RBEI MASTER COURSES: EQUINE MANAGEMENT: EXERCISE 1
Horses are very unique physically and their bodies are made to function with very regular exercise and free running and play opportunity as vital to their overall well being and psyche.
Naturally horses are nomadic. Flight animals, moving in herds from place to place running away from any predator or threat to the group, the only one remaining to fight and defend being the group leader / stallion, whose training and strength comes from growing up naturally rough play fighting, fighting the other males, bucking, rearing etc.
The other members of the herd also naturally play, buck, rear etc, to play and to strengthen themselves. Bucking for example is very natural plyometric movement which naturally increases fast twitch fibre muscle and therefore galloping speed ability.
Horses graze constantly rather than eating large meals which would weigh them down for running if it were necessary and only sleep for an average of 3 hours at any one time.
As soon as foals are born their mothers know to implement a strict exercise routine, running the foal around in large circles to get him moving and used to running and strong.
Not only is this a survival routine but it is also for health and well-being.
The equine body relies on this regular movement and activity for optimum circulation and optimal bodily function. When forcing horses into our domesticated worlds we must recognize their physical needs and cater for these for the optimal health and well-being of our equine friends.
If we lock horses up in small stables or yards, their natural instinct and desire is consistently to run, buck, rear, play around etc, when they get out. They are mentally wired for this.
This is where many riding sessions can go bad; when horses have been locked up and then are not allowed the freedom to vent their running, playful, bucking and playing around desire before being ridden.
Lungeing is NOT effective to counter this as horses need the mental free headspace that comes with running freely in their own time and space and doing what they like i.e; bucking and leaping, rearing etc. If horses are locked up in confined small zones, then lunged and worked without ever being allowed free space and time to buck, rear, play up without reprimand for at least an hour a day, they will inevitably play up while being ridden.
It is necessary for the mental and physical well-being of our horses, to be in a paddock, or larger area with no gear on, no halter, etc, so horses can feel truly 'free', where they can run, buck, play, do what they like and act as crazy as they like without reprimand, for a good hour at least per day and before riding for a horse that has been locked up in a small space.
If you don't allow this, the horse could be extremely wired, tempted and geared towards bucking, galloping, rearing and playing up while being ridden and fairly so. They cannot be blamed for that.
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