Brittany Kelly on Keeping Your Horse Fit
Hi, I am Brittany Kelly, and I want to talk to you today about keeping your horse fit. There is a difference between when you’re on the road or when you’re home. When I’m home I have a trot track and I like to go out and walk for 30 to 45 minutes. I believe that you should really start slow with a lot of walking when you are exercising your horse. I don’t agree with just loping off as soon as you get them saddled and expect them to feel good. I don’t think it’s any different than if you’re getting ready to go for a run or workout. We all stretch and warm up and I believe horses are bigger animals, so they need even more of that. You can prevent a lot of injuries from doing a lot of walking. I recommend finding a good podcast, motivational speaker, or book to listen to and then just let your horse chill out and cruise.
Once I get done with that I like to long trot for about 10 to 15 minutes, mainly straight lines. I work on moving them off my legs, so they’re bending and flexing. It’s a good way to keep your horse responsive and out in an environment that they are enjoying. If you don’t have a trot track to use you can take them out in the pasture, or if all you have is an arena you can just use the fence line. I use the fence line probably more than most. I believe that it’s important for horses to go in straight lines, so I do a lot of straight lines down the fences. It’s also easier on their joints.
I also do arena work, such as figure eights and small circles. Sometimes I set up one barrel and work only one barrel because they have to strengthen those muscles. This is important too because you can’t just go on the trot track and then expect them to go compete at a high level.
I also believe in cross-training such as roping the Heel-O-Matic, or rope cattle on barrel horses. It’s another good way to give them a burst of speed and to get them on their hind end. Finding different ways to strengthen those muscles that’s not necessarily always barrel work. However, practice on barrels is also important in order to strengthen and build muscle and stamina specifically for barrel racing.
If you’re bringing your horse back from an injury, your vet should be your go to for deciding the best program. Usually, the recommendation is a lot of hand walking, especially after stall rest, then after a certain amount of time you can start to pony them 10-15 minutes at a time at walking pace, and then gradually increase time and speed accordingly.
Check out the full interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM5-UIl8ukk&t=7s
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