Jules is settling in nicely, track system set up around the edge of her paddock space to keep her moving and in contact with her neighbours, and it’s time to start her exercise regime!
Due to having been out of work for quite some time since foaling, Jules needs to be built up slowly. Her back is weak, and ideally we need to strengthen her a little bit before we put a saddle and rider on her back – a great opportunity for some in-hand work.
While everything was new and overwhelming, we did not want to tax her brain too early on, so opted to start with some ‘legging up’ work in hand, round the farm and on different surfaces. This means she gets to explore her new home, gives us a chance to natter away and bond with her, and she starts her walking exercise rider-free. She is a naturally quick horse, so it is easy to get a nice rhythmic walk, encouraging her to stretch out and down and really step under from behind. Gentle hillwork will start next week 😊.
As well as this, we want her to get used to the different schooling environments – the arenas and the grass riding paddock, so have opted for a mixture of 10 minute lunging sessions, in-hand callisthenics (conditioning exercises) and pole work in walk – nothing too complicated, but just encouraging the use of all those muscles that might have ‘gone to sleep’ during her time out. Back-ups and various bending exercises all help to engage particular muscle groups which may not be activated while mooching around the field!
Random pole placing with undefined distances, some raised and angled, all help to stimulate muscles and brain ☺️