PDA

View Full Version : HARD ground, hot temps, how much conditioning work?



slp2
Jul. 15, 2012, 09:06 PM
Our region has had ridiculously hot temps this summer and 1/10th of the normal rainfall. I did some conditioning work in the spring, then did a few events (which I also count as "conditioning" rides). My next events are end of July and end of August.

Since June, the ground has been so hard I have only been walking around the fields that I normally do trot and canter work in. I am riding about 6 days a week, and do some trot/canter work in the arena and about 1 jump session per week. However, I am not working my horse too hard because the temps are usually in the 90's when I'm riding. So it's usually a 30 minute walk followed by a 20-30 minute school in the arena. We are competing at Novice with a possible move up in the fall. I realize, at this level, we don't need any serious conditioning, but I still feel like I have cut back on real work for the past 6 weeks.

What are all of you that are in the same drought / heat doing to keep your horse in condition?

FLeckenAwesome
Jul. 15, 2012, 10:00 PM
Well.... arthritis reared it's ugly head so Flecky is out for the summer. Hoping his treatments work. BUT... in the meantime.. this is how we keep cool!!!

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150192959910967.309553.730570966&type=3#!/photo.php?fbid=10150208521415967&set=a.10150192959910967.309553.730570966&type=3&theater

But seriously... LOTS of long trail rides walking in the woods.. up and down hills. Lateral work at the walk... and just taking a break.

But it is NICE to not feel like I have to ride.... cause this weather is miserable.

Good luck... I think if you do lots of walks and hillwork... in the shade.. you should be great :)

Carol Ames
Jul. 15, 2012, 10:12 PM
Is there a pool to swim your horse in? That seems to be the easiest on the horse, in these weather conditions; start, if you are not already charting pulse and respiration after your schooling sessions of whatever type; keep a record of weather conditions and recovery rates; that will give you a good idea of fitness level:yes:

FLeventer
Jul. 15, 2012, 10:20 PM
I am walking a ton and doing trot work on the trails. Its hot here but the ground is not horribly hard.

Carol Ames
Jul. 15, 2012, 10:22 PM
Find trails in cooler areas where you can "work" your horse, ride him on the aids back lifted, bending inside/ outside; halt . ride fwd at walk, slip the reins, take back the reins maintaining pure walk rhythm; use any hills/ grades up and down to require him to balance:eek:, push from behind:yes: Major Lynch used to have his horses ridden 20 minutes/ day on hills to build efficient muscles:yes:

yellowbritches
Jul. 16, 2012, 10:17 AM
Walk, walk, walk. Yes, at novice, you don't NEED a ton of formal fitness work (unless you are riding something heavy or a small pony!). Just walk, lots. You'll keep up the condition just fine with that. This is pretty much all I did with Toby until we geared up for his prelim move up.

If you REALLY feel like you need to trot and canter, you CAN do it in the ring. It is boring as hell, but doable. Last fall, when I was helping someone get ready for a T3DE, we could not get a break in the rain to do trots and canters out and about...it always seemed to pour the day of, or the day before a fitness day. That horse did the majority of his fitness work in the ring...and was PLENTY fit with that! I wouldn't count on that for a higher level horse, but it got us by in a big pinch. :yes:

But, really, walk, walk, and more walk.

GotSpots
Jul. 16, 2012, 11:24 AM
You almost never need "conditioning" work at Novice. Regular riding, even in a ring, and some hacking out at the walk will do you just fine for most horses - though the occasional heavy draft or other unusual horse may need more, your average TB/QH/generic WB will be fine on that kind of program. With that in mind, I definitely would not be pounding on them on hard ground (heck, even with the upper level horses, they either trot/canter on good ground/good hill or go to a track).

Take a break, go for a long hack in the woods if you have them available, work in the ring, drink lots of water, keep them comfortable with fans if they are inside. This period will break soon enough and you'll have a happier horse who is interested in going back to work, rather than one who is stressed/sore from working on concrete all summer.

yellowbritches
Jul. 16, 2012, 02:26 PM
This period will break soon enough and you'll have a happier horse who is interested in going back to work, rather than one who is stressed/sore from working on concrete all summer.
Yep. :yes:

cbv
Jul. 18, 2012, 07:37 AM
Not advice. But I am a wannabe and have been worrying about the same thing as I have no ring. I have been doing some trotting but no cantering
.
But I drove for many years and we would have to get the horses fit for long drives, much of it over paved or hard dirt roads. Few people have rings large enough to drive in so most conditiog was done on roads (all at walk and trot and this was for pleasue driving not combined driving...but we still did long drives often at a good pace with a full vehicle).

Anyway I do worry about the hard ground but then think of all the road work I did with my driving horses (who stayed sound well into their twenties) and would think that moderate trotting on hard ground a few times a week should be ok?

- realize my driving horses didn't need to jump nor were they carrying a person on their back, so maybe apples and oranges.

yellowbritches
Jul. 18, 2012, 12:20 PM
Not advice. But I am a wannabe and have been worrying about the same thing as I have no ring. I have been doing some trotting but no cantering
.
But I drove for many years and we would have to get the horses fit for long drives, much of it over paved or hard dirt roads. Few people have rings large enough to drive in so most conditiog was done on roads (all at walk and trot and this was for pleasue driving not combined driving...but we still did long drives often at a good pace with a full vehicle).

Anyway I do worry about the hard ground but then think of all the road work I did with my driving horses (who stayed sound well into their twenties) and would think that moderate trotting on hard ground a few times a week should be ok?

- realize my driving horses didn't need to jump nor were they carrying a person on their back, so maybe apples and oranges.
Walking and trotting on hard ground IS very good for them (I do a lot of road walking on Toby...we have a 7 mile walk that we were doing once a week). It builds strong bones and strong soft tissue. I love it.

The problem with hard going comes when you start to gallop and jump on in. That really ratchets up the concussion and can cause sore feet, sore bodies, and sour horses. I'm always amazed at how many people seem completely indifferent to eventing on the concrete we often get around here this time of year. I can jump off the mounting block in sneakers and have my feet sting! I can't imagine what my 1000lb horse jumping 3'6" or more AT SPEED must feel like. :yes: