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New job for horse

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  • New job for horse


    My TB/ASB is in need of a new job. He is 15 years old and has been used as a low level jumper and dressage horse for all his life. The last couple of years he has shown that he is no longer interested in these jobs by balking, not wanting to move forward, running out at fences, etc. He has been checked by the vet for health issues and has been cleared of having any health problems. He does love to trail ride and will trot all day on the trail. This is the one thing he clearly does enjoy. I was thinking of turning him into an endurance horse, maybe doing some LD rides on him. What kind of training should I be doing with him to get him conditioned for endurance? I have access to 15 miles of trails with lots of hills. Also where can I find a saddle for a narrow bodied, high whithered TB?


    Jim Sylivant
    Zebulon, NC

  • #2
    Start out with the saddle you currently use, as long as it still fits him. You don't need special tack for distance riding.

    Joyce Harmon has an excellent book about saddle fit and padding. TB's can be tricky, especially one with very high withers.

    If I were you, I'd give him a bit of time off (since his symptoms sound like they could come from discomfort) and then start back on some core-strength training. Make sure you teach him how to negotiate hills safely. He needs to bring his hindquarters under him rather than flinging himself down hills.

    I'm sure many others will chime in with advice on conditioning. There are quite a few good books out there on the topic. This web site is a good place to start: http://www.aerc.org/Education_New_Start_page.aspx.

    Have fun out there!
    "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


    • #3
      I second the time off idea. Did you post a video not long ago in another section? If you are the one I am thinking off was your horse a little bit off in the hind end?

      I also agree that you don't need any specific tack at this time, as long as it fits your horse. I used my jumping saddle for a long time before buying something more geared towards endurance just because I didn't want to ruin my other saddle! I do prefer biothane bridle and breastcollar because all the sweat, water and sun you encounter at a ride is awful hard on leather tack.

      As far as conditioning, how often do you do the fifteen mile trail? What pace? How long does it take you? Everyone has their own conditioning programs. I always give my horse 72hrs between conditioning rides. This allows the body to rebuild what you broke down during your ride. Many people ride far too often/fast/too many miles which only breaks down your horse. I always give two weeks off after a 50 mile ride and on up to 6 weeks after a 5-day multiday. Conditioning and competing should be progressive loading. I also use dressage to cross-train.

      Sounds like you and your pony will have a lot of fun!


      • #4
        I strongly recommend that you do not use this horse for endurance if there is the slightest suspicion of unsoundness anywhere. It is a thankless job trying to keep an unsound horse rideable for even shorter LD rides.

        Vets will disqualify a horse before,during or after a ride, if there is any doubt.

        I found "Go the Distance" by Nancy Loving an excellent text when I started out. It has lots of suggestions for feeding, conditioning, hoof care etc. There may be newer books out, but she covers the basics.


        This is a very basic starting programme which may be of interest.