Pole work, hill work, transitions, and warming up with a loose rein, letting him stretch his neck.
Horse fitness: hill work
Top line: long and low
Carrot stretches after work are really good, lunging in a Pessoa works well and lots of pole work
For topline I like poles (lots!) and lunging in the Pessoa system (for only a short period of time, then slowly build it up)
My horse is very much lacking in topline and it's slowly starting to help him :)
Do hill work!! That helps a lot. Doing bounces help muscle toning as well :)
Put your horse on a circle on a rising trot and bend his neck a little bit more than usual on the inside for a maximum of 4 secondes then soften your inside hand and move it a little forward towards his mouth, if he still don't stretch down repeat again until he does... Usually after 3 requests this way they start to do it as they are enjoying this position very much !
Most welcome ! :)
I would say doing gallops in fields. Or trot-Crabtree transitions while having your horse in frame.
Thanks for your responses! Cyrine, how did you teach your horses to stretch?
Some good ways to build up fitness are as @cyrinecherif
mentioned. You could also try working up hills or slopes, trot poles or jump grids, or lengthening and shortening the horses' stride.
Hello Morgan !
For me, my favorite exercise for horse fitness is the transitions in the canter ; 6-9 strides of canter forward with big strides followed by 6-9 strides of canter with shorter strides while keeping the impulsion from your previous forward strides.
I also love that my horses stretch their neck almost to the floor while trotting with a little bending on the inside (it's always easier to get this on a circle first) , it makes them much more flexible from the back and get build muscle more easily.
If you do this everyday at the beginning and end of your work you will feel big differences in your horse's suppleness after a while.
Hope it helped !