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What's your conditioning routine?

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  • What's your conditioning routine?

    If you ever condition your horse for an upcoming event or if you condition them weekly, what's your routine? Also, what do you do differently for horses at different levels if you have multiple rides?

  • #2
    I just have one and since he is a draftx, I have to be very attentive to his condition. Since we live in Florida, our show season is reversed (for me anyhow), I don't do a whole lot in the summer, then start getting back in condition in September. I had anticipated showing Tucker this winter, with the start of the season in January, but so far have made it to just one competition and will probably just be able to do 2 more before the weather gets hot....by the middle of May, it is too hot for me and we slow things down.
    But even though our show plans have not gone as planned(due to my health..I am not ready to tackle a major competition, my leg simply is not quite up to it after a blood clot in it last summer, though it is finally just about there), that has not kept me from getting Tucker in condition. At our outing a few weeks ago at Rocking Horse, he proved that what I have been doing works.
    Mondays: Day off. I work all day, and am too exhausted after I muck stalls to ride anyhow.
    Tuesday: Another long day at work, but I have a 2 hour lunch break. I try and come do a quick 20 minute ride during that time or will lunge him after work.
    Wednesday: He gets galloped around the track. We have a "hill" at one corner of the track that we incorporate into the gallop. We do trot/canter sets. Right now we are doing 3 trot sets each direction and then 2 gallop sets each direction, then back to intermittent trot/canter.
    Thursday: Long day at work, but I manage a 20-30 minute hack.
    Friday: We work on our dressage.
    Saturday: Another day of track work, and then we do a few jumps that I have set up around the track.
    Sunday: Work in the jump field. Not necessarily jumping, we usually just jump every other week, but I work on circles, shoulder in's, flexing (his biggest problem), spirals, etc.
    Lori T
    www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep


    • #3
      Currently, I am getting Tess conditioned for Spring Bay, which is in April.

      I started in January with walks, building from 20 minutes to 45 minutes. Whenever the ground was not frozen in the outdoor, I would do exercises to start getting her supple at the walk and trot.

      The past several weeks, I have gotten her up to walking up/down steep Kentucky hills (it is still too muddy to trot), some slow road work, timed trot work, canter and some low jumps (in the large outdoor arena).

      When the ground gets dry enough, I will work up to timed walk/trot sets, with a canter/gallop day thrown into the mix.

      I would be curious to find out how many times/week that you practice jumping?

      I was in a clinic last year where the clinician asked me that question. I replied that I only practiced jumping once a week, in between competitions. He told me that I should be doing some sort of jumping exercises (cantering over poles or small cross rails on a circle) at least three times per week, even when competing.

      This year, I will be incorporating more jumping into my routine, too. I will see if it makes a difference.

      When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


      • Original Poster

        When you do trot/canter/gallop sets, how long are they and how fast do you go? Also do you walk in between and if so for how long?

        My weekly schedule tends to look like this:
        Sunday: day off. My horse, Brodie, lives in a pasture with two other horses that keep themselves walking so I don't do any turn outs.
        Monday: light hack/dressage. I try not to expect too much in this ride and work on stretching into the contact. If he's particularly stiff, I'll throw in some shoulder-ins and figure 8's.
        Tuesday: Jump school. I try to jump early in the week especially if I have a show that weekend so that if he's bad, I have more days to jump before the show. I like to warm him up like a dressage horse so he's more supple and flexible.
        Wednesday: fitness. I'm fortunate enough to have 2 galloping tracks at my barn as well as a few hills to be able to use. Since my horse is already pretty fit I like to just trot the hills but I like to once in a while give him a gallop to see where his fitness is at.
        Thursday: dressage or jump. Depending on the jump school I did on Tuesday, I'll either jump or do dressage. I'll usually run through my test a few times to see where our sticky spots are if I don't jump.
        Friday: dressage. If I did my test the day before, I work on whatever we had issues with the day before. If I jumped then I'll ride my test on this day and then work on the issues.
        Saturday: fitness. I'll trot a couple of hills and make sure his fitness is where I want it.

