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Preparing for N3D/T3D

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  • Preparing for N3D/T3D

    I've never done anything special to get my horse ready for a Novice HT and was figuring for our attempt at N3D I probably should work on some galloping sets, practicing jumping at speed, etc. I'd like to hear suggestions on this from folks who have done N3D or T3D before. I'm trying to work on my own fitness too, for the 2+ mile course walks as well as for the ride itself.

    Also, did you have a crew for the 10 minute box, and if so, how many people?
    That's fine, many of us have slid down this slippery slope and became very happy (and broke) doing it. We may not have a retirement, but we have memories ...

  • #2
    Is there such a thing as N3D? I hope not. If you're going to do any kind of full 3-Day, you ABSOLUTELY need a crew for the 10 minute box.


    • #3
      Originally posted by tomac View Post
      Is there such a thing as N3D? I hope not. If you're going to do any kind of full 3-Day, you ABSOLUTELY need a crew for the 10 minute box.
      Yes there is a N3D, GMHA has been hosting one for two or three years now, and I know of one other. Why exactly would this be a bad thing?

      To the OP, I don't have any advice, but I'm glad you started this thread as I've been thinking about aiming my guy for the GMHA N3D this year


      • #4
        Yes, there are Novice 3-days. They're fun, they're educational, they're received with enthusiasm by those who do not aspire to the upper levels and are quite popular.

        Depending on the horse, the amount of fitness required for a N3D might not really be that much more than what you'd need for regular Horse Trials. I always start out the season with a few weeks of trot sets and modest intervals, no matter what level, and that is enough base for most horses to go on with. I did one last year on my chunky half-ID mare and although it was REALLY REALLY HOT on endurance day, she was fine with not much more than my regular "base" on her that I do every year. She very definitely got hot and sweaty, but that was more the weather than the actual effort involved--roads and tracks was only about 40 minutes total and the steeplechase was short and only run at Training speed.

        A T3D requires a step up in fitness and is a really good stepping stone (IMO) for someone contemplating the big jump from T to P.

        There are lots of threads on interval training, fitness for these events, etc. Very definitely riding at a bit of a faster speed is part of the experience (steeplechase) and usually some sort of schooling opportunity is provided as these are educational events. But that is one thing worth practicing, IMO, if one has no experience jumping out of a gallop.

        I think they're great fun and will probably not do a N3D this year as I'm hoping my horse will be going steadily at Training by then, but a T3D is on the goals list for sure!

        As to the 10 minute box, there are always people willing to help, but if you could get 1-2 helpers it makes it a lot easier. More is fine, but not all that necessary.
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          I have no input regarding fitness for N3D...I honestly have zero clue how much fitness a horse needs above a Novice HT.

          For the 10 minute box and a crew, however, I can give advice, having wrangled a few now, at all levels with all varieties of horses.

          Extra hands is nice, no matter the level. Too many can be a pain, especially if you are limited in space in the box. If you are a nervous type, keep people who can make you nervous OUT (parents, SOs, chatty friends, whatever). Plan to have someone who KNOWS your horse and who your horse KNOWS do the handling of your horse (preferably not you. You need those 10 minutes to re-focus, re-energize, and get any last minute info on the course). I can't stress this enough (funnily, in MY 10 minute box, someone who did not know my horse handled him, however, she was a UL rider, had been in 10 min boxes a million times, and I knew he would be fairly quiet and that she could handle anything bad he might do). Especially if your horse can be fractious or nervy, it really pays off to have someone who your horse will feel safe with at their head keeping them calm and focused.

          If your horse has any bad habits (kicking, biting, etc) PLEASE tell your crew. I also think it is good to ask them NOT to make a big deal of poor behavior in the box...that is not the place to put manners on the horse! Just make them aware of any potential naughtiness (my horse could be quick with his hind feet when nervous and was a well established nipper) so they can be sharp.

          Make sure your horse is prepared for the organized chaos that is the 10 minute box. Make sure he gets sponged off with ice water a few times (that can be a startling experience), can have his vitals taken when he's up, and is ok with having a few people working on and around him. You can't train for every contingency, (the horse in my charge at the Waredaca T3DE wouldn't come into the box!! He found it horrifying...there was no way we could have known that!) but you can at least make it so that the box isn't a 100% NEW experience.

          I DO like to use a chain over their noses, just because it can be so crazy. If you do that, don't wait for the box to find out if your horse is ok with a chain!

          And, for the love of God, if you don't HAVE to undo any tack, don't...MAYBE loosen the girth, but don't undo nose bands, boots (unless they slipped badly), anything like that. It just isn't worth it...I promise....10 minutes goes by VERY fast.


