Objectives, principles, and methods of strength training for horses

Highlights: •The use of the horse for athletic competition involves conditioning and training for specific types of performance. •Most of the conditioning programs used nowadays are based in empirical knowledge. •Until further research, when training horses, the principles of training presented in this paper should be followed. •Different methods of strength training can be used when training horses depending on the objective. Abstract: The use of the horse for athletic competition involves conditioning and training for specific types of performance. The present review focuses on one of the four main components of basic fitness, strength. First, some concepts, such as, the different types of contractions are presented in order to fully understand this article. Then, five main objectives of general training are established: to improve or maintain maximum performance, preparing the horse for the competition; to delay onset of fatigue; to improve skills or work capacity; to minimize the incidence of injuries or metabolic disorders; and to maintain willingness and enthusiasm for exercise. Furthermore, we have developed seven principles of training based on scientific literature and our own experience, which are (1) to avoid or to minimize the incidence of injuries; (2) overcompensation; (3) periodization; (4) progressive loading; (5) individuality; (6) specificity; and (7) unity. Finally, several methods of strength training are presented to be used in different disciplines. In conclusion, there is a need for research about strength training in horses. Most of the conditioning programs used nowadays are based in empirical knowledge. In this paper, we present objectives, principles, and methods of strength training for horses based on human strength training applied to horses and based on our experience and some other authors. Until further researcher, we recommend trainers to use this article as a guide when designing the training program of their horses and developing the strength exercises of each session.
© Copyright 2017 Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. Elsevier. All rights reserved.

Subjects: equestrian sport animal training performance physical conditioning ability strength training method principle load
Notations: technical sports technical and natural sciences
DOI: 10.1016/j.jevs.2017.04.011
Published in: Journal of Equine Veterinary Science
Published: 2017
Volume: 55
Issue: August
Pages: 93-103
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: advanced