• Jennifer Bodnar

Cross training. Cross training. Cross training.

Repetitive maneuvers cause repetitive stresses and a lack in diversity of strength.

Take you horse out for a trail ride. Its one of the easiest (and fun) things you can add to your training routine to greatly benefit your horses future soundness.

This is especially important for performance horses that spend the majority of their time working in an arena in perfect footing. Getting them out on trail rides, working on uneven and different surfaces will target strengthening the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in a variety of different ways. This will prepare your horse for how to best stabilize and compensate when he takes a bad step or slips in the arena, because he gets used to how to fix his balance when the ground isn’t perfect.

Think about if you only ran on a treadmill. You’re working your body in a very controlled environment. Now go for a run out on the trail and see how different your muscles and joints have to work when you’re landing on uneven footing! All those muscles that help fine tune and stabilize haven’t been developed enough because they’ve never really had to work very hard.

So try switching up your routine, go for a walk on the trails. The stronger and more confident they become the more you up the difficulty. Jump some fallen branches or logs. Use inclines to strengthen the hindquarters And improve their self carriage. Circle bushes and trees to work on suppleness and mental relaxation. You’ll get a stronger, more balanced horse, and one that’s better protected from injuries.

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