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Is Walking Your Horse Really All That Important? Short Answer: YES!

Last updated on March 5, 2024

Is Walking Your Horse Really All That Important? Short Answer: YES!


Walking your horse might seem a bit…underwhelming, especially if you like to ride hard and play hard. But walking is actually incredibly beneficial to the horse for several reasons. Some of them might seem obvious like the low impact on joints is helpful for a recovering or older horse. But sometimes, the perks of walking are a little more complex and less obvious. Let’s dive into some ways walking exercises can contribute to your horse’s well-being and training.

4 Benefits of Walking Your Horse Regularly

1. Increases Circulation

  • While walking is obviously not a cardio activity, it does increase the circulation of the blood (from just being sedentary), which helps to improve basically all functions of the body.
  • Because the horse’s lymphatic system doesn’t have a central “pump,” it depends on muscle contractions to keep fluids flowing through vessels and tissues. [1]
  • Having improved blood and oxygen flow to muscles and tendons prevents injuries and allows the horse to ease into more physical activity.
  • Circulation of synovial fluid- the lubricant in the joints- also increases during walking exercises, thus improving arthritis symptoms. [2]

2. Mobilizes Joints

  • Walking keeps joints mobile and improves their range of motion
  • According to Horse Illustrated Magazine, “Walking your horse has the benefit of allowing for full contraction of the long back muscles in a contraction-relaxation cycle that prevents tension. Further, the fine-tuned motor control that is possible at the walk enables you to help your horse find more range of motion and joint flexion.”
  • Whether in a saddle, walking alongside your horse, or making them walk on a lunge, the simple act of walking strengthens the spinal joints and muscles, preventing and relieving tension along the spine. Walking should be a non-negotiable part of your warm-up plan before exercising or walking your horse- especially if your horse has been in a stall all day.  Allowing the synovial fluid to circulate and blood circulation to increase BEFORE adding speed or higher impact activity could mean the difference between injury and soundness for your horse. 

3. Corrects Postures

  • A slower pace allows the rider to observe the horse’s movements and note if they need to be corrected. 
  •  You can also identify muscular weaknesses or issues in the horse’s gait at a walk that often are not as easily perceived at a higher gait because of movement compensation. 
  • Fixing movements is easier to do at a slow and gentle pace, and allows the horse time to process your request and adjust their body,  Additionally, completing training or pattern correction exercises at a walk- and a relaxed walk at that- is imperative for speed events. As the old saying goes, if your horse cannot do it correctly at a walk, they cannot do it correctly at a lope. Once you master the movement or posture at the walking level, it will be easy for the horse to master it at a faster pace as well.

4. Builds Trust Between Horse & Human

  • Spending calmer, slower moments with your horse deepens their trust in you (and you in them), and strengthens that relationship.
  • As you work together at a walk to improve ground manners or certain movements, both your and your horse’s confidence will grow!
  • You will have a better understanding of how their body moves, and they will have a better idea of what you are asking them to do. Regardless of the event you are asking your horse to perform, higher rates of speed increase both physical and mental pressure. Many a great horse has been “blown up” mentally by not walking enough. 

Walking Your Horse IS Training


So even though it doesn’t sound super exciting, incorporating walking exercises into your training routine will yield multiple benefits. Your horse will have stronger muscles and joints, improved circulation, and a better bond with you. Plus, you have to admit, it sounds kind of nice to just slooowwww down and take a breather for a little bit, doesn’t it? I bet your horse thinks so too!

If you are looking to kickstart your horse’s health with a little more than walking, try feeding Animal Element’s Foundation Daily Detox and NuTrack Digestive Support. The detox/gut health combo does wonders on a horse inside and out and will have them looking and feeling their best! Order directly from our website here. If you are interested in becoming an authorized dealer, please reach out to Mark Kaylor at (509) 301-1798.

All content is written for informational purposes only. Proudly written for Animal Element by the team at


  1. Ballou, Jec A. “Benefits of Riding Your Horse at a Walk,” The Horse Illustrated Magazine. Jan. 19, 2023. Accessed online at: : on Feb. 27, 2024
  2. “Does Your Horse Have Arthritis?” Pine Ridge Equine Hospital. May, 2023. Accessed online at: on Feb. 27, 2024

“10 Benefits of Walking Your Horse,” Budget Equestrian. April 14, 2020. Accessed online at: on Feb. 27, 2024