Training tips

Losing weight with a
fit horse

If your horse is already fit (he has no problems with the fitness test and can easily do 60 minutes of basic dressage 4 x a week), then it is important to ensure that the fat burning process increases. Endurance training is still a good basis. However, you have to add strength training. Only adding extra meters will not help your horse lose weight for that matter. This does not burn any extra calories.

The advice is to do 3 endurance training sessions of 1 or sometimes 1.5 hours a week (for example, during hacking), including a sufficient amount of cantering (at least 4 minutes per 60 minutes of exercise). Furthermore, add 2 to 3 more intensive training sessions. These training sessions may be shorter of duration but have to be more strenuous.

Tips for an
intensive training

  • Make lots of transitions. Ride your horse a few strides firmly forward and take him back. Ride many transitions in a very short time: from canter to walk, from walk to canter. If your horse can’t do this, it is ok to ride transitions from walk to trot, or from trot to canter. Ride these transitions for 30 to 60 seconds and alternate with walk or trot reprises of 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat this exercise 3 to 4 times.
  • Ride cavaletti/poles exercises in trot or canter. Here again, 4 x 30 seconds minimum, alternated with 1 to 2 minutes recovery in walk or trot.
  • Put several cavaletti in a straight line (for example 3 to 4 in-outs, or 2 small jumps at 2 or 3 strides) and repeat this several times in a row.
  • During a hack, ride 1 to 2 minutes in a good medium canter. Please note: do not ride as fast as you can. It should be a controlled and collected medium canter. Subsequently allow your horse some time to recover. Repeat this exercise 1 to 2 times.
  • Training uphill. You do not really need actual hills to do an uphill training. Walking over a fly-over can be sufficient. You should do this a number of times (4 to 6 times). You can easily include this exercise while you are cooling down your horse: cool down your horse on the road, try to find a fly-over and cross it several times.
It is important that your horse keeps enjoying the work. Make sure that you vary sufficiently. If possible, ride your horse and do not lunge too much. Use cavaletti exercises a few times a month or ask someone to go hacking with you.

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