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Article: Building muscle through ground work – shape your animal!

Muskelaufbau durch Bodenarbeit – forme Dein Tier!

Building muscle through ground work – shape your animal!

But what about building muscle in horses?

After all, it has to be able to carry us on its back, right? Preferably, it should also perform well at tournaments, shine in workshops and training sessions and also have enough stamina for trail riding.

The fact is that the horse's body is generally not designed for additional rider weight.

If you want to keep your hoofed friend healthy, special muscle training is essential.

But what options do you have to stimulate muscle development in the horse?

In fact, there is so much more than “just” horse riding. Here are a few suggestions with which you can effectively train your horse to keep it healthy and encourage it to have more muscle strength.

There are certainly floor work exercises for both of you.


With Equikinetic, the horse is sent into highly efficient training across multiple riding styles. The horses are worked in a square voltage in a permanent position and bending with regular changes of hands over time intervals.

For this you need a well-fitting cavesson. It enables precise positioning. Furthermore, a lunge and a timer. Do you find e.g. b as an app. There are so-called Tabata timers in which the training minutes and the breaks in between can be specified precisely.

Every break is signaled by a ringing bell. During this time, your horse is allowed to pause without bending/positioning. The blue and yellow dual lanes (soft) are still required. The colors are well perceived and they indicate your square volts. Of course you could also use poles. Disadvantage: the construction is more strenuous and they could easily roll away (risk of injury!).

This variant of horse training is very intensive. Therefore it is kept relatively short. The result is even more astonishing. These groundwork exercises improve rideability, demand/promote attention and build muscles exactly where they belong. Brilliant, right? By the way, the working pace is walk/trot.

Dual activation

Like Equikinetic, this form of work is based on the square volt and blue/yellow tools. Dual lanes are used here again, as are pylons and flags. Again, work is done in intervals.

Your horse will soon adapt to this on its own and will show more willingness to perform in a very short time. With dual activation, e.g. b Can be worked with double lunge buckles or under the saddle. Walk and trot are the exclusive gaits.

The effect of D.A is unbelievable. The animal undergoes optimal gymnastics, has to take on more weight on its hindquarters and runs in a constant change of direction. The interaction between you and your horse improves enormously. His body awareness (balance, straightness) is strengthened, both hemispheres of the brain are activated and all muscle types are addressed during training.

Everyone is involved, from surface and deep muscles to joint-stabilizing muscles and respiratory support. An interaction between the horse's body that couldn't be better. For the dual activation program and the equikinetic exercises, Michael Geitner's books (he developed both forms) or an introductory course with his instructors can help you.

Long reins - not just for Lippizan horses at the riding school

Long rein work is also a nice alternative for horses that, for example, B cannot be ridden or has difficulty in the saddle. This gives you the chance to refine lessons and exercise your animal on the floor.

If you are often overwhelmed with your seat in the saddle, this option can help you learn more difficult lessons more easily. Your horse can run more relaxed without you during this time. Plus, you see it. Correcting is much easier from the ground.

You will need long reins (dimension: about 2 horse lengths + approx. 1.50 plus), cavesson or bridle and a whip. Very important: Your horse should be well-behaved and reliable! Get him used to the leashes gently! An expert trainer for this is the be-all and end-all. Long rein work should take a lot of time and patience anyway. Rushing or time pressure is out of place. This form of ground work on the horse is more complex at the beginning, but is still very beneficial for you as a team.


Lunging training is a great way to boost muscle building in your horse. But that doesn't mean that Mr. Hüh should now satisfy his need for exercise every lap after lap. We're talking about proper lunging here.

And you don't even need auxiliary reins. A great introduction can be found, for example, in Babette Teschen's lunge course (also available online!). With its biomechanically comprehensible methodology, ground work on the horse gains new impetus. Your horse learns to coordinate his body, move healthily and also have fun working mentally.

A well-fitting cavesson, a lunge and a good mood - that's all you need. Honestly, this is body shaping that's fun! Yesterday was monotonous.

Double lunge

This ground work with horses coordinates young and old horses alike. Some compare it to remote control horse riding. Cool, right?

It is important to have a step-by-step program, which is best shown to you by a professional. After all, several meters of line (approx. 19 m) on and around the horse. So it's not entirely safe!

Good specialist literature is not a bad idea either. Initially the cavesson is sufficient, later the bridle is used. Preferably with a femoral bit. A lungeing belt with rings for attaching the double lunge is also part of the equipment. These rings are important. Depending on the height setting, the horse can, for example, go into a stretching position or the bend and stance can be improved. This ground work with horses is always profitable. It not only benefits the horse's muscle building, but can significantly improve the animal's rideability and coordination. Ideal young horse program!

Get outside!

If your darling runs well on the lunge or the ground work rope, nothing actually stands in the way of your drive.

There is no better training ground for building muscle than the terrain. Whether riding or preferring to do it gently by hand - cross-country training is the "large-scale fitness center" for equines.

The ground is uneven - they have to balance themselves.

The hill becomes steeper - the hindquarters are challenged.

Then downhill - stimulates opposing muscles.

A hedge - great, sideways.

All ground work exercises work perfectly here. That's pure variety!

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