There is so much to learn about getting your horse fit but i'm going to start with basic tips and next week talk a little more in depth.
- Balance schooling and exercise . Schooling helps build muscle fitness,discipline, suppleness. Exercise is walking,trotting, cantering in the paddock,up hills and forest with a happy free mind that builds fitness of heart,legs,muscles and lungs. Both are important. In an ideal world you would have a couple of exercise sessions per week and the others schooling.
Schooling in an arena doesn't build heart and lung fitness (enough for eventing) so before cantering a xc course you would need to have been for a canter ideally up some hills. The goal of your fitness session is to get the heart rate up and to make the horses heart and lungs work harder. If your cantering on the flat ,you need to canter fast but if there is even a gentle incline the heart works harder and you don't have to go fast. So find yourself a track that is slightly uphill and trot and canter up them.
Generally it takes 6 weeks to get a horse from turned out to first event with xc. If your horse has been ticking over you will just need to include a few fitness sessions for the three weeks before.
Best way is to work backwards from your first start. Three weeks out once a week take him to do fitness training.
Start with 5 mins walk, 10-15 trot to make sure muscles are warmed up thoroughly. Then one or two short canters up a gentle slope with walk in between back down the hill and then a good walk home so all the muscles have a chance to cool down.
If your horse is young,unfit or fat the canters might only be 30 seconds but if your horse is seasoned and been fit every year of his life that will be totally different.
Over the next few weeks I will give a couple of different plans.
If you have any questions fire them to me, happy to answer either on Facebook or email.