All horses benefit from exercise. Over the countless generations that horses have worked alongside humans, they have grown into amazing athletes. This has involved the facilitation of their ability to exercise by means of many unique adaptations.
Importance of Exercise
While horses have long worked with humans as a means of transportation and labor, nowadays most horses are kept as companions and pets for pleasure riding. These horses are at the greatest risk of obesity, which puts them in danger of a host of other complications.
Exercise fights off obesity and works several systems in an equine physique. These include the muscular, respiratory, skeletal, and cardiovascular systems. Weight-bearing exercises are useful for the building of stronger bones. Different types of training will produce different muscle types, whether fit for endurance or sprinting. Some breeds have genetic predispositions to one type of work or the other, but regardless of type, exercise is vital for every horse, working or pet.
Daily workouts are useful to horses in various ways. They increase the mount’s stamina while aiding heart and lung function. They also tone and improve the function of tendons, muscles, and ligaments while maintaining and facilitating proper hoof and bone development.
Daily exercise regimens help everything from the working of the stomach to the working of the mind. They improve the immune system, increasing resistance to disease, and also help clear secretions from the lungs.
On an emotional level, daily workouts help an owner or rider and horse form a bond of confidence and trust.
Different Forms of Exercise
There are weeks when time cannot be found for daily rides. Free exercise time in pasture can certainly help those days. Other means of exercising without riding for hours include lunging or working a horse in a circle. Goals have a large impact on the particular workout. If you are working for endurance, you will do long, slow buildups, for instance.
For largely sedentary, obese, or elderly horses, workouts should be eased into gradually.
A daily regimen of exercise helps keep a horse in slim and trim working order, with a keen mental edge and a better attitude. Many behavior problems find their root in confinement issues. From brain to hoof and everything in between, a horse’s whole body and mind are helped by exercise.