Most horses today are kept for athletic purposes, not necessarily competitive, but most of them have to work for their living; they are equine athletes. That term has come to imply high-performance horses, but in practice, that applies to any horse who is working at or near his individual capacity and is, therefore, putting a good deal of effort into his work. Depending on the horse, an active hack, a pleasure ride, a picnic rider or a trip to the beach can be just as demanding and tiring as a high-level competition or day with hounds and the horse will need correct preparation and care if his well-being, health and soundness are not to be put at risk.
In this comprehensive and informative book, Susan McBane gives advice on the best way to:
Prepare a horse for a schooling or work session;
Loosen and warm him up;
Work him in;
Introduce and practise new movements;
Ride in a competitive or work situation without over-stressing the horse;
Cool down under saddle and in-hand;
Care for a horse immediately after work;
Settle down the horse after work, physically and mentally.
In addition to these topics, several others are dealt with, such as applying bodywork techniques to a horse and the effects of travelling and how to overcome them. Different routines, too, are suggested for various circumstances, ranging from a full routine for hard work to a much shorter version for more normal times.
Highly practical, scientifically sound, and written in a clear and accessible style, the topics covered here will give readers – riders and students alike – the confidence and independence to be able to make their own accurate decisions on the best way to proceed during the schooling, working and management processes, no matter what work their horses do.