Over the last year, my farm has been installing a hot walker. It can accommodate up to six horses at one time, and can get up to canter speed.
My barn owners started using it on their horses first, and after hearing them rave about the results – I wanted to try it for myself.
Shortly after breakfast every morning is when all the horses join as one. The polo ponies. The jumpers. The dressage horses. Everyone goes on the walker for fifty minutes every single morning. Some days they do trot sets, but most days they simply walk.
I’ve noticed great changes in West since we started his new workout regime.
- He’s sounder.
- He’s looser and quicker to warm up.
- His topline has developed.
- His range of motion has increased, both in the front and hind.
- His walk and free walk have become much more smooth and less forced.
- The “stretchy trot” has become easier for him.
- His temperament has improved – I assume he gets all the wiggles out on the walker.
- He’s taking much more even strides.
- His asymmetry on the right side has improved.
- Transitions have become more powerful and fluid.
- He’s tracking further up in the walk.
That’s INSANE! All of that, just from walking every morning.
I had a mentor one time tell me that she believed the best workout for a horse was trail riding, at the walk. I never found much legitimacy in that claim – until now. Nothing else about West’s diet, lifestyle, or training has changed – I saw all of those improvements after we started the hot walker workouts every morning.
Moral of the story, never underestimate the walk. There is more power there than you know. If your barn or facility is fortunate enough to have a walker – use it. Start implementing more walking into your horse’s weekly fitness routine. You won’t regret it, I promise!