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Hi there! I have an 8 year old ottb gelding that I gave the winter off. I’ve had him for 3 years and usually give him at least a few weeks off in the winter. My question is, how do I know when he is fit enough to begin jumping? He isn’t coming off any injuries and isn’t one that just sits around getting fat. His top line obviously needs work but other than that he’s very muscular and runs himself around often in his 40 acre pasture. I’ve been bringing him back into work this week with walk/Trot work and gave him a day off yesterday. He responded to the break by spending atleast 15 minutes running around his pasture at a dead gallop. After this, his breathing returned to normal in a matter of minutes, so he isn’t terribly out of shape. So, how much longer should I continue to work solely on the flat before building in some jumping to our routine? Thanks!
TBs are so incredibly athletic that it can actually be hard to tire them out, and they can end up doing things that result in injury or soreness if no one is keeping them in check until their body’s condition catches up with their heart/mind’s enthusiasm. 😉 It’s our job to make sure they’re using all that energy in safe, productive ways. Sounds like you’re very cognizant of taking it slow in the spring to allow your horse to build muscle back up. And it sounds like you’re at the point where you could start adding in trot poles and cross-rails. Grid work/low gymnastics is a GREAT way to improve strength and technique in your horse after the trot poles become too easy. I don’t know how high or how much you were jumping before the winter, but with any horse it’s good to revisit the fundamentals/basics again every so often. Just be on alert for soreness or crabbiness as you ramp up the work load this spring and take your time and you’ll be fine!
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