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training program for young horse

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  • training program for young horse

    I have a newly broken 4 year old that I am just starting to ride out (½-1 hour at a walk). Does anyone know where to find a generic training schedule suited for bringing along a youngster? I hope to start her this fall in a couple of short rides (ca. 15 km) primarily for the experience for her. Next year we can start to be a bit more serious.

    Cheers, Lisa

  • #2
    Wow, good question. I'm almost in the same situation, bringing a boy home from the trainer's in a few months. Are you riding your horse alone or with others? LSDs with hills are your best bet for starters. I would love to see a schedule though.

    Comment


    • #3
      What do you want to "train"? Being with other horses? Fitness? Obstacles? Endurance?

      If your plan is to do a couple of 7 mile rides this fall (what are we talking - 5 months away?), then just tootling around your current trails by yourself or in company at an easy walk and slow trot (5-6 mph), doing some beginner dressage once or twice a week or flat schooling in the ring (WTC), trailering out to ride with friends, will have you more than ready.

      7 slow easy miles is not a big deal, even for a 4 year old. However, I wouldn't do too much in the way of hills, or cantering hills, until your girl turns 5.

      That said, Capt Valdimir S. Littauer wrote a wonderful book (pub 1956, reprinted 1974 by Arco Publishing Co, NY) called "Schooling Your Horse" in which he takes a young 3 year old mare and systematically lays out a very intelligent, thoughtful program to bring the mare along from a green pasture potato to a Master's foxhunter. It probably contains more than the average trail rider would require, but the step-by-step, day-by-day, month-by-month program is really, really good. No gagets, lots of forward riding, and he really likes to have the horse and rider out of the ring and going cross country on hacks and trails. After all, the horse in the program is slated to be riding out with the hounds - which certainly encompasses the natural, uncivilized terrain in all types of conditions, and rarely if ever any time in the ring except for jumping exercises - which every horse should know...especially when meeting that occasional big log across the trail.

      If you can get a copy of the book, it is well worth a read from bringing along a youngster into a well rounded adult. I have a copy that I purchased new in the 1970's for just such a program - starting a young horse - when I started eventing and foxhunting. I followed it religiously, and it proved to be golden in every word. It is still one of my most treasured in our library of sporting books.

      The National Sporting Library in Middleburg (right next to the Chronicle of The Horse building) also has a copy.

      Comment


      • #4
        I start my young horses on plain old fashioned trail rides. I definitely don't use a schedule, and I pay close attention to the horse but don't get worked up over "missing" a ride on them or cutting a ride short, etc. The most important thing you can do in this 4yr old year is long slow rides that teach the horse how to negotiate trail obstacles and learn essentials such as eating and DRINKING on the trail. In turn, you're developing strong soft-tissue and laying bone. After a summer of long trail rides in the hills your horse will be ready for an LD or equivalent in the fall. I don't do LD's but I like to take young horses to endurance rides to deal with the atmosphere without the pressure of the "race."

        I have two 5yr olds right now, one I have had since he was three and we spent last year just moseying around, trail riding, and he's been running like a wild pony in the hills they live on. He's physically ready to start a more serious program, but I plan on doing pretty much the same thing with him, only this year he'll start going out more than he did last year. The other 5yr old was just started under saddle so we'll do the trail ride thing this year. His lines tend to be very slow maturing horses so there is no rush with either of them.

        Good luck with your youngster. It can be pretty fun bringing one along your way! It also really helps to go out with an older horse who drinks well on the trail, as I really believe they learn that stuff from imitating the old campaigner. Have fun!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ozalynda View Post
          I have a newly broken 4 year old that I am just starting to ride out (½-1 hour at a walk). Does anyone know where to find a generic training schedule suited for bringing along a youngster? I hope to start her this fall in a couple of short rides (ca. 15 km) primarily for the experience for her. Next year we can start to be a bit more serious.

          Cheers, Lisa
          Lisa -- is this one of your Tekes? Which one? Good luck with her!

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Yes, this is my homebred teke filly, Adygheya Ozal. Of course I am a bit biased, but she has turned out to be a super young mare with courage and sensibility at the same time.

            We are out riding in the forest alone since I have neither an arena to ride in, nor a reliable riding companion. She is fine out alone, and we are spending lots of time looking at things and experiencing life. She is unperturbed by the train going past, riding through the railroad underpass, bikes, dogs, joggers or whatever. If she see something she doesn't know, she is more likely to speed up to get a closer look.

            She also trailers fine, and tomorrow we are going to drive half an hour to ride with someone else and experience a different place, and new horses. She can also try drinking from a bucket in a strange place. :O

            The rides this fall will be just to acclimate her to the hustle and bustle of a competitive ride. Not to be competitive. I want to have a long "career" with this young mare. That's why I am looking for a sensible generic (that I can tailor to fit) training program.

            I will see if I can locate Capt Valdimir S. Littauer's book!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ozalynda View Post
              Yes, this is my homebred teke filly, Adygheya Ozal. Of course I am a bit biased, but she has turned out to be a super young mare with courage and sensibility at the same time.

              We are out riding in the forest alone since I have neither an arena to ride in, nor a reliable riding companion. She is fine out alone, and we are spending lots of time looking at things and experiencing life. She is unperturbed by the train going past, riding through the railroad underpass, bikes, dogs, joggers or whatever. If she see something she doesn't know, she is more likely to speed up to get a closer look.

