Howdy Friends! Miss Rosie all set to hit the trail today. Nice little 15 minute trail ride. Some early wildflowers decorated our trail. Been a little while but we’re back in the saddle again. By God’s Grace.


It takes a little effort to restart a horse after a bit of time off. We’ve not hit the trail since mid December. So the past few weeks Rosie and I have been working on getting fit for saddle work again. Ring, at liberty, ground-work, exercises and light conditioning.

Miss Rosie working at liberty walking the ring in tack. Getting in shape for restart rides. Liberty better than lunge line.

I used to play in the world of Competitive and Endurance Riding. I learned from some very talented equestrians the absolute importance of having a horse, “Fit to continue.” Or simply fit to ride.

Did you know a horse loses its cardio fitness in about 30 days, muscles about the same, and tendon, bone in about 90 days. I learned from those who knows, it takes 60 days for cardio rebuilding, 90 – 120 for muscle, and a year for bone and tendon to condition.

Some folks say that’s silly for a horse that was as fit as Rosie before the idle time. But it’s not. There is much that needs to happen in those first rides back. Which should begin at 15 minutes.

Think about all the areas the tack touches, the big muscles along the spine, the girth area, even the headstall. All are out of shape and need to come back. And every part of her needs to readjust to carrying weight. Her back, legs, muscles, bones, heart, lungs, tendons and feet. And her vascular system.
Find all the important “ReStart” exercises and strategies in my book “It’s For The Horses.”

Imagine had I simply tossed on the saddle and went merrily along for an hour’s ride, without the days of restart exercises, the stress it would have put on tight muscles and tendons. Sure she’d have done what I asked because she trusts me and is trained to, but she’d not have enjoyed it, and the discomfort would have chipped away at her trust and enthusiasm. I wonder how many horses are disciplined and sent for training, or sold, because their owners misunderstood their expressions of discomfort for bad behavior.

For the health of your horse, and your relationship, remember to take the time it takes to “re-start” your horse to “fit to continue” shape before hitting the trail after idol time. ~ Gitty Up, Dutch.


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