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Winter Exercise
2006 Cherry Hill
www.horsekeeping.com

Longeing and Long Lining
the English and Western Horse
101 Longeing and
Long Lining Exercises
Becoming An
Effective Rider
Longeing and Long Lining the Western Horse
101 Longeing and Long Lining Exeercises
Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage
Your Horse Barn DVD
Stablekeeping

Daily exercise is essential for the overall health of your horse year round and this includes winter. A regular exercise program will invigorate your horse's appetite, tone his muscles, increases lung and heart capacity and help develop reflexes and co-ordination.

Exercise increases circulation, and improves the quality and strength of bones, tendons, ligaments, and hooves. It conditions and stretches muscles and tendons, resulting in less chance of injury and lameness.

Allowing horses to regularly play in moderately soft footing will likely minimize problems that could occur when they are turned out in deep snow.

Horses that are allowed ample exercise are mentally content.They rarely develop vices such as pawing, stall kicking or wood chewing, which are often results of boredom.

All horses of all ages need exercise every day - either a daily ride, training session, or turnout in a large pen or pasture. Horses which are to go back into active work in the spring should be kept in moderate condition throughout the winter with a formal light exercise program consisting of two to three sessions a week.

Especially during the winter, horses must be more thoroughly warmed up before strenuous exertion and allowed adequate time to cool down before being put away. This can sometimes prevent you from working your horse late in the afternoon - there just is not enough time to thoroughly cool out and dry your horse before night.

When riding is impractical, free exercise is one of the least labor intensive and most natural ways of providing exercise for horses. Ponying involves leading one horse while riding another.

Longeing, working a horse from the ground in a circle on a thirty foot line, is an exercise option for horses over two years of age.

Electric horse walkers are useful for occasional sessions but should not be viewed as the mainstay of the exercise program.

Treadmills can also be used for an occasional workout, providing the horse is gradually conditioned to the work and carefully monitored for signs of stress.

Horses that are to be turned out for the winter should be let down from their exercise schedule gradually. Decreasing the intensity of work and number of hours of work per week during the last month of fall training will allow the horse to adjust to its new routine both physically and mentally.

Confined horses that are not turned out regularly in the winter often react with over-exuberant bursts of energy when they finally are let out. This, coupled with the slippery footing characteristic of winter, results in an increase in the number of muscle and tendon injuries.

Also, because of frozen ground, sole bruises and abscesses are common winter problems.

Avoid overheating your horse during the winter and be sure to properly cool him out.

Working in deep snow is very fatiguing and can easily cause a horse to become leg weary and sweaty. If you are going to keep your horse in active work throughout the winter, consider a combination of clipping and blanketing to keep his hair coat easier to maintain and safer for his health.

After any workout, be sure to cool your horse down gradually and thoroughly. If he is wet, rough up his coat with towels or burlap, cover him with a wool cooler, and keep him in motion until his body heat has normalized and his
hair coat has dried.

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  2006 Cherry Hill 

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