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Derby in a month, haven't jumped much this winter - yea or nay?

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  • Derby in a month, haven't jumped much this winter - yea or nay?

    Trying to decide between a dressage show and an indoor derby next month. Obvious choice is the derby, BUT...

    The horse and I have only jumped twice since fall, and he's only been worked about twice a week since then. He's a little out of shape, currently doing about 45 minutes of work 2-3 times a week, mostly trot work with 5-10 minutes of cantering (total). I'm going to really try to get him up to 4-5 days a week and throw in some plain ol' trot sets (with two point for me, yay!) to stretch out the rides and improve his fitness level, with a good school o/f at least once a week (as daylight allows....).

    Is it unreasonable of me to think we might be semi-fit enough to go to the derby and do a round or two at 2'3" & 2'7" in a month's time? In fall of last year, we were schooling 2'6"-2'9" and had successfully competed over the same venue's outdoor derby course at Intro (2'). We popped over a few single 2'3" fences about a week ago and while he was breathing a bit heavily, neither of us died (although thanks to pilot error, we did plow through it once!).

  • #2
    What type of horse is he? And what was his fitness basis before. An OTTB...I would think no problem. Might be a bit of a stretch for a heavy breed of horse who doesn't have a good fitness base.

    But in the end...is it worth rushing him? Do you have to enter in advance? If not, I'd just play it by ear and see how he felt closer to the competition date.
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
      What type of horse is he? And what was his fitness basis before. An OTTB...I would think no problem. Might be a bit of a stretch for a heavy breed of horse who doesn't have a good fitness base.

      But in the end...is it worth rushing him? Do you have to enter in advance? If not, I'd just play it by ear and see how he felt closer to the competition date.
      TB, OTTB although he'll be 15 this year so I'm not sure how much that really comes into play these days. He gets fit relatively quickly and is light on his feet. We do have to enter in advance, by the 19th if I recall correctly. Budget doesn't allow me to do both shows, the dressage show closes the 28th so I do need to make up my mind in the next couple days.

      Comment


      • #4
        What do you need to work on more....jumping or dressage? For me...while I hate to say it...it often is dressage. And since that is the safer bet for fitness, that might be what I would enter. For you...maybe jump him once soon and see.
        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
          What do you need to work on more....jumping or dressage? For me...while I hate to say it...it often is dressage. And since that is the safer bet for fitness, that might be what I would enter. For you...maybe jump him once soon and see.
          Honestly, I've really been busting my butt in the dressage arena for the past two years (with success). We didn't compete at all in 2012 save one dressage show and the afore-mentioned derby. He's getting high 60's/low 70's at Training level at regular dressage shows and should be moving up to First this year. I plan to take him to his first BN in May, so his level of flatwork is plenty sufficient at this point in his "career".

          I can honestly say we need to work on jumping more. I rode in my jumping saddle for the first time in FOUR MONTHS a few weeks ago and felt the burn. Need to dig out my neck strap.

          Comment


          • #6
            Depends on the horse. During college I boarded at a barn that wouldn't allow jumping outside of lessons, so we just didn't jump. We went to about one show a month and did the 3'6" to 4'3" (depending on fitness) jumpers. We would do one class a day except maybe for a money class on Sunday. We did fantastic!!

            We did tons of forward and back at the trot and canter as well as some training half steps (piaffe with forward motion) and haunches in a 3m half circles to build the muscles to jump without jumping (not needed for 3'6" and under ). He never got sore at shows (albeit the one class a day helps, but still).

            If your horse is fit for 1st level dressage, then one day of jumping 2'7" should be very easy for your horse. The question is whether or not you and your horse have the mentality to go get the job done with out regular jump schools.

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            • #7
              My horses could probably go tomorrow and do a jumper show or even a full HT at the level they competed at last fall.

              I couldn't-- I need 2 or 3 lessons before I feel like I'm anywhere near ready!

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by flyracing View Post

                If your horse is fit for 1st level dressage, then one day of jumping 2'7" should be very easy for your horse. The question is whether or not you and your horse have the mentality to go get the job done with out regular jump schools.
                The beauty of this horse is that I can point him at a jump after not having seen a single one for four months, and he will casually saunter up and pop over. Not much gets his blood boiling, and he's never been one to rush, nor is he really a big spooker/looker.

