How Do You Know Your Horse Is Worked Up?

horse-laid-down-and-riding-girlYou know the very feeling when your horse starts to slow down, drop down behind your leg. His heart is beating fast and he is breathing heavy. There is a good chance you have pushed him too hard today or the entire week and now he is just fatigued.

During running or exercising a horse’s adrenaline elevates up to ten times more than ours. This is what helps them mask the pain during extreme training. When a horse is fatigued, it means that a protective mechanism has kicked in to prevent them from further running or exercising.

In order to save your horse from exhaustion and serious injuries, here’s what you need to know:

Understanding Fatigue

The harder you are working your horse, the faster it will fatigue. Fatigue typically depends on what you are demanding from your horse. At times they might hold back from jumping, at others they might not even be able to take another step.

What Causes It?

Fatigue can occur in many ways. It can occur in the brain, muscles, or central nervous system. Precisely what causes fatigue in horses is still not understood but it can be associated with energy depletion, accumulation of metabolic by products like lactic acid or the failure of bone mechanisms which can be due to calcium deficiency.

CNS Fatigue

Central nervous system fatigue is when the muscles are able to go on but the brain tells them not to, consequently slowing the horse down. CNS fatigue can be due to hormone imbalances, pain, falling blood sugar levels, or a sense of breathlessness.

Is Your Horse Fit?

horse-foal-sitting-on-the-groundMany different factors decide how soon a horse will fatigue. Some of the primary factors are duration, terrain, age, athletic skills, speed and general health. Similarly, weather conditions such as heat and humidity also come into play.

As a trainer, out of all these factors, the one you can work on is the horse’s fitness. During horse training work on endurance, reward them to keep going and train in shorter but consistent sessions. This way the horse will be able to go on longer without being tired.

Signs Of Fatigue You Should Look Out For

Fatigue can show up in a variety of ways, but you should definitely look out for these common signs:

  • Unwillingness to go faster
  • More brushing or overreaching
  • Degrading responsiveness
  • Aggressive breathing
  • Aggressive neck and head movements
  • Running into obstructions or obstacles

Make sure that you observe your horse for these signs and you may be able to avoid fatiguing it at the right time. For more horse training techniques and horse training advice stay tuned to our blog!

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