Kikkuli

 

Kikkuli

Kikkuli, the Master Horse Trainer

 
Lusitano-KikkuliKikkuli, a Hurrian horse trainer from the land of Mitanni located in what today is known as Northern Syria wrote the first book on chariot horse training sometime around 1400BC.   The Hurrian people were very closely related to horses and even a part of their country was known as Ishuwa which means “Horse Land”.   The book describes the training and conditioning of war horses for a period of two hundred and fourteen days.   The writings taught the reader how to condition his horses physically but did not provide any guidelines for their education.
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Lusitano-KikkuliKikkuli’s book became the Bible of horse conditioning and training to the point that the chariot horses trained with his manual built an empire that extended through Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.   The most interesting fact about this manual is that we use these same techniques today.   Tey are what we nowadays call “interval training” techniques.   These techniques are used to prepare horses that will compete in endurance competitions such as Eventer competitions.   These competitions are a one, two or three-day competition.   They include dressage, cross country and show jumping, a true horse triathlon.
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Lusitano-KikkuliFor your information, these techniques were “discovered” and implemented thirty years ago by modern trainers and horse sport medicine experts.   Some of these techniques include progression, electrolyte replacement, repetition, and fartlek.   Fartlek is a technique used by athletes today to improve their endurance and effort capability.   What they do is run for a distance, jog for another and walk too at different intervals and distances to allow their muscles to function at different stress levels.
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Lusitano-KikkuliKilkkuli’s horses were kept in stables, washed with warm water and rugged every night after training.   They were also fed oats, barley, and hay at least three times per day.   Their training included long runs with walking and cantering intervals.   Ha said this training loosened their muscles and allowed them to receive oxygen which made them stronger.   It also made them react faster to any sudden order from the chariot driver.   The only difference between Kikkuli’s training methods and those used today is that he made his horses canter and trot for long distances without a chariot or rider on them.
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Lusitano-KikkuliSo you see there is nothing new under the sun.   Horses have been part of man’s evolution for centuries.   Man first used horses to increase their hunting and gathering grounds and territories.   Later he used them to conquer other men’s lands.   Today we continue to use them to compete, one against the other, for prizes.   It has been a long time partnership where the one gaining the most out of the deal has been the man and not the horse.
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