          • Original Poster

            More questions prompted by the replies: tell me what supplies I should have for the 10 min box? DW, I know you were at the IEA N3D last year, so you are saying there were extra people willing to help out there (since that is where I am headed?) I'm wondering if I can get any friends to make the 5-6 hour trip to help me--would be easier if this was in Chicagoland!
            My horse is a 21 yo OTTB, used to a chain over the nose, will try him with the ice water--if it warms up enough by May! He's always been fine with the Novice events (10 years of them) and I've never done "trotting sets" or "interval training" with him. Once someone even commented on how my horse was hardly breathing hard at the finish line. When I realized how much time R&T takes, I thought maybe we'd better focus a bit on conditioning. He's always been fine for a 2 hour trail ride on a moments' notice, but that would usually include more walking than R&T would. I'm glad to hear a half-ID didn't require much extra conditioning.
            DW, how did they do the steeplechase, do they rope off a track or something? I was at Penny Oaks and I know I didn't see an actual track there.
            That's fine, many of us have slid down this slippery slope and became very happy (and broke) doing it. We may not have a retirement, but we have memories ...


            • #7
              Seems to me there are articles over somewhere on the USEA site archived on how to prepare for the 10 minute box, but here's my take:

              Buckets, sponges and sweat scrapers, 3 of each. A bunch of towels. Halter and lead shank with the horse's number on it (tape is fine). An extra bridle/girth/stirrup leather if you are super paranoid or break your tack often while hacking. A front and hind shoe already fit to the horse and studded. A drink and a bit of fruit for the rider if he/she can stand to eat or drink (I can't, not even water) while competing. Duct tape to patch up a torn galloping boot, or extra boots. A tarp to keep it all neat and a couple of folding chairs. A means of shlepping all of this stuff back and forth. People helping need to have watches, waterproof shoes, and a sense of humor. There will be water on hand and probably ice if it's warm.

              Steeplechase was held on a part of the course separate from the regular Horse Trial cross country. It is roped off and incorporated into the Roads and Tracks because as you finish the Steeplechase (phase B) you are on phase C and just keep going. It was all very well laid out and not the least bit difficult to absorb.

              If the Indiana N3D is your destination, you can always count on myself for help in the 10 minute box if the timing works out with my own competing.
              Click here before you buy.


              • #8
                If you PM me your email address, I can send you some of those articles. It would be great to organize them into some sort of booklet or handout... when I have some spare time...
                Taco Blog
                *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by tomac View Post
                  Is there such a thing as N3D? I hope not. If you're going to do any kind of full 3-Day, you ABSOLUTELY need a crew for the 10 minute box.
                  BTW, there is at least one BN3D being held.
                  That's fine, many of us have slid down this slippery slope and became very happy (and broke) doing it. We may not have a retirement, but we have memories ...


                  • #10
                    I did the T3D at the end of the season and found that (with the exception of adding in a few gallop sessions) the conditioning schedules were about what I was doing anyway. My horse is an extremely laid back TB, and was slightly bemused by the whole LF thing-- we're going to what, now? But he was easily fit enough just with having run ~10 Trainings over the course of the year. However, if yours is early in the season you might need more fitness work.

                    My trainer recommended a schedule from Gina Miles that was published in the USEA magazine in 2010. http://www.dpequestrian.com/art/usea...pril_2010.html

                    You might back off a smidge with the gallops speedwise,but I'd probably keep most of the rest of it, especially since your horse is older. You definitely want him comfortable with being ridden fairly hard for 45 minutes to an hour a day (and if you hack the roads and tracks plus school steeplechase on dressage day, it might end up being two 45 minute rides.)


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Highflyer View Post
                      My trainer recommended a schedule from Gina Miles that was published in the USEA magazine in 2010. http://www.dpequestrian.com/art/usea...pril_2010.html
                      I forgot to send you that one! But now you should have the rest in your inbox.
                      Taco Blog
                      *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                      • #12

                        for conditioning I would start with a solid 45 minutes/ day of dressage school/ flatwork; mostly at trot and canter; followed by 20 minutes of trotting on uneven, i.e., not level ground; then check pulse and respiration; have a helper who, can time your sets plus check vitals; WRITE DOWN the p & r; check again in 5 minutes; I believe the old standard used to be an 80?% drop before continuing on with canter sets; start with a 2 minute canter twice ( x2)check p and r again , walk 10 minutes; check again; do write this down, "chart"the recovery I'm sure someone here has more uptodate numbers to use for recovery rates;when the recovery rate are is in the "satisfactory "range, add 1 minute to each set, flat work, trots, canters
                        breeder of Mercury!

                        remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                        • #13
                          The book The Event Grooms Handbook by Jeanne Kane & Lisa Waltman was a required read, back in the 80's but imo is still invaluable.
                          It will answer most of your above questions + some.

                          Did a long format last yr, the riders that prepared had a great go. The ones who assumed it was going to be not much more than a HT struggled.
                          My Tb was fine, but I did just slightly more hill sets w/ him other than just schooling. Also took a 14.3 Qh & she would have had trouble w/ normal HT preps did twice as many sets w/ her.
                          So really depends on horse type as well.

