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Cross Training the Eventer

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  • Cross Training the Eventer

    What kinds of cross training things do you like to do? I mean, obviously everyone does dressage, stadium, and cross country, but do you like to do other things? What?

    I have done several hunter paces with my Cleveland Bay Sporthorse, which is sort of cross country-esque. But I have also gotten a big kick out of doing Judged Trail Rides (who knew she would tow a large branch on a rope?) and I got a cheap Western saddle a couple years ago and she now goes out and does a quite nice jog and lope. The hardest thing was to convince her to maintain such slow gaits, as she figured a brisk walk or modest trot made more sense. I've been tempted to take her to some local hunter shows because she has a very huntery way of going, but lack the enthusiasm necessary.

    SO, do you do more cross training sorts of things, or stick to dressage/XC/Stadium? Anyone hunt?

  • #2
    I dabble in barrel racing with my young horse, we don't go to win the class though. Helps work on being able to do tighter turns, polebending helps with general responsiveness. Lots of bending and tight turns, speed change also.
    To be loved by a horse, or by any animal, should fill us with awe-
    for we have not deserved it.
    Marion Garretty


    • #3
      My good friend has a polo horse in training so when she wants to practice and stick n ball with another horse, I'll grab a mallet and go out there with her. My horse is terrible but he is pretty chill so swinging mallets and flying polo balls are no big... it's good exercise for him since we arn't doing anything extreme. He definately prefers eventing though


      • #4
        Trail riding - serious trail riding, hours up and down ravines, thru creeks, belly up in ponds. It teaches a horse common sense, to look where their feet are going, to carry a rider and be balanced, builds up some rear engine muscle.

        Western's great, teaches a horse to learn to wait, work some cows, pull a tire behind them on the ground with a rope tied to the horn. Driving's good too, it's all about forward. And teaches a horse to stand still and be patient also.

        Swimming with your horse!

        Whatever you do, the variety and the shared experience for you and your horse helps build a true partnership. It really should be all about that buddy ride, heh?!
        The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton


        • #5
          Trail riding, long walking hacks all over everywhere, joining in the local saddle club's fun & games show (put a big grin on my face to kick ass at poles and barrels and such on my "frou-frou" english horse, with me in my dressage saddle ) the occasional hunter/jumper show.

          I'll pretty much ride him in any situation


          • #6
            I think eventers tend to do a lot of cross-training anyway. Of course, dressage, H/J/Eq, foxhunting, hunter paces, endurance, and trail riding are all pretty directly relevant to eventing. I know a couple of eventing horses who also do Western events, cattle penning, vaulting, and polo (different horses, not all of the above).
            Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.


            • #7
              My old eventer was an 18hh TB gelding who thought he was a team penner in a previous life. He'd never seen a cow and did his damndest to cut that thing out of the herd... unfortunately, at 18hh, it's difficult to be too quick and cat like... especially when the cow could run UNDER him! lol

              I hunt all my youngsters, but once they're going, it seems I don't have time to keep them out hunting. I was very glad I'd taken my young rescue horse on a hunt last spring with a group in the desert in CA. There is NO WAY my Int. horse would have come out of that without a scratch! Between the shale we were sliding over, the steep embankments we slid up and down, and all the bushes we wound up running THROUGH, I would have never run my big guy through that... for better or worse.

              That being said, all my horses once they come off the track go straight to the round pen for some quality time on the ground learning games. We take the worry out of work and make it fun again. Between learning to cross bridges, tarps, playing with LARGE balls, and playing tag (yes, tag), they learn to follow and communicate rather than feel bullied. Once trust is built-- within 30 days-- I'm back on and moving along quickly.
              Keep your feet on the ground, but always look to the stars!


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by pony grandma View Post
                Trail riding - serious trail riding, hours up and down ravines, thru creeks, belly up in ponds. It teaches a horse common sense, to look where their feet are going, to carry a rider and be balanced, builds up some rear engine muscle.

                Swimming with your horse!

                Whatever you do, the variety and the shared experience for you and your horse helps build a true partnership. It really should be all about that buddy ride, heh?!
                I haul to the local park for riding most weeks, often more than once. The trails are fun, could be more challenging, but we get to go up and down hills, over rocky bits, through the woods, crossing creeks and bridges, and coping with the hikers, dog walkers, and mountain bikers. :-) I get down to Bucks County HP once or twice a month for hacking and maybe popping the odd XC fence--they have good trails with some hunter pace obstacles here and there.

