I want to challenge your thinking right now. I want to challenge the way view your horse. Now I do not mean the way you see your horse by color or size but functionality. Our horses are athletes. That's right Athletes.
Webster Dictionary defines an athlete as:
Now you are probably saying "well this definition only mentions people, not animals..."
Ahh well shouldn't we be viewing our horses as athletes as well?
After all they are "proficient in sports and other forms of exercise" right?! We teach them a variety of things from trail competition obstacles, dressage, jumping, cross country, roping, barrel racing, calf roping, steer wrestling. They need to be in just as good, if not better, shape than we are in order to perform the duties we set before them. Don't ya think we need to view them as athletes then?
I surely do (duh I'm writing this article lol)
Sometimes I wonder if I just get on my horse and expect him to be able to run a mile super fast just because he is a horse. I myself have caught myself not viewing my horse properly. If I want to running a 5k I train. I run different lengths multiple times a day, stretch, strength train to prepare. We need to prepare our horses as well.
So what kind of preparation do our horses need? Well, that depends on what kinds of activity you are going to be doing. Like trail horses need to be agile, flexible, and cardio endurance so that whatever they come across on the trail they are ready. Barrel Racers need explosive speed and agility. Roping horses need explosive speed as well but light on their feet for quick sharp turns on point. Cross Country horses need the whole package, flexible, strong, agile, speed, sharpness.
Each need/discipline needs something a little different as well as each horse needs a different approach to getting them into shape depending on their own physical abilities.
There are some basic core principles that every equine athlete can benefit from. I am going to briefly mention them here and talk more in depth on each one in follow up articles for you.
Have any of you used any of these therapies to help your horse out?
Courtney Rasbach B.S., RVT
Courtney loves God, nature, horses, homemaking, essential oils, herbs & CrossFit, Yoga, BJJ, Natural horsemanship. Learn more about the author in her Bio section.
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