Gettin 'em into shape

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MajorClementine

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How do you guys keep your minis in shape? I don't think Major and Clementine are really fat or out of shape but I'd like to keep them a little more "sucked up" with more tone. Also do you guys work them in the winter too or give them a break then go at it hard before show season?

I don't have a round pen right now but would like to get one. How big do you guys suggest?

This is just a recent pic of Major (trying on a new harness) to show his body condition.



And here is one from a few days ago of Clementine. She's starting to get wolly but you can still see her general shape


CIMG2705.JPG
 
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JMS Miniatures

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I don't work mine over the winter they deserve to have a break. If I do anything is occasionally drive them just for fun. But you can still lounge them through out the week for like 15 min.

A lot of mine get worked with on the ground. Not necessarily continuous work in the round pen or lounging but just different exercises. Do lots of backing or side passing. Get them really good on the ground. And I of course do work them in the cart.
 

Fantasia

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I made my round pen out of tread in fence standards and hot tape! Works really well. I don't work mine over Winter.
 

FurstPlaceMiniatures

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Nothing works as well as a pasture buddy and a big field! My stud lost a ton of weight by being turned out with his "wife" who LOVES to run!
 

MajorClementine

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Now that he is gelded he is in with my mare and I have to admit, there is a big difference in him this fall from last fall. Do you guys lunge your minis much or do you find it's hard on them? I've read it's good to lung as long as you warm up, cool down, and do equal time on both sides. But then I've heard it said it's hard on their legs... Does having a bigger round pen help?
 

FurstPlaceMiniatures

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I lunge like a big horse, on a lunge line. I HATE free lunging. Not enough control in my book, and too many people just chase them in a round pen like a mad man for 30 minutes. I don't let mine run ike an idiot ever on a lunge, and i put him on a 30 ft line. We practice halting, trotting, cantering, backing up, moving over, turning around, and yes, even walking on the lunge line. I think they should be more relaxed and focused than when we started when we are done. I have never used a rond pen while lunging. We lunge over tarps, plywood, etc too. Helps him be confident over obstacles, cause "mom isn't right there to hold his hand!" He also learned to jump on the lunge, cause if he twaeked out i'd rather be 30 ft away than 2 or 3! My goal in a lunging session is for him to be sweaty, and so focused on me its kind of creepy by the end!
 

MajorClementine

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^^ thanks for the reply. This is just what I was looking for. It gives me a lot better idea of what I can do on a lunge line (everything it looks like) and I like having them getting a "lesson" rather than just running for exercise. I've worked big horses in the round pen and my minis a little down at a friends. My riding horses are trained to walk, trot, and canter depending on the position of my whip. My mini gelding is the same way (no chasing him) but my little mare needs more direction right now. They both need more ground work and it sounds like the lunge line is my new bestie.
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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I lunge both on a line and free and it is never about chasing them around. My horses (as yours do MajorClementine) respond to whip position and also voice commands for walk, trot, extended trot, canter, reverse, whoa, etc. They watch me for small adjustments in body language that tells them they are going to be asked to do something new when they can see me but when I introduce them to harness work they must listen for voice cues since once they are in a closed bridle they can not see me to know what I want. Round pen work is a great way for horses to learn much more than just running around in a circle but to be honest I've never found it to be a very good way to keep weight off or fitness levels up. I just don't work them long enough for that I guess, a light sweat is the most I see and that in the spring when they are first working after a winter of lazing about.
 

MajorClementine

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We decided to go for a good long walk today. Okay it only ended up being 2 miles but we worked on our walk, trot, and whoa. I have to say the mile back was much better than the mile out. He is walking nicely at my hip on a loose lead and listening to my commands. I am thinking of taking him hiking with me until the snow sets in. Then I guess they get the winter off (maybe a walk now and then). Guess that means I get the winter off too.

Does anyone jog with their mini??
 

shalakominiatureshowhorses

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I jog with mine in the pasture or on our road. They usually stay at a good pace with me. I actually joined track in middle school to keep up with my hot rods
I am in off season track in high school right now and we run a mile around campus everyday, if only i could bring the minis to school with me, they would be in tip-top shape too


I have a round pen, but occasionally i put the lunge line on in the round pen. Like FirstPlaceMiniatures said, i just dont think there is enough control in the begining, especially with Bentley. He would run all day if he thought he had to. I use the lunge line to slow him down to an extended trot. I take the line off later when they are warmed up. They are taught to lunge when we go to shows, but i think there is too much fighting between me and the mini.
 
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misty'smom

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Wow you all are so far ahead of me and Misty!! She is only 5 months but she is wearing a halter and will lead only a little bit. She really digs those back legs in and tries to pull away!! I turn her around in a half circle and try to walk on again but she can be a stubborn little girl!! But she is gentle and sweet and we have lots of time to practice! I am learning a lot just by reading posts like this one from experienced handlers. Any advice you all have please pass on to me!!
 

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