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xcpony
Apr. 17, 2010, 09:26 PM
I moved up north and with that I moved my horse to a new barn not too long ago. I recently found out that there are some pretty amazing trails with amazing steep hills and I wanted to integrate some nice hill work, since I am originally from Florida (flat land).

What is the most benefitial; walking, trotting, or cantering up hills? My pony seems to want to naturally trot up the hills... I made her walk some and trot some, but to get the full benefits of integrating hills into our regular fitness schedule, which is best? I would think a little bit of everything with the main bit of slow walking?? What about going down? She really needs to work on her back and hind quarters (she took a break from working, while I was moving and all) and I remember hearing that hills are great for muscle building in the back and hindquarters.

vbunny
Apr. 17, 2010, 10:10 PM
Each gait has benefits and challenges for the horse. Yes, going down too is great for them. I love it for asking the horse to sit and carry and balance. It's great for their ability to collect and carry. Just be sure to introduce the work slowly and consistently. Hill work it tough, think of if you suddenly had to run up and down a mountain :).

tldickinson
Apr. 17, 2010, 10:14 PM
I've generally heard that all gaits have good qualities but the walk is the most beneficial-- not sure how accurate this is but generally speaking makes sense because there's less momentum propelling them forward and uses muscles in that way? But, again, not sure how valid that is. I generally walk hills though :)
-T

carleigh012
Apr. 17, 2010, 10:47 PM
my trainer always has told me that trotting/ walking are great for building -and strengthening their topline and it works both sides of their body equally as opposed to galloping..unless you work on both leads equally.
in addition, trotting really helps work on our balance too!

mjmvet
Apr. 18, 2010, 03:07 PM
I've always heard trot up and walk down for conditioning - wish I had some hills...

Rescue_Rider9
Apr. 18, 2010, 04:26 PM
walk for muscle, trot for balance, canter for wind.

Bobthehorse
Apr. 18, 2010, 06:52 PM
Walking is the hardest for them to overcompensate, because its a 4 beat gait so they have to use each leg equally.

Trotting, make sure to change up your diagonals, but trotting in general builds muscle.

Cantering, make sure to change up your leads, its most effective for building wind.

Whatever you do, build up slowly. Some horses find hills harder than others, so just pay attention to your horse.