Left to his own devises, your horse would have a day of walking, eating, drinking and sleeping with the possibility of a gallop if danger appears. When we ask them to go to work and use their muscles for jumping, dressage or any other discipline, it is not a natural state and care must be taken to train them as an athlete to avoid injury and obtain the best result. Think of your riding as sessions in the gym with a personal trainer. You warm-up, work out, and cool down. You do repetitions with different exercises, using different muscles and taking small breaks between sets. You are careful not to overly fatigue muscles with a single exercise, but focus on building muscle and overall strength with a variety of movements targeting both sides of the body equally. If something needs additional work, you alternate the exercise with others to avoid injury. You also plan to work out a few times a week with one or two days off to rest. Applying this philosophy to your riding will help you structure your time and bring out the best in your horse athlete.