Exercises to Build Muscle in the Butt

Discussion in 'Training Horses' started by jessg, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. jessg

    jessg Active Member

    Does anyone know of any exercises or work I can do with my horse to build muscle in his butt? He was really overweight when I got him and since losing weight I have noticed his butt has got really small with no muscle. Just looking for things I can do with him to help build it. Thanks!
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  2. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    If he is underweight, i would put some weight on him to start with before working him.
    When you're underweight, the body starts to use it's reserves to survive. The reserves are the muscles. So when you're underweight, you will have no muscle. You need to first put at least some weight on before you start doing anything, otherwise all the energy will go to the horse's work, instead of building muscle.

    The type of feed is really important too. You need quality proteins and amino acids to build muscle. Lucerne, oil, vegetable meals (FFS, canola), rice bran. I would even add some grain to the diet.
    Also, make sure the horse is on a good full mineral and vitamin s'ment.

    Then you can start by doing some work. Start with slow and short regular sessions, and slowly build up the amount of time he's worked. Don't expect or ask for any kind of frame as he simply won't be able to do it. Don't expect him to be tracking up correctly and bending perfectly either. He doesn't have the muscles to do it.
    Start off in walk, and introduce trot in short stints, slowing building up. Let him stretch. If he want's to stretch down, let him.

    Stretches on the ground and in the saddle are good. Regular massage is good as he'll probably be sore, especially at the beginning.
    I would recommend getting a massage person out to start with so they can do an initial massage and tell you where (or if) he's sore and best to ask them what kinds of exersices are best, and get them to show you how to massage sore areas.

    Once you're up and going, sand is good, hill work is good, trot poles are good. But i would get him working forward and from behind firstly. Doesn't have to be in a frame, just not like a giraffe, and working forward.
    And no small circles. Large circles. Even when lunging.
  3. TB4Me

    TB4Me Well-known Member

    If he's not very underweight and he has a small unimpressive looking butt, then chances are that it's conformational. Maybe post a photo?
    Otherwise, get your saddle fit checked, muscle wastage could be from a badly fitting saddle.
  4. jessg

    jessg Active Member

    He isnt underweight. He is just gone from being extremely overweight to a nice weight, he still has a bit of fat on him. I may just be paranoid or the fact I am used to the big quarter horse butt which he should have! I just had the saddle fitter out as I just bought a new stock saddle so hopefully its not that. Do you think lunging will do any improvement? I was going to start that to work on his canter as he is going disunited (I think thats what they said). Will try and get a photo tomorrow.
  5. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    What did 'they' tell you he is doing exactly when he's cantering? Did he do this on the lunge or while you were riding?
    If he disunites, lunging in circles might do more harm than good. Disuniting can be a sign of lack of correct muscles and lack of balance.
    I have always been told that trot makes muscle, canter uses it. He can't use what he doesn't have.
    I would be working on riding him in straight lines and large curves and mostly in walk and trot, asking for forward, straight, stretching right over his back.
  6. Hillwork is GREAT for building muscle.
  7. jessg

    jessg Active Member

    Cornflower when i ride him in canter it feels like we are going sideways. He also keeps going on the wrong leg. He is getting better but still really bad on one direction. I think he hasnt really been taught properly. So if he isnt doing it correctly could this be why he is lacking muscle? I cant seem to get my stupid camera to work at the moment so will have to get the photo another day.
  8. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    All horses will have a better side, so they find one side easier to work on than another. And if they aren't worked on both sides from the start, then the better side just gets better and the worse side just gets worse.
    So lack of education is certainly a reason.
    Also, lack of balance.
    Not going forward enough in trot.
    Being 'held'. I mean you reins might be too short, or you are asking him to round and he cannot go forward and loose. I'm just saying this as a reason, not a comment on your riding, because i have no idea how you ride.
    Lack of muscle is definately another. Yep, not doing something correctly can lead to muscle wastage because they aren't using the proper muscles.
    Also may mean that he's sore and can't/won't go on the correct leg because it hurts.
  9. Jessie_13

    Jessie_13 Well-known Member

    Totally agree Cornflower!! Sounds like there could be a physical issue there, which is causing him to compensate and he may be finding the canter work difficult. I would be getting an equine bodyworker out to check him out and make sure he is feeling good physically. Then taking things right back to basics. Implementing lunging into your workout. Lots or walk and trot getting him to stretch long and low and pole work to encourage him to stretch through his back.

    Then lots of walk and trot, moving forward off the leg, working on straightness and long curves, don't ask for too much bend just yet. Lots of pole work and really let him stretch down. Perhaps some walks out in the sand, if you have it available. Remember the "butt" muscles are all an extension of the rest of the body. If he is not working properly through his back and lifting through his body, then the "butt" is not working!

    I would not be cantering him yet, until he is feeling stronger, and then start on the lunge! You will be suprised how quickly he will improve if you take things slower! Oh, and whenever you are working with him, listen and watch!! He will let you know when he is finding things difficult!

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