If your horse has seen minimal activity over the winter months, taking him out for a long springtime ride could be a tough reintroduction. Like a human training for a long race, you have to build up to that level of activity. Learn what you should be considering before your first ride.
Getting back in the saddle after a long winter can be exciting for us, but harmful to our horse. Your horse has seen little or no activity in months, so hopping on and going for a long ride is the last thing your horse needs. Here are some things to remember before you saddle up.
Always warm up
Just like athletes, horses need to be warmed up. Starting them out with groundwork—lunging or long lining—over the first couple days is a great way to loosen them up and establish trust. Then you’ll slowly work up to a trot and so on. Every horse is different so go at their pace.
Pay attention to what your horse is telling you
After a long winter of being sedentary, be aware of what your horse is telling you with its body language. Horses can easily experience sore joints or an injury the first couple of times they’re reintroduced to exercise. That’s why you want to start slow and notice how they’re reacting to the new activity level.
Don’t forget about nutrition
We’ve already discussed the benefits and concerns of spring pastures. Now we need to make sure we’re managing their increased appetites and nutritional needs as a result of more activity.
It’s no surprise active horses burn more calories. So, make sure they’re getting extra nutrients in order to maintain their energy levels. Feeds higher in fats and lower in starch can help your horse sustain a high performance with fewer digestive issues.
Going from winter to spring can be a hard adjustment. With more opportunities to be active, sometimes sore joints and muscles are inevitable. Try these tips and consider add a natural joint supplement to your feeding routine. Your horse will be ready to ride and feeling like a stud in no time.
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