Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fitness Update

So it's been a solid month of following the Fitness Route depicted from the Equine Fitness Book. My original post on starting the Fitness Route can be found here. It's time for a check up on how we have done.

February 10, 2011 First day starting Fitness Route, Left Side

March 10, 2011 One month following Fitness Route, Left Side
I dont know about you, but I see a notable difference between the photo taken a month ago and the one taken Thursday night. Milo has began to release the tension through his shoulder as well as the muscle right aread of it. While the muffed up hair on his back detracts a bit (photo taken after our ride) I think I can accurately state that I dont see a whole lot of change to his topline. Most notably on this side is the relaxation of that shoulder muscle. He has also gained much more flexibility throughout his entire left side in the month we have been following the Fitness Route. You can also see that the balding spot on his side is healing and growing back, yay!

February 10, 2011 Right Side

March 10, 2011 Right Side
Nothing extremely notable on this side. However just from seeing Milo everyday I would like to add that he feels like he is taller on the front then before. Conformationally Milo will remain downhill, but through carefully building surrounding muscle, I believe his posture can change and virtually be a bit taller at the wither. It might not be very noticable, but Ive felt a change especially when he are working.

February 10, 2011 Rear

March 10, 2011 Rear
Again, no real notable changes. I should have tried to square him up better as he was in the first photo, and I took the picture at a slight angle. He looks fuller on the left then the right, but judging by the way his feet are stanced I think if he were square he would be even and much the same as the first photo.

February 10, 2011 Top

March 10, 2011 Top
Again, my photography skills were lacking and I didnt take quite the same angle as before. He also was positioned towards the right making the left side appear far larger as well. I think since this photo reduced the amount of hip we can see, its not accurate to make any assessments on his topline.

Obviously, the most notable changes has been his muscle tension releasing on his left shoulder.

Now its onto our next Fitness Route. The book suggests using a fitness route either for the horse just starting out in the program, or to use in warm up or cool downs in a horse with a baseline of fitness already. There really isnt "second step" but there are other Fitness Routes available, as well as Maintenance Routes and exercises to promote cardio, strength, balance, and flexibility. Id like to continue incorporating the Fitness Route I, but not add to that with the Fitness Route II with exercises including Bringing the Hind Legs Forward, Rear Leg Circles, Loops and Poles, Horizontal Frame Conditioning, Shoulder Release Down and Back (already have been doing this one) and Tail Pull (also doing).

Increasing to the Fitness Routes, I will add Maintenance Route II including the aforementioned Rear Leg Circles, as well as Poll Stretch (already doing), Warm Up 2 - Simple Trot Pattern, Trotting Poles on an Arc (already doing), Sprint Lines, and Shoulder Circles (already doing).

Its suggested to add one to three exercises from each fitness goal, cardio, strength, balance, and flexibility. In cardio I can do the Spring Lines (included in the Maintenance Route already), Arena Interval Training (already trying to incorporate), and Trotting Poles on an Arc (already doing). Looks like Ive got Cardio checked!

For Strength, Sprint Lines are included as well, so I could just include that route, but Id like to add a few different ones. Rein-Back Up a Hill (something Ive been trying to add already), Counter Canter Serpentines (the exercise I have been trying to do already), and Trotting Poles on an Arc again.

In Balance, I want to include Loops and Poles, Transitioning Downward (sounds basic doesnt it?), and Spiraling In and Out. Finally in Suupleness and Flexibility, I can use the same Spiraling In and Out, Loosening the Back (over poles), and Warm Up 2 - Simple Trot Pattern (already incorporated in Fitness Route II.

I noticed while selecting new exercises that a lot of them were dual purpose, like Sprint Lines for cardio and strength. I tried to not just pick the sames ones over and over and include some news ones as well, but its nice to be able to kill two birds with one stone on an exercise. Stick with me to learn more about each exercise as we begin working on them.


Story said...

I think there is a difference in his top line! Maybe it's just an optical illusion from the slightly different angles and zoom but to me he looks improved. It would have been really cool if there had been a way to get the exact same picture so you could overlay them to see changes. But I think they only do that on TV lol. The only one that I can't say I see any change is the hind shot, but like you said, not having him square makes a big difference from that angle. How many days a week are you working with him?

paint_horse_milo said...

Story, currently he is worked 4-5 days a week. I will be re-starting college courses this upcoming Spring quarter which will reduce my ride days to only 3 unless I come out on the weekend. Im not looking forward to that but I have to finish my degree. I might be able to swing going out on my lunch hour though, at least I could work him over poles on the ground. And with summer coming up fortunetly the days will be getting longer.

Rising Rainbow said...

I've tried taking pictures to document changes too. I also had problems duplicating my angles for the shots and I've pretty much given up on them. For me the difference in feel is going to have to tell me what I need to know because my photography skills just aren't going to cut it. LOL

in2paints said...

Without exact pictures it's hard to see changes, unless he changed a lot. He was in pretty good shape when you started, but I can definitely see what you mean about the shoulder picture.

I haven't been able to get going with Lilly, but hopefully starting next week (when I'll be done with my last college course ever!) I'll have more time to ride, and I'll have a saddle to ride in.

I can't wait to hear about the exercises!