If you have a horse, you may have thought about training him or her to do jumps or pole work. Although this kind of training so can take significant time and effort, there can be many benefits.
Whether you have passed by roll top horse jumps and imagined your horse mastering them or you regularly browse equine magazines and dream about winning competitions, there are many reasons to cross-train your horse in multiple skills.
1. Boosts Attitude
How would you feel if you were a horse that only ever jumped every day? For most people, this would become very boring. Your horse probably feels the same way. When horses lose interest or energy, their attitudes often suffer. Sometimes, they may act out. For this reason, adding variety to training can keep things fresh.
2. Improves Coordination
With small jumps and pole work, horses can drastically improve their coordination skills. As you train your horse to do different tasks, it will improve the animal’s entire body awareness. As a result, they will learn how to use new muscles and move with better coordination.
3. Builds Endurance
In addition to working unfamiliar muscles, cross-training your horse also helps strengthen those muscles. With consistent training, your horse’s endurance will surely build as a result. With more endurance, he or she will have more energy while training and an increased ability to train for longer amounts of time.
4. Enhances Fitness
As with all animals, fitness for horses is comprehensive. Although cardiovascular fitness is undeniably critical for a horse, other parts of the body such as bone and soft tissue also need to be healthy. Whether you teach your horse how to jump or master pole work, any combination of cross-training can enhance the overall fitness of your beloved animal.
5. Improves Balance
When you cross-train your horse, he or she will become easier to ride and more responsive in general. When this happens, horses learn to adjust their stride depending on the actions of the rider. In this way, the horse becomes more intuitive and balanced.
6. Reduces Injury Risk
Partly due to the improved fitness, another benefit of cross-training your horse is that it can reduce the risk of injury. This is because as your horse trains, he or she becomes stronger and less prone to accidents which often lead to injuries. While cross-training your horse may sound like a fun idea to you, it is especially beneficial to your horse.