February has been primarily about getting Toby and India going again after their break leading up to New Year, they’re now fully back into the swing of things and doing great! I’ve also been teaching lots, too, so thank you to everyone who’s been braving the icy temperatures to have your lessons!
India is rising 5, so we’re working on getting her really comfortable and happy under saddle, braver going out into the big, wide world as well as balance and transitions on the lunge. Her Spanish Walk is coming along nicely, too! Toby is still quite rotund, despite being ridden out over the Yorkshire Hills as much as possible! So, still working on fitness and, at 21 years old, it’s important that I keep up with all his stretching and strengthening exercises to keep him sound and happy. These include pilates or sit-ups (see below), in-hand work to engage his hindquarters and keep him supple. We’ve also been working lots on getting him to engage his abs to support his back while free-lunging and his collected to extended trot at liberty is starting to take shape, now. He’s had a lot of physical problems and gets stiff and sore easily, but these exercises and regular Equine Touch are keeping him young! I’m also competeing in an indoor TREC competition on Toby next week, so I’ll let you know how that goes!
Watch this Training Diary video to see some of the things I’ve been up to with Toby and India over the past month.
Core Strengthening Exercises for Horses
Pilates or sit-ups for horses, are a great way to improve core strength, abdominal muscles, back lift, balance , body awareness and shifting the weight onto the hindquarters. It’s surprisingly easy to train using Clicker Training, and most horses seem to love doing these back lifts once they’ve been taught how to. This Highland Pony is great at them and her movement is incredibly light and elevated (when she can be persuaded that going forwards is a good idea! Typical Highland!). For everyone who came to the Scunthorpe Talk, this is another video which I unfortunately didn’t manage to show due to technical problems! Big thanks to Hilary and Lottie for this video!
Finally, on a non-horsey note, other things I’ve been up to this month include a fabulous week of snowboarding in sunny France and my first trapeze lesson at Sheffield circus school!