How Much Exercise Does a Horse Need?

American Paint Horse

Horses need daily exercise. Horses are naturally active and enjoy exercising. Exercise is one of the most important parts of horse ownership.

A horse that remains in the stable much of the time will experience mobility problems.

Horses that are part of a herd and have a large pasture area will move around in order to find good grazing. Along with the benefits of moving and grazing, horses are able to socialize with each other.

In the wild horses will cover many miles, searching out new feeding grounds and water. They are assured lots of exercise in their travels.

Horses that graze alone usually remain in one small area without moving much. Horses need to move a lot for their health. Movement keeps blood and lymphatic fluid circulating in the legs. Horses that don’t move enough, but stand still too much can develop what is called “filled legs.” This means the lower parts of the legs fill with fluid which is usually corrected with exercise.

The best exercise for a horse is a slow steady movement which they do while grazing. Occasionally, they will break into a run, also good for them and it seems they get such pleasure out of it.

You can encourage your horse to move about by spreading hay over a wide area and placing the water on an opposite side. This forces the horse to move.

While grazing with other horses is an ideal situation, it is not available to everyone. Then it’s up to you to see that your horse has proper exercise.

Working horses such as hunters and those that appear in shows and events need more exercise to keep fit.

If you can’t exercise your horse daily, it’s a good idea to hire or ask someone you trust to help out with walking your horse. Regular daily riding and/or walking keeps your horse healthy and you too.

The pasture, paddock or yard should always be checked to make sure it’s safe for your horse.

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