This grandfather "rides" his talk
Jogger buzzes horses into fright

Horse healing: Walk-out v. workout

Walkout v Workout MyHoofprints. (Click photo to enlarge.)You have got to love Colorado. Four days into spring, and we get snow that shuts down the town. It’s not exactly great riding weather. Still, there are things you can do to keep your horse sharp when the weather, or an injury, prevents a normal ride.
My favorite conditioner and therapy is the walk-out, which you can do in almost any footing. Faster gaits create impact and sudden torque that can damage or wear down fragile tissue. The walk, on the other hand, is safe, and if you really ask your horse to extend that walk, it provides strengthening, toning and endurance benefits. (4-H trivia: Is the walk a 1- 2- 3- or 4-beat gait? Answer below.)*
Note that our quarter-mile track of compost melts snow quickly and is much firmer than the normal clay-based muck that develops after heavy rain or snow in this area. Another reason to manage your lovely manure!
Anyway, one horse in this photo has an old knee injury, and needs constant gentle exercise to keep the scar tissue flexible. The other horse is coming off of a double whammy of broken cartilage and a tendon injury.
These two love their walks, and after three days to a week of a mile or two walking on the flat, both are noticeably sounder, and can move up to work at the jog and lope. Trust me. The walk is some of the best medicine out there.
* 4-H answer: The walk is a 4-beat gait. This is important because good riders always know where their horse's feet are.