View Full Version : How to get fit now that the snow finally melted?!

Mar. 2, 2010, 06:11 PM
Okay- so central VA has finally thawed (and I finally have a bit lighter work load!) after basically two months under snow. Don't think the ponies have ever had this much time off (save injuries and the like). I'm at a total loss of how to get things going again. Rode last night and noticed pony's lack of fitness with respect to muscle control- he is such a wiggely monkey! Figure I'll just come back slowly- lots of long and low, lots of trotting, begin working in some light lateral work to bring back those missing muscles, maybe some hill work once the ground dries a bit (after this next bit of snow/rain).

Just interested in what the rest of you are doing.

Mar. 2, 2010, 06:16 PM
Hitting the gym like a masochist to shed my Winter Weight.

Mar. 2, 2010, 06:22 PM
Lord, do I ever have to do something. Last year's brand new dressage coat didn't fit, and I was panting before the final fence in last weekend's horse Trial.

I'm planning to do some elliptical and biking.

And, uh, cut down on the Thin Mints.

Mar. 2, 2010, 06:39 PM
And, uh, cut down on the Thin Mints.

You still HAVE Thin Mints....mine are all on my hips already....

Yeah...we are not thawed out yet but I'm entered in an event....I need to do something as well!

Mar. 2, 2010, 06:49 PM
My newly retired husband and I joined the local gym a couple of months ago. This gym provides a physical trainer for free. Last night, he gave me five exercises for my abs (core). Today, I am very sore. When I did a half halt on Tess, my abs let me know how sore they are. I have been using three different ab machines since we joined, but they never made me sore.
Tomorrow night we are concentrating on leg work. Whoo Hoo!

Before I got bronchitis, I had worked up to 40 minutes on the treadmill, with a 5 min. warm-up, then alternating 3 minutes of walk (3.5 mph) to 1 min. of running (5 mph). During the walk portion, I would set the hill climb to 10 or 11. I would do a cool down at 2.5 mph, then go to the machines.

As far as Tess goes, I started by building up to a half hour of walking. I included a lot of suppling exercises in the walking workout. It took a couple of weeks for me to introduce trot. This week, I added some canter. I spend a couple of days a week doing road work, too. The barn where I board is on a very quiet road. A quarter of a mile down the road, we have a steep KY hill, which I do in two point. On the way back from going up the hill, we have worked up to a bit of slow trot (on a stretch of flat road). The local cattle farmer has offered to let us use one of his large pastures for conditioning, too.

Remember, if your horses have been off from work for a couple of months, you need to bring them back into work slowly.

Mar. 2, 2010, 10:07 PM
I loaded up the ipod and starting trotting my booty off! I live next to 1000 acres of farmland (one of the few perks in living far from civilization!) My lower back and thighs are screaming for mercy. Luckily, both the fat pony and the little TB came out on the other side of this way fitter than me (the pony trotted a full 45 min without a puff, the same cannot be said about her rider).

I did manage to get on mine some in the snow, so they are not completely starting from scratch. I'm not big on walk riding either, so I get right on with it.

I'm planning on trotting more hills and adding some canter now, plus tiny gallops for the P/I pony. I'm a little panicky about the one month to my first event, but I think we will just wing it!

Mar. 2, 2010, 10:44 PM
Okay- now I feel like a total slack-a** :) I was actually (apparently in my head!) questing how ya'all were getting the horses fit again. But- it is true, I should look in the mirror (in which my image now takes up a *bit* more space, hee hee. Which, side bar, was awesome when I have to slip, slide, squeeze into a formal dress this past weekend)! Something about snows days just begs for junkfood (warm homemade cookies and spike cider/hot cocoa anyone?)!

Mar. 2, 2010, 10:47 PM
Nomini- Just had to add that I love, love your pony! The one I'm riding now is a medium pony that's just starting his eventing career. Hope he has the ups like Madeira. Oh, and of course I love your pony's name as I went to The Madeira School in northern Virginia :) (I imagine your pony is named after the wine? Or the island?)

