Summer Training Destinations
Are you fed up of schooling in the arena? Rediscover your passion for riding this summer and unleash your inner explorer by stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing something different! We’ve put together a list of summer training destinations. Whether it’s for fun or improvement purposes there are some great places to explore with your horse.
Who doesn’t love a trip to the beach? The beach is one of our top summer training destinations, not only is it a great place to enjoy the sun with your four legged friend but it can also be a really useful schooling or recovery environment!
Did you know that 3 times Grand National Winner Red Rum trained daily on Southport Beach? If you can convince your horse to brave the waves it’s thought to have some pretty impressive benefits. Schooling your horse in the water provides buoyancy and supports their limbs. It’s a great way to strengthen their cardiovascular system, muscles, tendons and ligaments in a non-concussive environment as it is thought that this lowers the risk of injury. Working in the sea also encourages your horse to lift his legs up and over the water in a more vertical plane. This action can lead to improved joint flexion. Additionally, working against resistance improves their fitness and encourages more expressive movements when you’re back on dry land.
Have you ever considered hydrotherapy for your horse? As you might expect hydrotherapy is the use of water to aid in the recovery of injury. The majority of hydrotherapy machines have been designed to recreate the benefits of seawater. For horses that have suffered an injury or are in strenuous work seawater is a great alternative to expensive rehabilitation options.
The temperature of seawater triggers vasoconstriction, narrowing of the blood vessels. This can help to reduce the amount of fluid build up and bruising in the area, potentially minimising any swelling. Cold water can help comfort the horse by encouraging a numbing sensation due to the temperature. If you believe your horse would benefit from the effects of seawater consult your vet for additional information.
Forests and National Parks
Did you know that there are 15 National Parks in the UK? National Parks are home to some of the most breathtaking and treasured landscapes in the country. They’re also a great summer training destination to visit with your horse. National Parks contain hundreds of miles of bridleways and hacking routes, so there’s something for everyone! Whether you are looking for a gentle stroll or open space to blow off steam, it’s the perfect place for you and your horse!
We all know that walking up hills is hard work! This is true for horses too. Hill work is a great way to build up your horse’s muscles and improve his stamina. Hill work uses the horses weight to your advantage. Working on a gradient encourages your horse to carry his weight to his hind quarters, engage his core and work over his top line. Hill work is physically demanding for your horse, it should therefore be introduced slowly. Initially, it’s best to work your horse in walk and trot on long hills with a low gradient. Once your horse’s hill work is more established you can progress to short bursts of intense exercise, for example cantering up steep hills. The purpose of working your horse in this way is to increase his heart rate to improve his cardiovascular health.
Hacking might sound like an odd approach to training but it has some brilliant health and well-being benefits! For your horse there’s nothing less engaging than riding round in circles in the arena. It isn’t surprising that they can become disengaged and look for ways to cause trouble! Hacking is a great way to engage your horse’s brain, many owners find that their horses are much more forward thinking when they’re out and about. A new environment is highly stimulating and a nice change to your routine. Hacking is also a great tool for weight loss, although it is a low intensity form of exercise it is much more in keeping with a horse’s natural roaming habits. A gentile hack can be comfortably maintained for long periods of time and you’ll be surprised how many miles you cover in just a few hours.
Have you ever taken your horse to the gallops? It can be scary but it’s also great fun! Be brave, it’s a great form of training for both you and your horse.
Benefits To Your Horse
For most horses opportunities to blow of steam while under saddle are few and far between! The gallops are a brilliant summer training destination, providing a rare opportunity to take off the breaks without needing to worry about not being able to stop again! Working your horse in gallop is a great way to increase his cardiovascular activity, fitness and stamina using interval training.
Interval training is a common practice amongst athletes. It works by using alternating periods of high intensity exercise and short rests. The aim is to increase your horse’s heart rate and respiration, then allow it to drop back down to just above resting. The purpose of this is to prevent anaerobic respiration occurring.
Interval Training – The Science
Generally, your horse’s cells get energy using aerobic respiration, a chemical reaction that combines glucose and oxygen. This process creates the waste products water and carbon dioxide. Waste products are then expelled when exhaling. Anaerobic respiration occurs when large amounts of energy are needed quickly but there isn’t enough oxygen available. During anaerobic respiration your horse’s body breaks down glucose without oxygen. The waste product of this chemical reaction is lactic acid. Lactic acid build up causes painful muscle cramps and fatigue.
Interval training allows your horse to better cope with the stress of intense exercise. As the circulatory and respiratory systems adapt they become more effective at delivering oxygen to the muscles. This means that the onset of anaerobic respiration is delayed, preventing fatigue.
Benefits For Riders
No gym trips needed! Did you know that riding a horse in gallop burns approximately 580 calories per hour.
When working your horse in gallop you should be stood up out of the saddle with your hands lower than usual at the base of his neck. In order to do this you should ride with your stirrups shorter than usual.
Developing the ability to ride in this way for prolonged periods is a great way to build strength in your calves, thighs and core.
For both you and your horse travelling to a new place is very exciting but also a little scary. Unfortunately, this can mean that there is a higher risk of an accident occurring. Put safety first, by ensuring that all of your safety equipment meets current standards before you travel. If your equipment is out of date or damaged check out our range of riding hats, body protectors and gloves. We also stock a range of products to help keep your horse safe, including brushing boots, tendon boots, over reach boots, event grease and more.
Before you go, are you stocked up on travel essentials? Make your horse’s journey as comfortable as possible. Browse our range of travel must haves including travel boots, fleece rugs, travel headcollars, poll protection and tail guards.
Where will you visit?
We hope this has given you some ideas for summer training destinations close to you. Do you have any places that you like to visit? Let us know where you like to go with your horse. If there are any places you think we’ve missed let us know, leave a comment below!