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Cross-Training with hills

The weather is finally warm!

As a result, we have been hacking the horses out as much as possible. Over the year, I have heard many experts tell me that walking a horse outside is the best way to warm them up for dressage work. A walk up and down some hills before and after the ride really helps keep the horses loose during training and I find that all of the horses improve that extra little bit when their program includes this routine.

Interestingly, I was reading something that suggested walking and cantering up hills and only walking down. The argument was that trotting up and trotting/cantering down puts too much wear and tear on the horse, while walking/cantering up and walking down gives you all of the advantages of hill work without unneeded stress on the horse's body.

I am curious to hear people's thoughts on doing hill exercises to benefit dressage work. What is your program? Do you avoid or repeat certain exercises?