Horses work in a natural outline without a rider at controlled speeds in walk and when appropriate in trot. Water is introduced gradually over a series of sessions.
How it works: The horses walk on a moving Treadmill belt and as the water is added they lift their legs up out of the water in a more vertical plane. This has the benefit of increasing joint flexion and exaggerates the use of the back muscles. With no rider to influence the horse's way of going the muscles develop symmetrically as the horse works in balance and without interference in a straight line.
The water reduces concussive forces allowing the safe strengthening of muscles and tendons. Whilst the water does provide a degree of buoyancy and support around the limbs, the horse has to work hard against the increased resistance of the water and this will develop stride length on dry land, tighten core stomach muscles and the ligaments around the stifle. The cold water on the lower limbs provides a massaging and cooling effect excellent for horses recovering from tendon problems.