Riding on different types of ground generally encourages the strengthening of a horse’s muscles, particularly stretching its back muscles.

Starting from a state of good health and minimum basic muscle structure, it takes at least two months to get a horse into good physical shape, so that it is fit enough to handle and perform what is asked of it. When the horse reaches satisfactory physical condition, it be trained for a one hour a day without tiring or having signs of any soreness or stiffness the next day.

A young horse’s fitness programme should be based mainly on outdoor training, light riding or lunging, so the horse can move without the burden of the rider’s weight. It is essential to allow the horse to move its body and its joints freely, with no interference from the rider. In this sense, lunging is best and must be done at all three gaits, walk, trot and canter, aimed at achieving a correct pace and symmetrical movement. One must try to obtain the best possible stretching of the neck towards the ground to consequently obtain maximum extension and the development of its back muscles.

Michel Robert for Team WOW