                I used to love swimming with my old mare when I was a kid! I've had my 4 yr old belly deep in a pond when she was down with The Cowboy and I went down to ride, but I don't know of safe equine friendly swimming holes in my local area.


                • #9
                  cattle work occasionally and trail class in open shows.


                  • #10
                    I think eventers are pretty much cross training champions, since their job requires it. However, I think it is great trying new things. Unfortunately I don't have the time to do things competitively (other than eventing and the occasional dressage show and jumpers), but I do think a good deal of hacking/trail riding is a MUST. I am a big believer in the William Micklem philosophy of "fifth leg" training. Not only is trail riding not only a good relief from ring work and good for their fitness, but it also teaches them to take care of themselves and learn where their feet go. Love it.

                    I think if I had the time, I'd love to do some endurance rides. Unfortunately, I just don't have the time.


                    • #11
                      He's an event horse, but I don't really compete, I just take lessons.

                      Other than that, it's primarily trail riding in the local desert mountain parks. We usually do 4-6 miles up and down, in the sand washes, through ravines. There are hikers with dogs, and mountain bikers plus the usual wildlife (lizards, rodents, the occasional snake.)

                      Now that I'm back in semi regular lessons I'm thinking of putting him in a local hunter show next month to see if our newfound ability to maintain a reasonable pace and even actually _slow_ _down_ on course is repeatable with the added stress of trying to remember a course in a show environment.

                      They do beginner lessons at his boarding barn, so occasionally we'll be the demo horse for how to post or canter, or take half the kids out to walk up and over the Irish bank while the others jump crossrails. At the end there's always a group game like tag or red light green light.

                      ... and Patrick


                      • #12

                        I recently leased out my irish draught gelding , but up until last year we evented, trail rode, paced, dressage jumpers ....and.....combined driving !


                        • #13
                          My old prelim horse loved team penning (yes herding cows) during the winter months.

                          He was a grand horse, that one.



                          • #14
                            I go trail riding with a local group of endurance riders, so we MOVE OUT. Great conditioning work!
                            Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                            Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                            We Are Flying Solo


                            • #15
                              I am not doing much in the way of competing right now but I really enjoy doing different activities with my horse. Last year we learned the basics of team penning and working cows. We've gone foxhunting several times, in the fall we go to the hunter paces .

                              This year I really want to get to a few field hunter trials!

                              In between all this we have always been avid trail riders. We go out for 1-3 hours about twice a week at least and usually wt,c and do some gallop too if the footing is suitable. Some days we do alot of work at the extended trot. It's great conditioning work. There are places I trail ride to work on hills as well.

                              I love meeting up with my friends at different state forests, going on marked rides put on by the local trail organizations and this fall I hope to try a judged pleasure ride too.

                              I actually think I enjoy the hunter paces and trail rides more then going to events. Usually they include lunch, there is more time in the saddle and it's just a fun social time, oh and of course so much cheaper!


                              • #16
                                My guy crosses over into the QH shows and does the Hunter, Eq over Fences and Jumpers. We also trail ride some and I am thinking about taking him over to a friend's and do alittle team roping off him. I used to rope a lot when I was in college and after college and I miss it some. Plus my guy is sooo laided back, I think he would be okay with it.

                                ~ Jus Passed My Zipper aka Spanky, 11yo QH gelding.
                                ~ Muskogee, 2yo Oldenburg Colt.


                                • #17
                                  We go to lots of H/J shows as one of my trainers is primarily a hunter trainer, and I'll show in jumper, equitation and hunter classes (but I did that with my previous horse so it's not a big jump for me).

                                  I also take my guy team penning and sorting since my fiance's dad is into it We go on lots of big trail rides too (river crossings, big ravines, etc. as someone else mentioned).

                                  I've done some hunter paces and dressage shows too.

                                  I think he has a great brain and is pretty well-rounded


                                  • #18
                                    I am planning on taking my QH eventer on a 25 mile LD endurance ride this november. We already do a ton of trail riding, have chased cows, done trail trials, and go to schooling jumper shows.


                                    • #19
                                      My older horses and my young homebreds have all learned to work cattle. The young ones all got started that way and thoroughly enjoyed it. My 4 year-old will try to herd anything, including animals that prefer not to be herded, like cats and pigs.

                                      My mule, however, has cross-trained himself in the ninja arts.