15 Dec 2021

Conditioning the Competitive Reiner With Help From Rosehips


Proper conditioning of the equine athlete is necessary to increase endurance, enhance performance, and reduce the risk of injury. During reining competitions, riders are tasked with guiding their horses through a precise pattern of complex maneuvers of circles, spins, slides, and stops, often at high speeds. Reiners must be in top physical and psychological shape to participate and win in these competitive events.

Importance of Conditioning

While it is always a good idea to keep your horse in shape and increase their fitness level, it is especially important before entering a reining competition. Similar to human athletes, the success of a conditioning program for a horse is highly dependent on the animal’s adaptive response to the stress of the exercise program.

When a horse lacks proper fitness, it can cause premature fatiguing of the muscles and increases the risk of soft tissue injuries. Conditioning also aids in recovery after a workout. Proper conditioning improves the horse’s breathing capacity, allowing the animal to extract oxygen more quickly into the bloodstream. This promotes faster muscle recovery after exercise.

Establish a Workout Routine

Developing a successful workout routine is key to helping your horse gain steady fitness without putting excess strain on the body or legs. Competitive reining horses require three main types of fitness conditioning, including:

  • Suppling – Stretch muscles and increase the range of motion of joints to create a more aesthetic gait and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Strength – Increase the power and endurance of muscles.
  • Cardiorespiratory – Improve the function of the lungs, muscles, and heart to deliver adequate oxygen and produce sufficient energy.

Conditioning exercises typically consist of two primary types of exercise: aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercises cause respiration and heart rates to increase. For aerobic exercise to be beneficial, oxygenated blood must be supplied to the muscles to withstand workouts. Anaerobic exercises are high-intensity, short-lasting workouts that rely on the horse’s stored energy in the muscles.

Planning and Recovery

If you are kicking off a new show season, start preparing for upcoming events you may want to attend. However, it’s important to give your horse ample breaks in between events and competitions to allow for sufficient recovery. Work backward from the date of the show approximately six weeks to allow for proper conditioning. Frequent riding time throughout the conditioning period is vital to ensure that your horse is ready to compete.

Tracking recovery rates can be useful in determining the level of fitness. For particularly difficult workouts, you can take your horse’s heart rate immediately after exercise and continue to check it in five-minute intervals to judge how long it takes to get it back to a resting rate. Recovery times should gradually lessen as the training and conditioning progress.

Supplements for Your Reiner

Supplements are an essential component of an athletic horse’s diet. Reining horses require proper nutrition and a balanced diet that is tailored to the specific animal’s age, level of fitness, and training intensity. However, even with a balanced diet, performance horses often require extra support to perform and recover from competition.

Reining horses commonly need joint and inflammation support due to the strict demands placed on their hocks, stifles, tendons and ligaments. Elite Equine is an organic, competition legal joint supplement that assists with the horse’s own anti-inflammatory process. Made from pure, ground rosehip, which is high in antioxidants and vitamin C, Elite Equine addresses the needs of active horses, making it an excellent choice sport horses of all types.

Shop Our Range of Equine Products

Elite Equine organic rosehip supplement is a rich source of vitamin C and acts as a powerful antioxidant. It addresses the wear and tear that muscles and joints experience during competition while promoting shiny coats and healthy hooves. Numerous positive reviews from Olympic athletes, stable managers, amateur riders and competitive equestrians prove that it promotes better health and wellness in high-performance horses.