Do you have a herd bound horse that you can only work in the arena? You can’t ride your horse and he desperate needs to lose weight. Are you looking to help your horse get fit with non ridden exercise?
Weight loss for Equines
Before we look at R+ Movement Training, lets get the big picture first. Weight loss for equines is based on 3 pillars:
- Management; How we keep our horses
- Nutrition/Diet; What and how we feed them
- Exercise/Movement; How to they burn off calories
Force Free Movement Training for Horses
There is a lot you can do to influence each pillar. I’ve tons of experience exercising non ridden equines with positive reinforcement and helping people get fat horses fit.
In 2016 I started with my own horse Kyra, who was diagnosed with EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome) when she got laminitis. Exercising my horse with R+ was my #1 priority. She was overweight and exercising was hard. I was a clicker coach with an online business and online R+ courses , therefor I wanted to exercise Kyra with positive reinforcement.
Long story short: I found ways to do it and got better and better at it. I started to help other horse owners who struggled with getting their reluctant, overweight horses in better shape. I’ve seen many horse owners successfully clicker train their overweight horses, using non ridden exercises!
From Reluctant to Move, to Eager to Exercise
The horses who were reluctant to move at first, started to enjoy their exercises with Force Free Movement Training!
Once horses overcome their first hurdle: aversive association with the arena and/or exercising, changes happen fast!
When moving/excising becomes a habit for the horse and he’ll know it won’t be boring, endlessly long and hard, but fun, easy to do, short and they will get something in return they LIKE, their attitude changes completely!
7 Ways to Exercise Non Ridden Overweight Horses
In my Facebook group many horse owners are struggling with exercising their horses consistently! Exercising Laminitis EMS Horses is aimed at force free (R+) exercising laminitis EMS horses, who are often overweight and reluctant to move. You’re welcome to join.
Some people think: ‘There is nothing that I can change’ and .this is exactly what it feels like, when you’re stuck.
At that point you don’t see what others see (from the outside in). It can feel there is no hope and you might have to fall back on traditional (coercive) training methods to get your fat horse fit.
I’ve been helping people with overweight horses since 2017. Teaching R+ non ridden exercises and sharing my At Liberty Rectangle (I used to call it Reverse Rectangle because I adusted the Reverse Round Pen idea to something easier for horses) exercise that works really good to exercise a horse force free.
I’ve found that there is always something we can do, change or improve to help our equine. A bit of support and inspiration from others in the same boat ,can help a ton!
7 Excellent Exercises for non ridden horses:
- Hand walks in the arena
- Hand walks outside the arena (off premises, on the road, in nature)
- Cycling with your horse
- Long reins (this is really fun and you can do a lot of dressage exercises to get your horse in shape, when advanced)
- At liberty in the arena (tons of exercises that you can do with R+)
- Driving/ground driving
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How to Start Exercising an Overweight Horse
Depending on where your horse is at right now, walking can be a great start. With clicker training you can teach your horse quickly to *offer* movement. The first step to start enjoying his movement training.
Start where your horse is at!
The aim for walking is one steady, brisk pace. That’s probably not where you’re at right now, but that’s what you can accomplish with R+ real quick.
It’s not necessary to start with trot or transitions right away. Most important is to start the *habit* of regular exercise and make it fun for your equine, right from the start. Positive reinforcement an amazing tool to help horses change their minds about aversive things.
I’ve found that starting with short, 10-20 minutes hand walking/long reining a day, you can accomplish a positive impact. Keep in mind, this is only the beginning. It’s a start!
- 5 Tips for Clicker Training Overweight Horses
- Pitfalls to get my fat horse fit with clicker training (and how I overcame them!)
- Using clicker training to get my fat horse fit
- Exercising your laminitis horse
- Best Tip to making Clicker Training Your Horse Easy
Force Free Movement Training for Laminitis Horses
Is your horse overweight? Did the vet recommended: No more treats!” or “More exercise” to get your horse in shape? Do you struggle getting your horse in shape with non ridden exercises, trained without coercion?
Consider my course Force Free Movement Training for Laminitis Horses. We’ll address your biggest struggle in getting your horse to move with positive reinforcement. You can only join after a personal conversation. I tailor this 2-week online coaching program towards your horse, your situation and your needs!
To see if you’re a fit I offer a free assessment. In the assessment we’ll find out what’s holding you back and you’ll find out what you can change to get your horse in shape. There is no obligation to join my program. People have told me the assessment is a great tool and gave them lots of insights. Book a assessment
- Building duration in exercising your horse with R+
- Getting your horse in shape and lose weight without a crash diet
- Teach your horse to move by himself, at liberty
Sandra Poppema, BSc
Founder of the HippoLogic and creator of Force Free Movement Training for Laminitis Horses
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