When you are thinking of going out and about with your horse, you really need to make sure that he or she has been working and has some fitness otherwise, you will end up breaking your horse.
Before we get going on how to get your horse fit, you need to think of the things that need checking and sorted so that your horse can get going and work to his or her fullest. If your horse has been off work for over a month and out in the field you need to give them a thorough check over.
It might be a good idea to bring him in for a little while and get him used to being away from the herd, or if you know a horse is difficult by himself bring two horses in together and it will make the work easier. You can slowly separate them over a period of time and get them used to coming into a stable alone if your routine demands it.
Once you bring the horse in you can check him over for any lumps and bumps. Also, check the condition of his shoes and if possible get the farrier out and sort out a set of shoes that would be an idea for the work he is going to start to do. Some horses have their hind shoes taken off when they are resting and some have the whole set off. So, a visit from the farrier is a must once you start on road work.
Worming, it is a good idea to make sure that you have wormed your horse before you start to get him fit. If he has been out 24/7 he might be changing his routine and food, so worming before you start is a good idea. It is a good idea now to get a worm check on your horse’s dung and this will help you identify the worm burden so you are able to understand what is happening in his gut.
Inoculations. It is a good idea to get your annual flu and tetanus injections done before your horse is in full work, it will not interfere with their work. It is a good idea to give horses a day off after they injections as it is better for them not to sweat for 24 hrs.
Teeth. Getting their teeth looked at is a good idea as they have been out and about eating grass for a couple of months. This will also allow you to have an even pain free contact to work with. Dentists should be on the British Veterinary Dental Association (BVDA) so that you know they know what they are doing.
Shoes. Like I had mentioned about it is a good idea to get the horse’s shoes done, Farriers take part in an extensive apprenticeship for five years, they can be found on the above link. There is a great saying ‘No foot, no horse’, farriers are a great help in keeping your horse on the road and someone that can help you when something isn’t quite right with your horse.
All the above things need checking along with your tack. A horse can change shape when they are out of work and you will need to keep an eye on the areas that the saddle and bridle sit so that you do not get any rubs.
Once you have done all of the above you can get going and start to get your horse on the road. I will be writing about fitness programs in the next couple of blogs, so if you would like to know more about what we are going to write about please feel free to leave your email address on our site of go to Sam Goss Coaching page and like our page and keep in touch.