Skip to content
PLEASE NOTE: You may experience errors on our site when using Internet Explorer. Please consider updating your browser, or download Google Chrome.

We Asked, You Answered: Spring Conditioning

Posted on: March 25, 2024 by SmartPak

We asked our friends and followers on social media "What's your #1 tip for getting a horse back in shape after a winter off?" and there were so many great tips and suggestions we had to capture and share them here, too!

Scroll through as we count down the top tips riders like you had for bringing a horse back into regular work after a winter off.




5. Check with your vet

In times of change, it's always a good idea to refer to your veterinarian to ensure your horse is happy and healthy first and foremost. They will be able to visually assess your horse for any areas in need of support and may be able to offer suggestions on a safe, effective conditioning plan.

4. Take it slow

Give you and your horse plenty of time to get back into the groove. That might mean working backwards to plan out the days and weeks you have available to prepare for your first big ride of the year- whether that be an event, a clinic, or a particularly challenging trail.

3. Take it in-hand

In hand work can be a great way to starting getting you and your horse's fitness level up. Unmounted work like hand walks and long-lining (not to be confused with lunge lining) can help minimize strain on your horse's back or legs as they rebuild muscle while also improving your communication from the ground as an added bonus!

2. Take it up hill

Hills, if they're available to you, are a natural source of fitness-building. Walking hills both in-hand and under saddle can be an effective way to increase fitness without increasing the speed or intensity of your work.

1. Work the walk

Noticed anything our community (that's YOU!) stressed over and over again? You guessed it: walking! Whether you're in hand, long-lining, ponying, under saddle, or anything else, spending a lot of time at the walk is the best way to get your horse started after time off. (Not sure how much time to spend? Refer back to #5!)

We had a LOT of great tips and tricks on our post thanks to you! So be sure to check out all the tips and tricks on Facebook here, and stay tuned next month for our next community question.