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One of the best exercises you can do, is take time to do
One of the best exercises you can do, is take time to do work outside the arena and outside the barn. All disciplines can benefit from this, including dressage! Even if just handwalking, taking your horse outside exposes them to new sights, new obstacles, different footings, and new ways to use their muscles. This helps create sure-footedness, confidence, improves hoof health, fine tunes your horses bodily control, and works different muscles than just being in an arena repeating the same exercises over and over. Are you struggling with collection? Try doing groundwork over small hills. Going up hills forces impulsion in the hind end, building muscles needed for collection and building better topline. Going down teaches your horse to better shift their weight for better balance and compensation- especially as you ask them to walk, not race down the hill. Both teach your horse how to better control their body. To take this up a notch, try doing walk/trot/canter transitions- your horse wont get a better workout! Just make sure to not overdo it! This work can be exhausting quick, especially at first. As a bonus, more exposure to new things builds confidence in you and your horse- which leads to better preparedness for away shows. If you're really knocking things out of the park, take your partner out on a trail ride or even a cross country fox hunt! Your riding and unity will be taken to a new level and youll be surprised at the difference it makes! Youre likely to get as much benefit from this style of exercise as your horse does as your seat improves! Happy Trails! โ™ก