Mar. 3, 2010, 01:15 AM
To get my horse fit, I'd been doing some trot sets on the dirt roads, and some canter sets on cotton fields....and a lot of walking! Plus 20 min. or so of dressage or jumping at least 3 times a week (in addition to the "fitness" regime.)

It got HIM fit. He not only made time, but he was ready for more! I'm the one who needs more work! :lol:

Mar. 3, 2010, 10:30 AM
Were we the only ones who rode in the snow ?
We rode almost daily on the buckle, not actually trying to "school" even the 11 hand pony in 50".
The entire barn is alot fitter [almost a month fitter] than last year and knock on wood-injury free.

Mar. 7, 2010, 10:26 PM
Oh, and of course I love your pony's name as I went to The Madeira School in northern Virginia :) (I imagine your pony is named after the wine? Or the island?)

Thanks! Ponies are the best, good luck with yours. She's named after the wine, her mom's name is Chablis!

Jazzy Lady
Mar. 8, 2010, 09:47 AM
We aren't thawed yet, but it has been lovely and sunny and warm. Stuff is melting, but mostly it just made our 3' of snow pack into really heavy wet snow. Just hacking the other day through it had my horse lathering under his brow band (poor pony thought he was retired!)

It's nice to have it still though, just walking in it should help him re-build all the muscles he lost and some fitness.

Me on the other hand... ugh. I don't even want to know. I have been doing yoga all winter for core strength, but my legs and arms are going to be mush my first xc course of the year! Yikes. First CT is a little over a month away and I can't imagine being ready for that.

Mar. 8, 2010, 10:26 AM
Were we the only ones who rode in the snow ?
We rode almost daily on the buckle, not actually trying to "school" even the 11 hand pony in 50".
The entire barn is alot fitter [almost a month fitter] than last year and knock on wood-injury free.

I did. Its a shame people dont take advantage of riding in the snow. I understand if you have no indoor arena its hard to get any schooling done, but you can hack in nearly any type of condition, and even just walking improves fitness. Ive been hacking out on the roads and in the snow all winter (but we also have an indoor) and my horse is a beefcake, legged up with buns o' steel and not so patiently waiting for the snow to melt to start speed work.

Just walking around in snow is like walking in water, great for resistance, building toplines without pounding, strengthening legs. And the snow this time of year tends to be soft but firm because it packs so easily. I just went for a trot down the snowmobile trails yesterday and the footing was lovely, a little soft for speed but with a solid base so he wasnt sinking.

Mar. 8, 2010, 10:45 AM
p90X for me (google it! awesome!)

I haven't jumped my ponies in so long that I built a free jumping chute yesterday (mostly for my new OTTB) and free jumped them. They seemed to LOVE it and I think it was nice for them to get their feet moving again without me on their backs!

I couldn't ride much in my pasture due to the weather but did hack down the road as much as I could. I also went to a local park and did some canter sets there.

Now I have to get rid of the rain rot and pull manes and figure out what to do with unruly tails before my first show in 6 weeks!

Mar. 8, 2010, 11:23 AM
p90X for me (google it! awesome!)

LOL! I'm doing P90X, too. I've got one month left, but now that the sun is shining and the birds are chirping, Tony may not be able to compete with the call of the wild (or at least the call of the outdoors).
Doing an hour of kenpo in front of the TV doesn't sound nearly as fun as a mountain bike ride!

Mar. 8, 2010, 12:53 PM
I know what you mean! I've got one month left too! I might replace Kenpo and Cardio with some runs outside. It was so nice this morning that I broke out my jump rope and jumped for 10 minutes just to be outside :)

Mar. 8, 2010, 01:24 PM
I've been running 3-4 times a week on the treadmill and lifting weights. Skiing just about every other weekend- which seems to be good for my quads!
Horsey has started trot sets and canter sets in the indoor. Even with snow here it just covered up the mud and for some reason noone appreciates big muddy tracks all over their property, so I haven't been able to ride outside yet. I also really don't trust the drivers in our area enough to ride on the roads. Hopefully with trot sets, cavaletti, and a few dressage and jumping lessons we can get ready for our first horse tial in a month! And maybe there will be one xc schooling in there just to get him out to remember his job! (although I'm pretty confident he remembers :)