        Of course, that's with my Training level horse. My greenie has a completely different schedule and I try to do jump exercises 3-4 times a week with ground poles or cavalettis since he's still figuring out where his feet are.


        • #5
          I come from the oddball barn that doesn't do conditioning schedules. We just ride. This goes for mini trials through upper level eventing. We do A LOT of trot work and that's what builds them up. We school most dressage work from a trot and do lunge lessons mostly at a trot. It's a good gait for building muscle and cardio fitness without exhausting them. Even when my trainer had a couple horses going Prelim and Intermediate there was no special routine. They were ridden probably 4 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes doing a variety of things. Always a good warm up at walk and trot before moving on to anything harder. Some days were all dressage work, some all jumping. My trainer doesn't really make "lesson plans". We just do whatever either needs done badly or whereve the day takes us. I'm sure that would bother those of us who like a lot of order and planning, but I believe too much scheduling just gets to be a pain and very stressful. Just go with the flow.
          Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
          Thank you for everything boy.

          Better View.


          • Original Poster

            I have to agree with you Katie. For a while, that's what I was doing with my horse and it worked just fine. But now with school and my trainer being injured, we try to stick to a scheduled routine so that neither of us get confused about what my horse is doing on a certain day. It's always a bummer when you drive to the barn wanting to ride only to get there and find that your trainer already had a fabulous ride on your horse. My routine isn't set in stone and there are some days where I will jump a little more or do a little more dressage but I find it easier for my trainer and I to stay on the same page with repetition.


            • #7
              Exactly. We just do whatever seems to be like a good idea that. Say, for example, during warm up the rider has issues with the canter somewhere. You can probably be certain that you'll be spending some time working on that. That could be the whole lesson. But say warm up goes well and you start popping over some fences and that's going really fantastic. We'll just keep jumping and my trainer will keep challenging us. This is how we've had lessons that start over 2' verticles and end with the rider doing 3'6 spreads. LOL It was all just working out well so that's where we went with it.
              Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
              Thank you for everything boy.

              Better View.


              • Original Poster

                That's how I ride my horse as well. I try not to start a ride or lesson saying this is only what I want to work on unless we've had issues with it in prior lessons or rides. But, if my horse had a really bad left bulge yesterday over fences and I'm going to jump again the next day or a few days later, I'll make sure that I address that issue since I know it's there. The routine that I listed above is just for my Training level horse. I ride my green horse exactly how your barn rides, working on whatever he needs to work on.


                • #9
                  My canter sets alternate between gallops and cantering...no particular # of reps, just at whim I will ask him for all out and then collect him.
                  As for lots of jumping, I just don't believe in doing it a whole lot, especially on a more advanced horse. When my daughter's mare, a former advanced horse, was competing, we only jumped her once before an event during a lesson, and at xc schools. She had a ton of mileage on her and we wanted to save anymore wear and tear. I will pop Tucker over an occasional jump when we do our track work...maybe 3 or 4 and that is it. Usually towards the end of our work and it is just a way to tell him "good boy"! Because he is so big, again, I don't want a whole lot of wear and tear on his joints. When we add in occasional lessons and schoolings, he gets plenty of jumping!
                  And my "schedule" is not set in stone! Yesterday, instead of track work, we did some ring work, then jumped a few jumps and then cooled out on the track.
                  Lori T
                  www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the giving me the number of jump days that you are doing.

                    My conditioning is often done as a warm up for my dressage or jumping work. I like to do more trot work, too. I do the canter/gallop work once a week or whenever the ground is not too muddy or hard (depending on the time of year). When it gets closer to the event, my sets might be: 10 min. walk, 2 min. trot, 3 min. walk, 2 min. trot, etc. , finishing with a 5 min. walk. Since we are only gonig BN-N, I do not want her to be too fit.

                    My mare does not need jump schooling, which is why I was only schooling her over fences one day/week between events.

                    The clinician told me that I need to do jumping exercises to develop MY eye and feel for what pace/rhythm I need when jumping. If I had multiple horses to ride, like he does, then I probably would not need to work my horse on jumping exercises three days/week.

                    Cantering poles or cross rails on a circle would be considered "jumping exercises" for me.
                    When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!