              She also trailers fine, and tomorrow we are going to drive half an hour to ride with someone else and experience a different place, and new horses. She can also try drinking from a bucket in a strange place. :O

              The rides this fall will be just to acclimate her to the hustle and bustle of a competitive ride. Not to be competitive. I want to have a long "career" with this young mare. That's why I am looking for a sensible generic (that I can tailor to fit) training program.

              I will see if I can locate Capt Valdimir S. Littauer's book!
              Good luck -- and you might try to get your mom to check Amazon (not sure if they ship to Denmark or not) -- they have used book sellers all across the country, so that might work for you.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Here is a picture my neighbor took the other day with a VERY long telephoto lens. We were on our way out for a ride.

                And yes, she has very correct legs, I am happy to say, though the breed inspector was more happy about her strong back (don't think she noticed her legs).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Absolutely beautiful mare. May you two have much fun in the future!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Oh, my! She is beautiful! Well worth the investment in a good program!

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks for the compliments!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wow she's gorgeous. I always thought of Tekes as being very narrow, but I was wrong. She is just outstanding.

                        Edited to add; your girl is now my desktop background.

                        Paula
                        He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Her 3 year old half brother is for sale!

                          http://www.equigaia.com/Horses-for-s...YGCsKh5Nok9W6L

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ozalynda View Post
                            Her 3 year old half brother is for sale!

                            http://www.equigaia.com/Horses-for-s...YGCsKh5Nok9W6L
                            Be careful Lisa of advertising. COTH has a VERY strict policy against it. I posted a pic of one of my sales horses once and got a stern warning from one of the Mods.

                            Interesting to see what different types the two half-siblings are. Your mare is obviously of the "massive" type (for you non-Teke folk, the breed is loosely divided into various types based on body build), while her 1/2 brother is a much more traditional type.

                            Lovely horses both.

                            As for TR and her grading...Stevie Wonder could do a better job....

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Oops, sorry! Didn't mean to break the rules. :/

                              Geya isn't quite as massive as she looks in that picture- a bit foreshortened with the zoom lens I expect- but her sire Gargantua was solidly built, and her grandsire, Gigant, as you know was no waif.

                              Rovshen is built more like his mother, and is considerably taller than Geya. He is already 164 cm at not quite 3 years old. I think he would make a great eventing prospect, while I think Geya is built perfectly for endurance.

                              Fun watching them grow up! Both of them have very sane temperaments too, which is not just a bonus but a necessity.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                He's beautiful too, but his sister is broader looking and I like that. Besides; I don't know that I can FedEx him to Pennsylvania

                                Paula
                                He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  She does have quite the butt on her, I have to admit. ;D
                                  Looking forward to seeing how she looks when she has built up some muscle too.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Getting back to the original question, does anyone know of a link to a good online article about conditioning a youngster?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Ozalynda View Post
                                      Getting back to the original question, does anyone know of a link to a good online article about conditioning a youngster?
                                      Go to the AERC site; they have TONS of articles and (as I recall) several on conditioning a young horse.

                                      For the next year or so you are going to do mostly LSD (and not the fun kind either!) -- Long Slow Distance. So lots of walk and some trot. Not alot of hills, although I would think WALKING up hills would be great.

                                      Others with more experience can freely correct me, but I would think doing trail work 3x a week is plenty, with maybe 2 days of arena and 2 days off.

                                      Gradually you can start to increase, but just like with people & exercise, you only increase one aspect at a time.

                                      In other words, never increase speed and distance together. Instead, maybe ask the horse to go abit faster over the same distance as always, or ask them to go farther, but at the same speed as before. Factor in HR -- you can ask them to work harder, but in a short time frame, but not work harder AND increase the distance at the same time.

                                      Lots of people use HR monitors these days, but I'm surprised at how many really good, successful endurance riders DON'T use them.

                                      When I asked one gal if she uses one (and she routinely puts 1000-2000 miles on her horse PER YEAR), she said no....she just pays close attention to her horse. But then, she's been doing this quite afew years and she knows her horse REALLY well.

                                      This is stuff I've just picked up from reading various endurance books and talking to friends of mine who have done well in the sport. Also this board and the "official" board of AERC "Ridecamp".

                                      And I'm sure Denmark has something like both of those forums/BBs/chat rooms.

                                      I would assume you also have to prepare the horse mentally for the sport -- stuff like riding alone, vet checks, the "hustle & bustle" of a ride, eat/drinking on the trail, etc. That would just make sense.

                                      As far as EXACT distances, times, days worked, etc. I'll let other, more experienced folks take over on these subjects.

                                      I have noticed from the reading I've done is that there is a pretty wide variation of opinions on this...I seem to remember reading 2 different articles on the AERC site that were quite different in their approach to conditioning.

                                      Can't wait to see what others have to say..the ideas expressed here are pretty much based on my experience training race horses, but just expanding certain elements....

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
                                        Go to the AERC site; they have TONS of articles and (as I recall) several on conditioning a young horse.
                                        So you have a link?

                                        Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
                                        Lots of people use HR monitors these days, but I'm surprised at how many really good, successful endurance riders DON'T use them.
                                        I have a HR monitor I used with Durdu but I haven't "plugged Geya in" yet. Aside from basic curiosity about what her resting pulse is, right now she isn't working any any intensity level though would make a HR monitor very useful. It is good to use to maintain a training log with, though, and I really should start for that reason alone.

                                        Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
                                        And I'm sure Denmark has something like both of those forums/BBs/chat rooms.
                                        They do and I have asked on it but have not gotten any replies. Also posted on www.enduranceriding.com. Thought I had posted on Ridecamp, but maybe not.

                                        Thanks so much for the input!

                                        Comment

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