Cardio training is the part of your horse’s training where you enhance their endurance and improve their lung and heart capacity, which is essential if you want your horse to be sound and healthy. Just like for us humans, it is easier to perform well if you’re in good shape, and with a high fitness level your horse will be less likely to get injured and more motivated to do its job.
Cardio training can be performed in different ways, and just like with any other type of training it is extremely important to adapt the training to the horse’s physics, fitness level and preconditions. For some horses hacking is a type of cardio training, while for example eventing horses train cardio through canter work. One important factor to keep in mind when planning your cardio training is to make sure that the riding surface is well suited for this type of training, to minimize the risk of injuries.
Canter intervals are a common activity during cardio training. However, you should always adapt the length of the intervals to the fitness of your horse. The purpose of the intervals is to improve your horse’s physical fitness by getting its heart rate up to just below maximum. To keep track of the horse’s pulse, it is convenient to attach a heart rate monitor to your horse, or to have someone on the ground who can help you check the heart rate.