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Stuck in an Indoor: Conditioning Advice

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  • Stuck in an Indoor: Conditioning Advice

    Does anyone have advice on how I can keep my event horses fit and conditioned when I am stuck in an indoor?

    Any favorite exercises/ things to do?


  • #2
    Daylight runs out for me by the time I leave work, so I condition my guys by doing slow canter sets around the ring. I actually had to do this while working for someone in England and a vet recommended it during the summer of 2010 when the ground was rock hard. It's boring, but its a way to condition when you options are very limited.


    • #3
      Ahh, not that it's very interesting but here's a couple things we've done:

      * Two point trot sets. If you want to make it exciting, set up a course of poles to go through.

      * Throw out a ground pole or two at the end of each diagonal and work on lead changes.

      * Adjustability, trot and canter - Lengthen down the long side, come back for the short side, repeat. If you want to get technical, count strides down the long side and play around with what type of canter = what number of strides.

      * Counter-canter loops.


      • #4
        Doing long, busy flatwork sessions should seriously contribute to your horses fitness. You definitely might need the trot and canter sets just so you and your horse can go on Autopilot a little bit and have a low pressure session that still works on fitness. But if you make sure that your flat sessions are working hard and you can increase the time and intensity like you do your conditioning work, your horse should come out of winter feeling pretty fit and you will have worked on a lot of flat work! Adding in poles and stuff like suggested above will help keep it interesting, but just remember that you do get quite a bit of fitness work done while working on flatwork too!


        • #5
          Transitions!!! LOTS of them....

          And not just from gear to gear.

          Big trot to working trot to "pseudo collected" trot back to working, back to walk...to big walk.... to little walk to turn on forehand to big walk to medium walk to canter, to 15 m circle to lengthened canter (circle or longside) to big walk to working trot. to halt. to canter. etc etc etc etc. All of this asks a lot of their hind ends and stomachs.

          This of course comes after 15 mins of long and low stretching and getting their heads on the ground to warm up their butts and tummies.

          This is what we always had to do and believe me there's no better time than winter to knock the rust off the lateral work and such. And courses of poles on the ground is VERY useful.

          "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


          • #6
            What level horse are we talking about? If it is a training or below, just good flatwork (with the exercises others have mentioned) should be plenty. It is more an issue of keeping it interesting than getting them/keeping them fit (and why I am milking every ounce out of the hacking around here while the weather and footing hold! No need to rush our imprisonment in the indoor any sooner than necessary!).

            If the horse is training thinking of prelim or up, you still PROBABLY don't need to be doing a ton of trot and canter sets unless you are going down south to start the season off in January, OR your horse is a very heavy type horse (draft cross, heavy WB). In that case, you can do trot and canter sets, but it is boooooooring and kinda painful (at least I found it painful). While I was preparing for my P3DE last fall, I had to one or two fitness days in the indoor- 3 x 5min trots and 3 x 5min canters. No speed, just canter. It sucked, but it served the purpose. The horse I groomed at the T3DE this fall had HORRIBLE luck with fitness days and did the majority of his in either the indoor or the all weather outdoor. He was VERY fit, despite that. BUT, it really isn't ideal. I think it is hard on their joints, so I don't like doing it all the time.


            • Original Poster

              Yellowbritches: I actually hit both spectrums.. My OTTB gelding is moving up to training and my Mare is going intermediate with Jersery fresh 2** as the goal. We are heading south in february for two weeks but other than that, hello indoor :/


              • #8
                Originally posted by JLL90 View Post
                Yellowbritches: I actually hit both spectrums.. My OTTB gelding is moving up to training and my Mare is going intermediate with Jersery fresh 2** as the goal. We are heading south in february for two weeks but other than that, hello indoor :/
                Sometimes we take them swiming. But if in the indoor..lots of trotting. Poles on the ground..scattered randomly can keep it a bit interesting. I'll do canter sets if I have no choice.

                Then I bring in a radio or ipod.
                ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **