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Keeping my horse fit while unable to ride.

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  • Keeping my horse fit while unable to ride.

    I had to move my horse to another barn for financial reasons. He was working 2nd level and doing quite well before we moved but now all of the sudden, I can't ride. I am not sure how long I won't be able to ride as the new place has no ring. It is owned by my friend and she wants to put a ring in but we are not sure how long it will take. So, now I am completely bummed because we have had to stop working. The property is in a neighborhood, no access to trails and there is DEEP sand all around the property, including in the area where the ring will go. We were doing so well in our training but now, since we can't continue, I am worried about having to start all over again when I can ride again. I am forced to stay where we are because of money. She is allowing me to stay there for very little $$ while I get back on my feet. I am grateful but depressed at the same time since we were doing so well. Is there ANYTHING I can do to keep the two of us relatively fit in the meantime? I am crushed. I am grateful that I can keep my horse, though, don't get me wrong. Any suggestions would be great, I am at a loss. I do not want to ride in the deep, soft sand, too many dangers.


    Sorry to sound so... pitiful, that is certainly not my intent. Just looking for ideas. TIA!
    ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
    *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
    *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
    My Facebook

  • #2
    No real ring? Any room to setup a temporary round pen? You can work in one.

    I have a friend who had only a round pen and some rock strewn paths through trees. It made for interesting work! I'd hop on and do a bit of work in the round pen (and work a square in the middle to the horse working some straight lines and corners). Then I'd go out on the paths and (ducking branches) do a bit of lengthening and shortening. Really doesn't keep the horse ready to compete or anything, but it does keep them working and muscled up. You just need to find small spots to be able to work without potential injury to the horse. You have to get creative!

    I used to have to hand shovel the sand in the round pen to get it at the right depth. Talk about a work out! LOL But it at least created a place to work and keep the horse going.

    The only other alternative is trailering out to ride when possible. Go to a nearby farm, pay a small fee, and then work your horse to remind them of the pieces they need to put together for your tests.

    I also once boarded my old horse at a place that had a rough oval in grass. It was the only really level spot and the inside would turn to mush in the rain so we stayed on the oval the previous owners had created. I think they made it out of old bedding from the stalls. It worked okay. My guy was coming back from being lame and I'd just make little corners once in a while on the short sides and then drift back to the track.

    You just need to think outside the box.
    "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

    Comment


    • #3
      Can you ride in the pasture? You have my sympathy
      .

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Sadly we live in the desert, there is no such thing as pasture here, it is all sand. We do have a very rocky, short driveway but since I am about to pull my horses shoes I am worried that he will get stone bruises. Horse keeping in the desert is a whole different ball game. I came from Maryland, this same small farm in Maryland would have had grass, which, if not slippery, I am fine working on. This place is literally on a sand dune... it is called Bermuda Dunes, and they are not lying about the DUNES part.
        ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
        *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
        *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
        My Facebook

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm not understanding why a lack of arena means you can't ride?
          Is the footing dangerous, or do you have a Chicken Little dressage horse that sucks his thumb inside the letters?
          If the latter, start with lunging and in hand in the area and after a few weeks, get on with your big girl panties and ride forward.
          If the former, well, then where is your horse getting turnout?
          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
          chaque pas est fait ensemble

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          • #6
            ^^^

            I kind of agree With the above . Why can you not ride in the turnout area?? It may not be groomed like an arena but if it can be a turnout, it can be ridden in too.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              He's not getting turned out, he's getting hand walked, aside from that, there is very little turnout here in the desert at ANY farm. The farm is in a neighborhood, there are no trails just peoples' fence off driveways and such. The rest of the place is nothing but DEEP sand. There are two other horse farms in the neighborhood, one is strictly a rescue, they have no riding ring and the other is a nice facility owned by a dressage person who is a snow bird, she is gone for the summer. I am trying to get a hold of her but have had no luck as of yet. My friend's place was just set up and her plan is to use the ring area as turnout too which is what we have done at the previous farm. I did get on him the other day and rode around the farm to try and find AT LEAST a 20 meter place to ride but there is nothing safe, it is all deep sand. Admittedly my friend did not truly think this through and is now scrambling but I am not here to bash her, she is doing the best she can. The horses are happy, calm and well cared for and they have LARGE paddocks, not small 12x12 stalls. I am just looking for something in the meanwhile to keep us fit without risking injury.
              ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
              *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
              *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
              My Facebook

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                BTW, while I think the statements: "...or do you have a Chicken Little dressage horse that sucks his thumb inside the letters?
                If the latter, start with lunging and in hand in the area and after a few weeks, get on with your big girl panties and ride forward." are a little harsh, I will tell you this, I have never been the kind of rider to suck back and I also am not one to longe the crap out of my horse, I get on, I ride, and I ride through whatever I have to ride through to get it done. I have to admit, I resent these comments and feel as though they are unnecessary.
                ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
                *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
                *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
                My Facebook

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                  I'm not understanding why a lack of arena means you can't ride?
                  Is the footing dangerous, or do you have a Chicken Little dressage horse that sucks his thumb inside the letters?
                  If the latter, start with lunging and in hand in the area and after a few weeks, get on with your big girl panties and ride forward.
                  If the former, well, then where is your horse getting turnout?
                  You know, the comment about a chicken little horse and having a rider put on "big girl panties" is really insulting. Your reply is insinuating that the rider or the horse (or both) are probably afraid. Your first comment asking about dangerous footing should have been the sole question in your comment before the more derogatory names were used.

                  I think she's asking a legitimate question and it seems has legitimate concerns about her horse's welfare.
                  Last edited by Velvet; Jul. 21, 2011, 02:53 PM. Reason: Edited to add, "I guess Bugs and I read the same insult in the last post."
                  "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It wasn't meant to be rude at all! I'm sorry if it came across that way. I've met horses that from the time they are backed at 3 have never been ridden outside of an arena and can be downright dangerous "outside the letters" I've also met people that have never ridden outside an arena in over 20 years... skilled riders who are still beginners "outside the letters"
                    so I thought it was a legitimate probable cause for what's going on. Keep in mind we do not know you, and the root cause will change the course of action suggested.

                    It has been clarified that the footing of the property is dangerous to work on since my post, so it's obviously not the case.
                    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                    chaque pas est fait ensemble

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      double post
                      www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                      chaque pas est fait ensemble

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If it's a neighborhood...it's sure to have streets...walk and trot through the neighborhood. You will be suprised how much you can do!
                        You may be able to find a wide shoulder somewhere and canter, but I wouldn't count on it.
                        http://www.minuspride.blogspot.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just a few ideas that may or may not work. Carefully start walking through
                          the deep sand. That's an amazing way to condition as long as it's slow and careful.

                          Also, like the above poster, walk through the streets or work in the paddock. You'd be amazed at what you can work on at the walk when you have no other choice (my straights for about 6 weeks.) You can work on collecting and extension and softness, turns on the forehand and haunches, halts and forward or back, and even piaffe, in hand or in the saddle. I've been working a lot on piaffe to get some sweat equity in without doing anything but "walk."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Beentheredonethat View Post
                            Just a few ideas that may or may not work. Carefully start walking through
                            the deep sand. That's an amazing way to condition as long as it's slow and careful.
                            Agreed with the above. There's no reason a horse can't go in deep sand. If the horse is used to typical dressage arena footing you have to build up to it, but work in deep footing with gradual buildup starting with a lot of walking only can really help improve their tendons in the long term. I would talk to your vet about your horse and the specific footing situation to come up with a plan, but wouldn't let deep footing stop me from riding. Taking time on the roads as suggested as well is also a good idea -it balances things out for your horse, and helps add insurance to your horse's future soundness. Again, I'd try to make a plan with a vet to know what's best for your situation, but I've been around horse after horse who goes out in deep sand and stays perfectly sound even if pasterns are too long and too sloped. They just all build up to it first.

