The primary source of strength and force of your horse is his hind legs. With weak and stumbling legs, your horse won’t give you the great ride that you want. Therefore, if you notice that your horse’s hind limbs are not keeping up with his front legs, you need to do some exercises for better control of his body movements.
Here are effective exercises to strengthen your horse’s legs and increase his carrying power:
The more flexible your horse is, the easier for him to build supple and stronger muscles. Stretching exercises allow your horse to cover larger ground because they alleviate the tension in the leg area. In this case, you do most of the work while your horse stands and does nothing. The goal is to open up his pelvic angles to access the gluteal muscles. Then, slowly rub your hand down the muscles repeatedly with increasing pressure. You know it worked once you see his pelvis tilt a little and his lower back lifted slightly. Do this exercise before and after a ride.
Walking is an essential part of conditioning his legs. Let him walk freely while you’re on his back assisting. Feel the pressure and the beat of his legs as he moves forward. Then, focus closely on his movement. Be sure to control his speed while pacing forward and move with his motion.
Get him out of his comfort zone and let him do a workout uphill. Doing some hill work is a great exercise to build strength, especially on the hind legs. Introduce this program to him slowly—starting with some leg works then going upward. Remember, your safety should always come first.
Doing half halts helps your horse to understand your cues better—teaching him to respond to them quickly. The main purpose of this exercise is to reshape and rebalance your horse, so he doesn’t tumble on consecutive steps or movements. When done correctly, he’ll be able to execute your instructions properly.
By slowing, halting, and transitioning your riding buddy between gaits, he’ll learn to engage his hind legs a lot better. Proper transitions require him to do a combination of walking, trotting, and cantering. Start with a few minutes of walk and trot, then canter. Every successful transition helps strengthen his hind limbs.
Doing this program is safer and more effective with the help of a trainer with years of experience in the field. With this, we can help! Texas Made Cattle & Horse Company has combined expertise in horse training through our professional trainer—Zane Murphy. Feel free to call us for more information.