Steady does it…

You know that wonderful moment when you first get back on your horse after they have been off work. Yes, that one… You want to get on, ride all day, gallop across every field, half-pass from corner to corner, do endless simple changes, jump every fence…but you can’t, can you.

And neither will we be able to. The lockdown restrictions won’t just disappear and the world will snap back to how it once was. They will gradually relax, gradually we will have more freedom, more liberty, more opportunities. We have to be patient, almost I suspect, more patient than before. After all the self-control required to simply ride your horse for 5 mins after not being able to ride for 6 weeks of box rest, is far greater than simply not riding at all.

When you are rehabbing a horse after injury, or box-rest, you start with walking, then gradually introduce a few trot steps,and then a little more trotting and then a few strides of canter. You build up the time minute by minute and the energy levels each day and in time you are able to do everything you want.

But if you miss out the painstaking steps of building fitness and stamina for fleeting pleasure, your fitness has no longevity, it will let you down, you will re-injure, you must take it steady, you must build up gradually. Then in time you will be galloping across that field, attending that show, jumping those fences or simply hacking down a dappled country track.

And we must do the same. If we run around like lunatics doing everything we run the risk of putting ourselves back to square one, and that would not be a good thing! But if we build slowly, follow the advice, we should be able to rebuild our “fitness” and soon be out and about enjoying the world again…

Get ready…

It’s not that long till the season kicks off. The days are already getting longer, you are starting to look ahead towards the shows, deciding on your aims, working out your goals for the year.

Getting fit for the coming season is really important. We all tend to put on weight over the winter, the weather encouraging us to eat! Our muscle tone diminishes with reduced exercise and our general fitness level decreases. Getting ourselves fit independently of our horses is important to help our riding. Try and walk more, or go jogging to help increase your general fitness. If jogging isn’t quite your style, why not try some yoga or stretching to keep improve flexibility and muscle tone.

As well as improving our own fitness, helping our horses to improve their muscles tone and carriage is part of preventing injury. It is all too tempting to try and skip groundwork to get out competing or out for that really long hack, but the injury risk becomes higher if we miss the important basics.

The Equiband System enables the horse to build good musculoskeletal strength and facilitates the horse in flexing up through the spine. It is not a shortcut or a gimmick, but as part of a sensible and structured rehabilitation or training schedule it may help to encourage your horse to work in an optimum way.

There are no shortcuts to making you and your horse fit, but it is important to make sure that you have the best year with your horse. Time spent now on both of your fitness, will pay dividends throughout the year, so get those trainers on and start jogging! Remember pain now will bring you pleasure later, so as you’re running through the rain picture a glorious sun-filled hack for miles and miles and miles!