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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2010
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    Satellite Beach FL
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    89

    Question conditioning with very limited time ADDED A PIC OF THE OLD MAN JUST FOR FUN

    looking for some advice from the eventers

    I have very limited riding time, 3 maybe 4 days per week. however on those days I can do all day ( for example dressage in the morning, hack in the after noon).

    I am not an eventer, I am a recovering western rider (25+ years) who adopted an older retired jumper. He was riden by an avid dressage rider after his jumper days, then tuned out for a while. In that time he TOTALLY lost his topline and any muscle. I have had him for 6 months and he has gained a lot of weight back with dressage ( and some calories)

    I am really looking to getting him conditioned this winter while we have awesome weather here in Fla. I would love to hear some "pretend" schedule examples if you only had 3-4 days to condition your horse.
    Last edited by JillCozza; Dec. 11, 2010 at 08:45 AM.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 17, 2009
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    Unionville
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    First, since the horse is older and was retired from jumping you should be sure that you check with your vet to make sure that you are not putting him at high risk for injury/re-injury or just over doing it. Before working 2x a day (which is viable if he is sound enough and you do a dressage school and long quiet hack) definitely discuss it with your vet.

    That said, it sounds like you are looking to get him stronger rather than cardio fit (ie: better musculature). If I am correct, then I would suggest that you take him for long walks over terrain, if possible. You can build up the distance over time. This really gets a horse fitter than you think.

    Again, given his age, be careful not to make him too sore!
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2010
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    Satellite Beach FL
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    Yes, I really would like to get some more muscle on him. He doesnt need to be super cardio fit. I just really would like to use this cool weather the next few months to get him as fit as I can with limted work. The summers here are WAY to hot to be working him too much.

    I agree with you, dont worry I will not be pushing him over his limit due to his age/history.

    I was just kind of wanting to hear some differnt generic conditioning routines that some eventers may use to fit a horse with limited riding days. I can adjust those to his needs/capabilities. Even if "jump" days were listed, I could just change that to a hack, ect.

    I am a sucker for research, schedules, ect..... haha
    Just looking for tips.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2000
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    Concord, NH
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    When I had an older horse who was in terrible need of reconditioning I lunged in the morning and rode in the later afternoon.

    Lunged with chambon & side reins so every step counted, and no baggage about the rider - worked up to 20m.

    Then did whatever riding I wanted to do later on when she was rested.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2002
    Location
    Maryland
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    When my mare was coming back from extended time off and needed muscle and topline as opposed to cardio fitness, I did hills, hills, and more hills.
    Rather than having a single hill day each week (although that can be a good apporach), I did 10 minutes of hill work at the beginning of every ride. I then did as much flatwork in the ring as her fitness/conditioning level could handle. Once I was allowed to per the vet, there was usually one day a week that we took a very long hack.
    The conditioning schedule I normally use for competing would not really be applicable to your situation.
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)



  6. #6
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    Mar. 1, 2003
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    Happily in Canada
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    You can increase the demand of the workout by using ground poles and cavaletti, so the horse has to engage more. Just make sure he is actually using himself, as going strung-out or above the bit won't help.
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng



  7. #7
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    Feb. 13, 2008
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    Ontario, Canada
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    When I was conditioning my 19 year old for Prelim (keep in mind he was fit already after 2 years of Training level), I did 2 rides a day. I tried to do less galloping to minimize pounding, and went for a daily 2-3 hour walking hack. My coach insists on 4 days a week dressage, then 1 day jumping, 1 day galloping, and 1 day off. But every day except gallop day I would also go for a long walking hack. Unfortunately we didnt have a lot of hills, otherwise I could have done even less galloping. Bob never had a booty like when the ground got good enough for hacking, even with a winters worth of dressage.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
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    What is it you want the horse to be conditioned FOR? To run BN? Prelim? Or just to be ridden 4 days a week? The other significant questions would be breed, age and soundness. A TB is going to be easier to get fit than something of less blood. Walking is a great thing but I'd be careful with hills on anything that might have some hind end issues.

    As far as real world conditioning programs, many upper level horses get a significant portion of their fitness once they are doing CCIs from having hacks (walks) added to their everyday programs-- 30-45 minutes to run Prelim, 45-1hour for Intermediate and 1-1.5 hour for Advanced. (Times can vary wildly depending on the horse and/or the program, but that would be a good place to start.) Many people I know once they get to Prelim work on a rotating schedule with every 5th or 6th day a gallop day. With a TB in regular work (5 days a week) I rarely find I need any/much extra to be fit for BN or N.



  9. #9
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    Apr. 22, 2010
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    Satellite Beach FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by subk View Post
    What is it you want the horse to be conditioned FOR? To run BN? Prelim? Or just to be ridden 4 days a week? The other significant questions would be breed, age and soundness. A TB is going to be easier to get fit than something of less blood. Walking is a great thing but I'd be careful with hills on anything that might have some hind end issues.

    .
    He is an 18 year old TB, he was a jumper in a past life, then ridden dressage and then turned out to pasture.
    I simply want him to be fit for fun riding. He is not a competition horse. I would say fitness level of a Novice horse if I had to pick. I just want to use this great cool weather to get some more muscle on him and a little more cardio before the high humidity and heat hits again.

    We have tons of hills where he is. Near Ocala. So I can walk some hills as well.



