Conditioning a horse takes time, but a conditioning pond might be able to improve the overall process for an equine athlete.
Getting a horse conditioned is a long, slow process. It requires great care and attention---do too much and you risk injuring the horse and setting yourself back even further. But good, effective conditioning is essential for any equine athlete, especially those which are expected to perform at the top of their sports.
A conditioning pond blends the aerobic exercise of working a horse under saddle with the many benefits of water. When you ride a horse in water, it decreases the jarring impact that every stride brings. This means less wear and tear on your horse's joints. At the same time, though, water provides resistance. A horse must truly engage and use his body to travel through water, and this can encourage proper self-carriage and muscle building. In short, you get more out of a shorter workout, which also saves unnecessary wear and tear on a horse's body.
Take a look at this conditioning pond in action:
We believe gait improvement is just one of the benefits of using the conditioning pond, it really seems to be working to that advantage. Check out FR's Trust Fund!!
Posted by Kyle and Jennifer Carter Eventing on Wednesday, February 8, 2017
If you head to an upper-level training facility, you'd likely see underwater treadmills for horses. These bring the advantages of water work right into the comfort of any barn. However, they're expensive, and are inaccessible for your average barn.
A pond, though, may be something that you have at your barn. If not, you may be able to create one fairly economically. It's certainly a useful conditioning tool, but like all other tools, be sure to use it in moderation.
Conditioning is a long, slow process, and there are no major shortcuts. So, be sure to start well ahead of time, listen to your horse, and adjust your conditioning plan accordingly. You'll be rewarded with a fit, healthy equine athlete thanks to your efforts.
How do you get your horse conditioned for a big event? Let us know in the comments section below.
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