                I am hoping to put up a couple fences in the wee minutes of waning daylight after work this week (tomorrow, maybe?) and see how we feel. We don't even HAVE to do 2'7" - The classes start at 12". When I jumped him a week ago, he felt good, maybe a little on the forehand but nothing awful.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The height doesn't matter much, meaning you can work on pace, lines, straightness, etc. at a lower height, which would mean less stress on body. I'd do the jumping show if your schooling goes okay, but I would drop the height to maybe 2 feet or even cross rails and really try to get good rounds at the lower height.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Heinz 57 View Post
                    Trying to decide between a dressage show and an indoor derby next month. Obvious choice is the derby, BUT...

                    The horse and I have only jumped twice since fall, and he's only been worked about twice a week since then. He's a little out of shape, currently doing about 45 minutes of work 2-3 times a week, mostly trot work with 5-10 minutes of cantering (total). I'm going to really try to get him up to 4-5 days a week and throw in some plain ol' trot sets (with two point for me, yay!) to stretch out the rides and improve his fitness level, with a good school o/f at least once a week (as daylight allows....).

                    Is it unreasonable of me to think we might be semi-fit enough to go to the derby and do a round or two at 2'3" & 2'7" in a month's time? In fall of last year, we were schooling 2'6"-2'9" and had successfully competed over the same venue's outdoor derby course at Intro (2'). We popped over a few single 2'3" fences about a week ago and while he was breathing a bit heavily, neither of us died (although thanks to pilot error, we did plow through it once!).
                    He's 15, I'd do the dressage show next month or just skip the show & do a jump clinic/show in a couple months i.e. the next month just improving his fitness, then a month getting him jumping fit ...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Over the years I have learned a bit about my horses as they age, as they acquire (and lose) fitness.
                      I think you cannot have a horse too fit. For anything - at any level. I think that if you took a heart rate monitor and used it religiously you would find your unfit horse works extremely hard when faced with a sudden amount of overwork. I see this at times out hunting or at schooling shows, or clinics. Horses never complain and they always go when asked but sometimes I think we unknowingly ask too much, and I am certainly in that camp, too.
                      I think sudden overwork is the cause of many problems in horses, too, that we don't see but come eventually around to shorten their lives and develop conditions like arthritis and heaves. I dont know if there is science for that, but in 40 years of observing horses I have seen it.
                      I have tried to use my heart rate monitor periodically to allow me to develop baselines on all my horses and use that to help me make decisions on whether or not they are fit enough. If I think I am going to go jump school for what I estimate to be an hour, I'll ride for 30 minutes at home first, and see what I get for numbers.
                      My problem is I rest too much (walk) and that allows my horses to not quite get enough steady work. We are both out of shape!
                      Jumping requires more strength than just flatwork. I think you have to practice jumping in order to gain jumping fitness -- to some extent as you go up the levels I think you can do hill work or gallop sets -- but at my level I really do have to jump regularly to keep us both up on fitness over fences.
                      My take on it.
                      Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                      Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It depends on your horse. I haven't jumped my horse since last fall. I wouldn't hesitate to jump a 2'6" course in a month. He's 14, an OTTB and he keeps himself pretty fit.

                        Those aren't big fences and it's not like you're going out and running a xc course.

                        However, there's no need to push your horse out of his fitness comfort zone. You have to decide what the two of you are up for.
                        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                        EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Well, there is always the option of doing neither and just continuing on the path we're on (and saving my pennies for that recognized BN I'm shooting for in May). He's plenty fit enough to go do two dressage tests in one day, just not as fit as I like him to be. He's in fantastic shape for his age, according to the track vet I use for all my non-emergency work.

                          It's hard for me to resist these little GMO/schooling shows that are SO local and cheap, but financially speaking... maybe it's better to focus on the rec. events I'm planning to do. I could easily subsitute a XC schooling trip for the price of either show - and that would probably be way more beneficial, too.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'd vote for saving your money unless he has a competition issue you need to work on.
                            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If he is out of breath after popping over a few jumps I would do the dressage show or hold off personally.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                                I'd vote for saving your money unless he has a competition issue you need to work on.
                                Nope, he's pretty chill most of the time. Maybe I'll just plan a schooling trip or two for April.

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