ChloeAnWomble

Chloe and Merlin
Feb 3, 2016
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Aberystwyth
Hello, i have a new 6 yr old 14'1 Section C, he has been out of work since July last year when he had an operation as he was a rig going to the meat man and was saved by a rescue and cut properly, when i first met him we went for a ten min little hack just out of the field and to see what he was like and he is fine under saddle no sign of any lameness, but im unsure of how to bring him back into work, aiming for summer to be able to do a few little walk trot dressage tests, before his op he was used mainly for hacking done a little bit of jumping and basic schooling his owner tells he had a nice established walk and trot and an unbalanced canter, just thinking what will be best for him to bring him back into work?

I've been told by someone hacking out would be mean on him and cause problems as hes not been ridden in so long but he really loves being ridden you could see it in him the other week when i rode him how happy he was to be out and about.

Thank-you from
Chloe and Womble
 

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squidsin

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Feb 16, 2013
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I don't see how hacking would be unfair on him? If he likes it and you like it, and it's safe, then great! I'd get his back/teeth/tack checked first then just take it steady - build up slowly, starting off with 10-15 minutes in walk, up to half an hour, then introduce trotting when you think he's ready, then canter, over a period of a few weeks. If he seems unhappy or like you're rushing him at any point, then just go back a step. It sounds like you know what you're doing really - have confidence in yourself!
 
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Mary Poppins

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As long as you build it up slowly, I can't see why you wouldn't hack him. I would stay in walk for the first few weeks. Start with 20 minutes per day to start with and then build up to about an hours walking over about 4 weeks. Then introduce short bursts of trot and go from there.
 

orbvalley

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Another in agreement for hacking him back to fitness - if you both like it then why not, it'll put less stress on an unfit horse than schooling (provided you build it up slowly of course as you no doubt intended to ;)
 

Jessey

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Another in agreement here, hacking (stright lines generally) puts less strain on joints etc so is better for the unfit body, circles take lots of effort. Id start with 15 mins and build it up slowly, walking for 6 weeks lays down a good muscular foundation and gives enough time to build areobic fitness. Then just start adding short trots and build those up slowly :)
 

EquineFanatic

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Depends if it is hilly were your trails are. I would start with 10 minutes for the first week with at least 4 rides. Then if he isn't sweaty towards the end and isn't breathing hard, add another 5 minutes the next week. Keep adding five minutes every week or two until you can ride an easy 45 minutes at a walk with no problem.

After that start asking for a little collection, make him work his hind end, add lunging with side reins for 5 or 10 minutes a couple of times a week.

Add trotting when he can walk trails for an hour without getting sweaty and out of breath. :D
 

KP nut

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How was he kept while out of work? If he was out in a large area on a hill with horsey friends he will be far fitter already than if he was kept alone in a small flat field or worse still a stable.
You need to build up his back and abdominal muscles so he can carry your weight easily and you need to build up cardiovascular endurance. If he's been out in space on a hill I wouldn't worry too much about the CV side of it - he probably covers miles every day. But even if he isn't puffing, don't overdo it as he has to engage his core to carry you efficiently and he won't be able to do that for long periods at first. Little and often is best to start with. If he was stabled and is also unfit then long lining would be good to build some fitness first before adding in weight.
 

Mary Poppins

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I agree with KP nut. It's not so much about him getting out of breath, it's more about building up the strength in his muscles so that he is able to carry you and so that his body is prepared when you start doing the faster work.

My horse has been out of work for 7 weeks now and counting so I am going to have to devise a fitness plan to get him up and running again.
 

Mary Poppins

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I agree with all the above if you both like it and build up slowly.
I think that would be better than endless circles in an arena.
Which probably would not be much fun for either of you.

Work in the arena isn't always about doing endless circles which horse and rider find boring. If you approach schooling in the right way, there is no reason why it can't be interesting for both horse and rider. Not everyone has the facilities or the confidence to go hacking, it doesn't mean that you are lacking the fun factor, you are simply choosing a different activity.
 

orbvalley

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Work in the arena isn't always about doing endless circles which horse and rider find boring. If you approach schooling in the right way, there is no reason why it can't be interesting for both horse and rider. Not everyone has the facilities or the confidence to go hacking, it doesn't mean that you are lacking the fun factor, you are simply choosing a different activity.

I dont think anyone was suggesting schooling is "bad" or boring, its just that the op was asking for an opinion on hacking.
I for one love schooling and have an aversion to hacking! I feel safer with fences around me:rolleyes:. I'm currently trying to conquer me fear of hacking alone in the big outside world in order to give my young horse some experience and change of scenery despite her loving the school:D

xx
 
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squidsin

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I dont think anyone was suggesting schooling is "bad" or boring, its just that the op was asking for an opinion on hacking.
I for one love schooling and have an aversion to hacking! I feel safer with fences around me:rolleyes:. I'm currently trying to conquer me fear of hacking alone in the big outside world in order to give my young horse some experience and change of scenery despite her loving the school:D

xx

I find I go in stages with it - at the moment, I am less enthused about schooling, probably because (ironically) Roxy and I have progressed quite a lot quite quickly and now it's hard work! We both know what to do and I feel obliged to do it instead of mooching round on a long rein and having an uncollected canter when we feel like it! Roxy is NOT a fan of schooling, it's fair to say! Loves her jumping though and hacking is more fun for me because I don't have to work so hard! It depends on the horse but from what I've read, a lot of eventers use hacking as the main way of building back up to fitness for the season.
 

ChloeAnWomble

Chloe and Merlin
Feb 3, 2016
65
11
8
Aberystwyth
How was he kept while out of work? If he was out in a large area on a hill with horsey friends he will be far fitter already than if he was kept alone in a small flat field or worse still a stable.
You need to build up his back and abdominal muscles so he can carry your weight easily and you need to build up cardiovascular endurance. If he's been out in space on a hill I wouldn't worry too much about the CV side of it - he probably covers miles every day. But even if he isn't puffing, don't overdo it as he has to engage his core to carry you efficiently and he won't be able to do that for long periods at first. Little and often is best to start with. If he was stabled and is also unfit then long lining would be good to build some fitness first before adding in weight.
He was kept in a 17acre field and he's quite a loony pony I think the time off has done him good let him be a baby for a while, people said he may be too small but he's got so much filling out to do and muscle to gain!
 
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