Exercises for back-and abdominal muscles horse
The horse’s back is not made for carrying people. In fact, the horse’s back becomes weaker as a result of carrying a rider’s weight. The most read article on this site is “Back pain and SI problems in horses” which once again indicates how many horses suffer from this and how many riders have difficulty preventing these problems.
Because we like riding the horse, we can train the back, but especially the muscles of the abdomen and hindquarters. So that they become flexible and strong and can ensure that horses can carry our ‘load’ better and longer and less damage is caused.
But which exercises are good to use?
This should actually be your starting point, so that the horse becomes straight and balanced to distribute the weight evenly and to take the same amount of weight with both hind legs. Without it, the horse will not learn to use both sides of its body properly. Also proper contact with the sensitive horse’s mouth will not be possible or even. An incorrect contact leads to a horse that starts to move behind the bit or above the bit. And thus uses its body incorrectly and pushes it’s back away and with it is totally unable to carry the rider. When done correctly, the horse uses its back and abdominal muscles in all its gymnastic exercises. Read more about gymnastics here.
Really good to use as a back-and abdominal muscles training. Once your horse has more balance you can use canter exercises. Because the canter is a “jumped” gait, the horse uses much more hindquarters and abs than in the trot. In addition, cantering is good for the pelvis. Try to vary the neck and head positions at the canter and make transitions (for example, enlarge the steps more and collect again). You can also alternate large circles at canter with smaller ones.
The transition from canter to trot is difficult for a horse, this is due to the difference in movement from the jumped 3-beated gait to the rhythmic flat 2-beated trot. The horse has to adjust its body considerably during this transition. It is actually better to make transitions from canter step.
Work on your own body!
Your body and posture greatly influence the horse. If you sit too much to the back and too deep in the saddle, it is practically impossible for the horse to raise it’s back. Did you know that with many horses you can see in the horse it’s body whether the rider is left-handed or right-handed and what crookedness the rider has! So work on your own body and your crookedness and take proper instruction or lessons.
The way the saddle is on it’s back is also important. So let a professional check your saddle and how you are sitting in it regularly.
Also a good exercise to use because the horse has to tilt it’s pelvis when going backwards. This makes the back more arched and there is more flexibility in the joints of the hindlegs. Make sure your horse ideally lowers its neck and head (not with the nose behind the perpendicular) and walks backwards in a straight line. An advanced exercise is going backwards and from there trot forwards. Always build it up slowly and first make sure that the horse goes back willingly, smoothly and with diagonal movement of the legs.
Yoga for horses
The following exercises back and abdominal muscles come from: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/02/04/help-horse-kissing-spine-goodbye/#ixzz4A2KBjnAV. When you start these exercises it is important to remember that you will have to guide the horse carefully and calmly as the possible resistance is a combination of physical and mental stress. You also need to build it up slowly and you can only ask more when the horse cooperates smoothly and voluntarily. With tension, the spine will always be stiff.
“Half moon bending”: Make a circle around a cone or other object, with long reins and lots of inward bending. This stretches the outside of the body and helps the horse to release lateral back tension. Pay attention! Do not force the horse, but motivate slowly. Relax in between, wait and repeat until the horse can lower its head and bend more easily.
“Triangle stretch in walk”: A stretch version leg yielding motivates the hips to turn in the opposite direction of the shoulders. It motivates the spinal column to turn freely and gradually release itself from ‘kinks’. It is possible that the horse at first resists. Just try to ask slowly until the horse willingly lowers the head and takes contact on the inner rein and can move away for the pressure of your leg.
¼ to full turn around the forehand: This exercise ensures that the horse learns to yield on a light leg aid and is the basis for straight, sideways and precision in the corners. It also ensures a good build-up of the muscles that move the pelvis, and at the same time it raises the spine and creates space between the spine, thereby relieving any pinched nerves.
Ask first 1 or 2 correct steps before you ask more. The horse must step with its inner hind leg under its body and turn its shoulders around the inner foreleg. If necessary, ask the inner hind leg under the body with a soft whip aid to get the first steps and make sure that the horse does not move backwards or fall over the outer shoulder. You know you’re on the right track when the horse lowers its head and gives you the bend on the inner rein and contact on the outer rein.
¼ to ½ Pirouette – turn around the hindquarters:
This is essential for flexibility in the shoulders and for communication between rider and horse. From a standstill, open the inner rein and request an inner bend. With the outer rein against the neck, ask to give way to the neck and build up the pressure a little until the horse steps to the inside. This develops the movement of the chest and motivates the horse to carry its withers between it’s shoulder blades. It raises the center of gravity and gives the horse the opportunity to move its front upwards, making the movement smoother and more uphill with each step, and creates space for the hindquarters to gather towards the center of gravity. The result is to ensure that the horse can turn more accurately and perform shoulder-in, appuyement and pirouette exercises more easily by means of a light contact with the outer rein.
Good luck with this!