15 Jan 2022

Proper Dressage Conditioning for Your Horse With Help From Rosehips

Dressage horses require a well-developed training plan that is carried out slow and with consistency. It can take upwards of two months for a horse to be adequately fit to be ridden in walk, trot, and canter for an entire hour. Horses must undergo proper strength and conditioning exercises in every work session to become fit enough to go up to the levels of dressage. When creating a dressage training plan for your horse, keep these main components in mind: warm-up, training, and cool down. Here we’ll go over these crucial stages of a dressage training plan.


One of the most important components of any dressage training plan is the warm-up. A warm-up allows your horse ample time to stretch his muscles and prepare his body for the imminent training phase of the workout. Start the warm-up with a lively walk on a long rein. Include some basic training or preliminary level work, such as large circles, bending, and transitions in and out of stopping, walking, and trotting.

Trot work should be completed rising to allow the horse to freely use his back. The primary goal is to warm up the horse’s muscles, loosen his joints, and get the cardiovascular system working. Warm-ups help to significantly reduce the risk of injury to horses during activity. Allow your horse to stretch down into the bridle and don’t focus too much on getting into a frame. Forward, stretched motion prepares them for the more difficult work ahead.

Pay attention to how your horse reacts to the warm-up. You may find that your horse performs some of the work with ease, while other types of work may present a bigger challenge. Evaluate where your horse requires additional training and address these issues in the training phase of your ride.


After warming up your horse, the training phase can begin. Your house should work forward from behind through his back and then into an elastic contact. There may be some scenarios in which you will need to start the training phase when you receive an acceptable reaction to your basic aids. Base the training phase of the plan on how the horse performs certain movements and not on what he can’t do, meaning you should work to complete the basics of balance, leg yielding, and accepting contact before moving onto more complex movements, such as flying changes or half-pass. Engage the horse’s joints and release energy with riding transitions within the paces. In second-level work, straightness is important. Lateral exercises at this level will deliver the tools necessary to build the horse’s strength, straightness, and symmetry.

Each horse is different and will have their own threshold of fitness and mental ability to focus on difficult tasks before becoming tired or frustrated. Aim to challenge your horse while remaining attentive to when they may feel tired or cognitively stressed. Pushing a horse too far can lead to injury or bad behavior. Short walking intervals during training on a loose rein can give your horse a needed physical and mental break, allowing you to train a bit longer. Don’t push your training until your horse is exhausted. Rather, set small goals for your ride, and end your training session when you feel your horse has tried its hardest to listen and perform to reach your goal.

Cool Down

The last major component of any dressage training plan is the cool-down period. Cooling down helps reduce the risk of injury and muscle stiffness. It is also essential to your horse’s overall health and wellbeing. Finish off the session with some simple exercises in rising trot that allow the horse to loosen his back and stretch his muscles. Follow this up with some walking on a long rein until breathing and heart rate have returned to normal. Allowing your horse to cool down this way teaches the horse that their hard work is followed by some easy activities. A typical cool-down period should last between 10 and 20 minutes.

Support Your Horse’s Health with Elite Equine

Dressage horses are often expected to work in soft footing, performing complex movements. Even with the best of training and care, soft tissue injuries and joint wear and tear can develop. Elite Equine organic rosehip supplement provides support for long-term joint mobility and health. In the event of an injury or workout stress that causes inflammation, the natural high vitamin c content in rosehips will aid in reducing inflammation. Safe for competition and long-term use, Elite equine is the supplement many amateur and professional dressage riders use to help horses perform their best.