  10. #10
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    Apr. 22, 2010
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    Satellite Beach FL
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    BTW

    thank you all for the replys/tips




  11. #11
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    Apr. 30, 2002
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    Jill, if you look at the very first thread on this board, down about halfway is a link to T3D conditioning schedule. We've discussed the training three-day a LOT and there are schedules people have posted for this competition that just might interest you, if you are into timing gallops and trot sets, etc.
    Asterix posted HER conditioning schedule at one time, too, ask her for it (it might be on that thread, not sure.)
    He keeps throwing me back. http://horsejunkiesunited.com/?p=63881



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2010
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    Satellite Beach FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by retreadeventer View Post
    Jill, if you look at the very first thread on this board, down about halfway is a link to T3D conditioning schedule. We've discussed the training three-day a LOT and there are schedules people have posted for this competition that just might interest you, if you are into timing gallops and trot sets, etc.
    Asterix posted HER conditioning schedule at one time, too, ask her for it (it might be on that thread, not sure.)
    Thanks



  13. #13
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    Jul. 19, 2003
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    Round Hill, VA
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    Honestly, I don't think you have to get carried away with a program. The horse just needs consistent work to help it builds its topline and strength. 3 to 4 days a week of quality work is plenty to get this done (considering we tell our riders that they need to do at least that for bn/n). I would hack out as much as possible, lots of long and low work in the ring to help build the topline, the occasional easy lungeing session, and liberal use of trot poles. All of these things will help develop the muscles and strength you are looking for



  14. #14
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    Apr. 22, 2010
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    Satellite Beach FL
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  15. #15
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    Oct. 17, 2009
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    I second Yellowbritches advice. There's lots of good advice above, but for what you want to do and in fairness to an older horse, I am still going to suggest adding the walking. As subk mentioned, long walks are a part of many upper level training programs (I know Phillip Dutton is a big fan) because they work and they are fairly low-impact for the horse.

    Also, if you want to ride him 2x per day (say dressage in the morning, long walk in the afternoon) I would give him a day or 2 off after that because it sounds like that will be quite a bit for him and "they" say that a day of rest actually helps muscle to build as it repairs the tiny tears that are made with exercise.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant



  16. #16
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    VR, you actually finished my train of thought...I got distracted and forgot to say something about WALKING.

    Walking is VERY GOOD. And it is amazing how much good fitness you can put on a horse with walking. I tell this story often, but I took my old horse from 9 months off for a sabbatical to training level fit in about 6 weeks, and most of that was from just hill walking. Since you are in FL, you probably don't have too many hills to speak of, but walking can still do a lot of good. So, enjoy your nice weather by getting out and going for nice loooong walks. Make it a big, swingy, energetic walk.

    Gotta admit...there's not many ways I rather spend a beautiful day than just going for a nice long walk.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2010
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    Satellite Beach FL
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    sounds like we'll have some fun long walks this winter

    here is the old man ( if my stinkin link works )

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...597.1443550548

    THanks for all the eventer wisdom
    You guys rock, and I really look up to eventers. I think I was an eventer in another lifetime, or want to be one in my next life time.



  18. #18
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    Jan. 21, 2008
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    Dexter, MI
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    My old guy had two stifle injuries and an SI injury over the course of 18 months, so trust me, I'm an expert at walking and bringing back muscle and topline!! I thought about going into business rehabbing horses with my patented walking routine! Adjust as necessary for fitness level of horse:

    Gentle grades and gentle hill work. Be sure he's moving out nicely and is on the bit. Concentrate on rhythm up and down the hill. If you don't have a lot of hills/grades, walk up and down the same hill a few times in a row.

    Collect and lenghthen, halt, back up, walk on, collect and lenghthen, halt, etc... This can be done anywhere on your hack that has good footing.

    Leg yields and shoulder-ins on the trail (make sure it's flat!).

    Practice making perfect 20m circles maintaining perfect rhythm and collection. Throw in spirals, halts, leg yields to break up the circling! Counter bend as well.

    Add poles to above routine to get him to activate his core and strides. Make distances different to get him to think about where his feet are at the walk and him activated and moving forward.

    I have a million more...this is but a mere sampling of my miracle walking exercises! Good luck! He sure is a handsome fellow!
    "Imma snap youuuu! - with a shout out to Wildlifer



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2010
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    Satellite Beach FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowbritches View Post
    VR, you actually finished my train of thought...I got distracted and forgot to say something about WALKING.

    Walking is VERY GOOD. And it is amazing how much good fitness you can put on a horse with walking. I tell this story often, but I took my old horse from 9 months off for a sabbatical to training level fit in about 6 weeks, and most of that was from just hill walking. Since you are in FL, you probably don't have too many hills to speak of, but walking can still do a lot of good. So, enjoy your nice weather by getting out and going for nice loooong walks. Make it a big, swingy, energetic walk.

    Gotta admit...there's not many ways I rather spend a beautiful day than just going for a nice long walk.

    Sounds perfect for us, and we are lucky to have some hills, we are very close to Ocala, so that's about the only "hilly" area in florida. Thanks



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
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    393

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    Lovely horse, love the photos. I totally agree with the walking, keeping in mind older horses have slower recovery. I like lunging, but I wouldn't overdo the circling on older joints. If he's been well conditioned in the past, he'll probably surprise you how quickly he picks back up.
    You should do some low level events on him when he's fitted back up, you would both probably have a blast.



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