So, we have now been given the go ahead to travel to our horses, and start riding but, it depends on where you were at during this ‘Lock -down’. Some of us have been able to go and see our horses and with welfare of some horses the necessity to keep riding. So we have to look at each rider and each horse and take it step by step.
If your horse has been off work from the last 8 weeks you are going to have to start from the beginning. Also, if you haven’t been able to do much exercise and have not ridden, it is going to be a gradual return. We cannot expect ourselves, let alone our horses to just jump in and start without injury or incident.
So, with your horse you are going to have to do your pre-checks and make sure their shoes are ok, and that their skin is ok. Some horses will have been clipped and some with have just lost their winter coat. I have been lucky and have been able to brush their coat out over the last 8 weeks and have now a lovely summer coat.
Look out for any lumps and bumps and check out their breathing at rest. This will give you and idea where you are starting from. Now you need to think of a small ride that would be about 20 mins to half an hour and keep it straight and relaxed. Some horses might need to be lunged depending on their character, if you are lunging you need to make sure that your circle is not too small, so that you do not put undue pressure on their legs and tendons. Also, if at all possible keep it low key and try and not let them gallop about of spend too much time in the air!
If you are aware of that you are trying to achieve usually it goes to plan, but be aware horses can be horses. I have written a 12-week fitness plan in a previous post which you can adapt to where you are. Some have been lucky enough to keep a low level of exercise and if you look through the plan you will be able to adapt it to where you are.
10 things to check.
- Make sure that you are aware of all your horse’s lumps and bumps.
- Check out the condition of your horse’s feet and shoes, due you need to contact the farrier?
- See what your saddle and bridle are looking like.
- Make sure that your saddle cloths and pads are all clean and ready to go.
- Depending on your situation this might be a good time to tidy your horse’s mane and tail.
- Check the condition of their legs and start to know what areas have any swelling or old scares.
- Double-check when you last had the saddler out, your horse’s muscles will have changed shape.
- When do you need your flue and tetanus updating, It might not be straight away but it is a good idea to have the date in your mind.
- When did you last worn your horses? Do they need a worm count or is a wormier due?
- Do you need to contact your back person or physio for your horse?
Also, make sure you both have a structured plan to get back into work and start to slowly get ready for when we can go our and about again.
I have put a link into the 12-week fitness plan above and if you go to my Facebook pages ‘Hot off the Hoof’ and Sam Goss Coaching you can find the plan.