If your busy schedule keeps you from riding your horse as much as you'd like, it's important to keep your horse in shape. Managing a horse that isn't ridden often can be challenging for both the rider and the horse. Here are three tips to keep your horse in great shape.
Maximize Riding Time
If you can't ride your horse on a regular basis, he can still learn new skills but at a slower pace. A horse that’s well trained won’t lose his fundamental skills just because he isn't ridden daily, but his lack of conditioning will limit his ability to stay engaged for a long lesson. To help your horse learn, approach each ride with a plan. Don’t assume you can get on your horse and pick up where you left off days, weeks, or months ago. Revisit what he knows first and be careful not to waste your horse’s energy or exhaust him so he resents learning.
Maximize Exercise Time
If your horse is stalled most of the time, it's important to maximize his exercise time. This will keep him healthy and help him to expend excess energy. Whether longeing or riding, it's important to concentrate on good movements. You can practice using your body cues to maneuver your horse. Begin your practice at a walk, then progress to faster gaits once the horse is yielding to your body pressure and cues. Try to sharpen his responsiveness as you move him through various gaits. If your horse is elderly or recovering from an injury, choose a pace that will challenge his physical abilities but won't over exert him.
Remind Him of Good Manners
Irregular visits and infrequent handling often result in bad manners. If you don't spend enough time with your horse, you may notice pent-up energy that causes him to become impatient. You may notice him pushing into your personal space and showing a general lack of respect for your authority. To encourage good manners that include standing quietly during grooming and saddling and showing patience while tied, it's important to reinforce good manners each time you interact with your horse. If your horse in invading your space, remind him of personal boundaries. If he's walking too far ahead or behind, encourage him to keep up with your pace. For more great tips, check this out.