BUILDING HINDQUARTERS

Lots of bending, giving to the bit.

Hill work. Let your horse trot up the hill the first couple oftimes and walk down to work off some excess energy. Keep to a walk for the rest of the exercise. Working slowly builds your horse's muscles up more than letting him race up the hill like he wants to do. Go up and down only a few times at first.

Trot your horse up and down the hill when he is able to hold the walk without wanting to get faster. This point can take weeks to work up to. Again, don't let your horse get faster.

Arena Work

1. Set up five jump poles, about 3 feet apart in an area that's flat and not slippery. Lift them about 6 inches on pieces of wood or something else they'll fall off easily if your horse hits them. Walk horse over the poles, called cavalletti, on a long rein so he can stretch his head and neck down. Walk straight forward until your horse has cleared the last pole, then turn him on a big halfcircle and walk back over the poles from the other direction. Practice with the cavalletti every other day for the first week, then every day starting the second week. If your horse isn't sore, you can add more walking over the poles each new week, advance to Trotting exercise when conditioning is warranted.

2. For trotting exercises, set up three to five ground poles, set about 5 feet apart. Trotting over ground poles is good for overall balance, encouraging your horse to round his back and strengthen his abdominal muscles. Stay in a two-point position so you are off his back and use a loose rein so he can stretch down as he goes over the poles. Once he has mastered this, raise the poles to 6 inch height. As horse conditioning improves adjust cavalettis to different heights for even greater conditioning.

3. Downward transitions. The downward transitions will help encourage her to use her butt more. Doing walk/trot and walk/canter transitions helps strengthen your horse. When your horse has to transition between gaits, he has to get his hind end underneath him and carry himself in a rounder frame. Start with trot to walk and back to the trot, then proceed to canter to walk and back to canter. Make sure you are riding with a soft hand and relaxed seat so that your horse can relax his head and back to get the most out of this exercise. You can also work on transitions within each gait, asking your horse to intermittently lengthen and then shorten his stride.

4. Set up jumping gymnastics. She will learn how to jump with her hind end, rather than throw herself over the jump with her front end. Start small by using a trot pole set about 7 or 8 feet from a small cross rail jump. Set another small jump 18 feet from the cross rail, and then put another pole 17 feet on the other side ofthe last jump.

5. Lunging. Prepare the horse for the workout by attaching the cavesson and lunge line. Warm up your horse for five minutes with a walk. Attach the side reins. Work on transitions for five minutes, with walk breaks in between. Start with a trot/walk/trot or canter/trot/canter. Introduce new transitions as your horse's aptitude grows. (Transitions for later include working trot/lengthened trot, working canter/lengthened canter, canter/walk/canter.)Switch directions, and spend five minutes doing walk/trot/canter. Spend the final five minutes doing more transitions at the level of your horse's aptitude, as described in step three. Cool down your horse with a walk/trot/walk.



 

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