                            Why can't you ride in the paddocks?
                            Originally posted by Silverbridge
                            If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If there is nothing safe then just give him some time off. It sounds like you probably don't want any expensive vet bills right now anyways so you should be avoiding risks. You can focus a lot on your own fitness instead.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                B&F - first take a deep breath, it's not as bad as it seems now.
                                #1-you still have your horse
                                #2-friend is working on adding a rideable arena

                                OK.
                                IIWM, this is what I'd do:
                                -Ask around to find out where others in the neighborhood are riding.
                                -Find a barn with a usable arena and see if they will let you trailer in for a small ring fee < I know you mentioned finances are a problem, but if you can manage once a week that is better than nothing, right?
                                -if all else fails then walking your horse on the sand is exercise, just like walking barefoot on a beach is good for you. Maybe some ground-driving if both of you are comfortable doing that.
                                -see above: if that isn't an option, then handwalk for pleasure - yours & his. No? Then let horse have some downtime while you work things out.

                                Honestly, he will not forget what he knows and you can do a tuneup when things settle & you have a place to ride.

                                Hope the situation improves for you A.S.A.P!
                                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I would definitely work in the sand, but take it very slooooowly.

                                  Walk on long rein. Work up to jogging. Add some shoulder-fore in walk or trot.

                                  When I was growing up we used to GALLOP our horses up and down gigantic sand piles near the farm that were leftover from an old gravel pit. Picture galloping up and down slopes akin to "The Man From Snowy River." The sand was heavy and well above fetlock depth. We would do this for an hour once a week, in addition to our dressage and jumping training.

                                  There was an entire horde of us ballsy kids who did this on horses and ponies of varying breeds and fitness levels, and never did a single horse so much as pull a muscle.

                                  Granted, we were probably very lucky, and our horses were incredibly fit from playing cross-country games of "Cowboys and Indians," but still....

                                  A properly conditioned horse who is eased into the work should have absolutely no problems doing lower level dressage on deep sand. I wouldn't be doing flying changes or pirouettes (or other movements where the horse is balancing for extended periods on one-two legs) on footing like that, but if you slowly work up to it, there is no reason not to work on strength building, shoulder-in, walk-canter trans, etc. And I know *plenty* of people who take their very expensive dressage horses on the occasional beach ride in deep sand or the ocean.

                                  If nothing else, you can absolutely slog your horse around at the walk through the deep sand and eventually throw some jog steps in. When you get to "regular" footing again your horse is going to feel like a rocket because the work will be so easy for him after all that strength-building sand work.

                                  Spectrum.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks for all of the suggestions guys. I really appreciate it. I will check out the neighborhood roads when I go later today and as far as the deep sand, I will talk to my vet and my farrier to get their thoughts. My farrier will be out today because my goober tossed a shoe.
                                    ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
                                    *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
                                    *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
                                    My Facebook

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Sister7 View Post
                                      If there is nothing safe then just give him some time off. It sounds like you probably don't want any expensive vet bills right now anyways so you should be avoiding risks. You can focus a lot on your own fitness instead.
                                      I agree.

                                      Also, I used to ride in Yucca Valley where there was also no arena, but the unpaved roads were fantastic. I mean, I wouldn't go galloping around on them, but for walk/trot they were fine. Do you have unpaved roads where you are?
                                      2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                                      A helmet saved my life.

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                                      • #20
                                        It is amazing what you can do with groundwork. I tore my MCL and have been unable to ride for several months, and I was frantic to keep my horse going after he had an injury last November, and in between our horrific weather. We have now become far more accomplished with our long reining. It helps that I have a fabulous and accomplished trainer.

                                        You do need someone with expertise if you have never done it, but I'd be happy to send my lesson notes (under saddle plus ground work intermixed) - almost 150 pages. Email me at wendin@specialhorses.org.
                                        www.specialhorses.org
                                        a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

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