re starting a young horse or bringing an unfit horse back into work.

There are many ways to keep your horse fit, and they don’t all involve riding. By focusing on your horse’s fitness, you can give him an advantage when it comes to competitions. Don’t forget that BRL Equine supplements can also support your horse’s performance. And with our 90-day Money-Back Guarantee, you can see the difference any of our supplements make in your equine athlete, risk-free.

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