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Fit for camp: Horse fitness

by Eland Lodge 18 Jun 2021 0 Comments

Fit For Camp

Want to get the most out of your time at camp? One of the best things you can do is make sure that you and your horse are physically prepared!

Making sure you’re both fit will allow you to participate fully in all sessions, minimise your risk of injury, and means you’ll be less exhausted once camp is over!

Horse Fitness

It’s important that your horse is fit and ready for the demands of camp. With the pressures of modern life, you may only be riding a couple of times a week, or doing lower intensity training than you will encounter at camp.

You’ll need to prepare your horse for being ridden up to 4 hours a day (of course you won’t be on the go all the time - all sessions include rest periods, and periods of discussion or watching other riders).

Take a look at some suggestions for upping your horse’s level of fitness. Don’t forget to make changes gradually to minimise risk of injury. It’s always a good idea to consult your vet before upping your horses workload.

  • Enjoy some long hacks – it’s a great way of getting your horse used to working for longer periods of time without having to go round in endless circles. You can add in different paces to up his fitness further.
  • Lessons are also a great way of getting used to higher intensity training (let’s face it, if we’re schooling alone we never push ourselves quite as hard as an instructor does!).
  • Going out to competitions and being ridden in a different place/different atmosphere can also help.
  • Why not make use of any free time you have and ride your horse a couple of times in a day, This way once he’s been untacked it wont come as a shock to him to be ridden a second time.
  • Hill work is great for improving fitness, and also engages your horses core, hind quarters and gives them a cardio workout too.
  • Pole work is a great way of improving your horse’s core muscles and also engaging their brain. Try poles in different patterns, or raised poles to add some variety.
  • Cardio work – upping the pace can get your horses cardiovascular system working harder. Did you know that 10 laps around a 20x40 equals approx. 1km in distance? Why not see how far you can trot or canter before you need a breather.


Another important part of getting your horse ready for increased levels of riding is to make sure he’s comfy – getting your horses back and saddle checked to ensure they’re are a comfy as they can be will help them cope with the extra work.

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