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  • Writer's pictureSaskia Gerritsen

What is Important for a good Horse Training Routine

Often we have a lot going on and we try to ride as much as we can. Good routines and daily habits can create the space you need, in your mind and your schedule, to have good riding sessions.

Have you already considered what your horse actually wants and needs in our Routine?

Why is a Training Routine important?

The power of routine is that this creates good habits. When we fix the important things in our routine, we be certain they are covered. This also reduces the stress of making choices on a daily basis.

So creating a great Routine for your Horse Training will give you:

  • Consistency and Variety in perfect balance for the best progress

  • Certainty about What to do and When to do it

  • Clarity about your current Level (and what your next step might be)

  • Adding new Exercises gradually without overwhelm

  • 2 Happy Athletes! Because you and your horse can relax and trust the process


Horse-centered Routine Ingredients

Forage, Free Movement and FUN

The foundation to a happy and healthy horse is good forage. Horses are designed for constant intake of Forage: Grass, Hay, Straw, Alfalfa, Oats.

If you are not the person deciding when and how much your horse is fed, you will need to match your Routine to the feeding times.

If you can:

  • Do not ride your horse on an empty stomach

  • Do not train right after pellets or oats have been fed (wait at least 2 hours)

  • Just before riding, make sure your horse could eat some hay or grass. You could consider having your horse eating while you are grooming!

Free movement is the second ingredient that is absolutely necessary on a daily basis. Horses are designed to move at a slow pace, with bursts of speed now and then (play, fight or flight).

If your horse did not have any free movement before your training, the fluid in between the joints takes much more time to warm up. In case you need to ride before pasture time, consider:

  • Walking at least 20 minutes at the beginning of your training

  • Use an easy warm-up with only trot work

  • When you start cantering, keep the repetitions short or the intensity low (no tight corners or small circles)

  • Of course after your longer warming up phase, you can then still train as usual

Fun and Learning happens when all basic needs are provided and the nervous system is in a relaxed state. Make sure you consider what is important to your horse to stay in a fun and learning state of mind:

  • Try not to take him away from all the other horses to train all by yourself. Horses can learn to be alone with just us, but make it an exception if you can.

  • Don't schedule your training at feeding time.

  • Don't schedule your training when your horse's buddies are going to the pasture!

Of course your time is valuable and it might happen that you'll have to ride at times that are not optimal. I would propose that this would be an exception, something that happens when your day doesn't go as planned...

But in our Planned out Routine, we want to ride when it's best for our horse!

A perfect day in the life of my Horses:

7 AM Breakfast - just Hay

8 AM Pasture / Paddock Time

4 PM Rest in the Stable

5 PM Training time (end of afternoon / evening)

After training: Oats and Vitamins

8 PM In summer time: Pasture Paddock Time

10 PM Stable and Hay for the night

This schedule ensures that my horses had their free movement before our training. Also, they have some time to rest, drink and take a pee before we ride :-)

There is always Hay available in the stable, so I won't train on empty stomachs. Their Oats are fed right after training, so no digestion issues!

And a big advantage is that vitamins and nutrients are best taken up by the body after training.

On weekends my trainings are earlier in the day, but I still make sure they can rest a bit before we start. The second pasture time then starts earlier of course.


Tell me in the comments what you will improve in your Routine!

And if you like the topics in my Blog: join the Newsletter!

In monthly Live Online Classes for Newsletter subscribers, I teach these topics much more in depth and you can ask me all your questions. See you there!

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