Show Season is Just Around the Corner-- Have You Started Exercising Yet? A great way to exercise your horse is in a round pen. For easy tear down and set up, you can buy 10 foot panels and build a round pen at least 25' wide. For footing, sand is best for building muscles but soft fluffy dirt or shavings will work too, just not as effectively. For lunging one horse, attach a lunge line to the side of the halter (the side facing the inner circle). Use a lunging whip to drive the horse to trot around the circle. Make sure you are using voice commands, "trot", "walk", and "whoa". This will help you out in the future if your horse already associates these word commands with actions. To get him to whoa when he is trotting/walking around the circle, add slow pressure on the lunge line and say "whoa". By pulling on the lunge line it will pull his face slightly towards you. Reward him when he whoas, and make sure that your horse never stops with it's butt facing towards you (that is disrespect and you should make him trot the circle a few times and try whoa-ing again.). Group workouts (or I call it, Jazzercise) are an effective tool if you are exercising many horses. By having 2, 3, 4 horses in the round pen at the same time, they work harder to compete against each other. This method saves time, but doesn't do much for training, and make sure your round pen is suitably sized for the amount of horses you are exercising. Start your round pen work outs lightly: 10 minutes (or 3 songs on your iPod) 3 or 4 times a week will help him build his cardio, and slowly increase your workout length over time. Now is a great time to start!
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- Kaycee Lunde
Exercising Your Miniature Horse
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