                          Yes, you do need to be fit.

                          Helpers-I had 3 in Vet box-1 to lead and 1 on each side. You need to have assigned jobs before arriving w/ horse. Also if phase B & 10 min box aren't close you'll need a 4th to cover you coming off of A & start B. Since traveling such a distance the organizer or local Pony Club may be able to supply some help for you.

                          A meter wheel is a must have, otherwise you won't really know where you should be in regards to timing.


                          • #14
                            I worked in the box one time for my trainer a long time ago. Seems like I met her after phase B and then hurried back to the 10 minute box. We had everything laid out when she got there and it went as smoothly as it possible could. It was very hectic and exciting.

                            Her horse was very fit and she did trot sets and gallop sets every week or 10 days plus long hacks. When she was out of town, I used to hack out her horse for her. Atleast an hour ride. This was for Prelim long formats.

                            Where are the BN 3 days ?


                            • #15
                              Full Moon Farm in Finksburg, MD has an unrecognized 1/4 Star Long Format 3 day Baby Beg. Novice - Training set for June 26 this year.

                              Great introduction to long format, DD did it last year at the BN level, went with others who did the BBN level and Novice level. Horses need to be fit for every level it is very challenging their terrain is gently rolling to a good sized hill. Good learning experience with speakers, vet check, best turn out awards overall awards, the whole nine yards. FMF does a great job.
                              "They spend 11 months stuggling to live, and 25 years trying to die" my farrier

                              "They are dangerous on both ends and crafty in the middle"


                              • #16
                                Conditioning depends on how naturally fit your horse is. I did the T3D at IEA in '09 with no conditioning other than 45 min walks 2-3 days/week and we won Best Conditioned. But I'm convinced that horse does gallop sets in the field when no one is looking.

                                At IEA the steeplechase is roped off, there is no permanent track. There will be a steeplechase school on your dressage day to practice jumping from a "gallop".

                                Also at the N3D roads and tracks are more walking than at a T3D.

                                You should talk with your coach about fitness. You can also PM LAZ (IEA's 3 day organizer) if you have specific questions.
                                Yes, I ride a pony. No, he would not be ideal for your child. No, he is not a re-sale project...


                                • #17
                                  Agree with WeeDeeTrr,
                                  I did the N3D last year with a draft cross. Im a shorter, rounder rider and we both were breathing harder than our leggier, leaner counterparts after the finish of phase D. I did lots of trot sets, a good deal of gallops and when I was able to get out to some trails, I did hills. Make sure you practice your speeds, be aware of what 240mpm is vs 450mpm (or whatever steeplechase was) and make sure you are your horse are comfortable doing each.
                                  And yes, you will need help in the box. My horse was a little freaked out by all the help and people surrounding her, so keep the party to the amount you need to get the job done, 2-3 knowledgable, calm people. One to walk and another 1-2 to remove tack and sponge your horse.
                                  Have fun! Its a learning experience. I think there were 2 of us in the entire 3 day that had done one before, soeveryone is new at it. Talk to the other competitors and ask if you dont know.
                                  Good Luck!


                                  • #18
                                    Make sure your helpers are either experienced or have taken the time to learn what to do. I found a rider at loose ends in the box at our T3d last year with a helper who was walking the horse but was not working to cool him and had not checked his shoes. Horse had a front bar shoe hanging on by a thread. I got him to the farrier for her but she was late for her start at D and racked up lots of time...
                                    The big man -- my lost prince

                                    The little brother, now my main man


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Wee Dee Trrr View Post
                                      Conditioning depends on how naturally fit your horse is. I did the T3D at IEA in '09 with no conditioning other than 45 min walks 2-3 days/week and we won Best Conditioned.
                                      Wow! I wish! I'm aiming for the Waredaca T3D this fall and I'm already thinking about how the heck I'm going to get my horse fit enough! I will probably follow Asterix's T3D conditioning schedule to the letter and keep my fingers crossed. Next step will be to bribe my more experienced friends for help on xc day.

                                      Volunteering at a long format event is an excellent way to get an idea of what to expect.
                                      The big guy: Lincoln

                                      Southern Maryland Equestrian


                                      • #20
                                        Volunteering is a GREAT way to learn, if you can find an event before yours. I'm going to ignore the person looking down their nose at the lower levels. There are BN, N, and T3D's in VT, SC, and MD, two of which are recognized. These events are fun, great learning opportunities and as a person who has a horse whose body could not do Training Level, I wish I had done a N3D with him before he got hurt. I still have a little secret hope I might be able to bring him back.

                                        For the vet box, you do need help, although I have seen lots of folks step up for people who can't bring crew with them, so everyone tries to make sure no one goes without a helping hand! I would just think about things you might need extras of if they break, sweat scrapers and buckets, a drink/snack for you, a set of shoes for pony, and lots of towels. There are great lists already on here and never forget lots of tape!
                                        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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