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Increasing Stamina? Endurance?

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  • Increasing Stamina? Endurance?

    Any suggestions to help increase a horse's stamina and endurance?

    Gus is FINALLY back in work and he's most definitely out of shape. He is getting A LOT of calories daily... so it's not that he's not getting enough food. He just lacks energy. That in itself is not new, but the fact that he can only go for about 30 minutes before being absolutely exhausted is.

    We are doing a light warm up and do periodic breaks, but other then just plain riding is there anything else I can do? He's good for 30-40 minutes right now, but that is mainly trotting work. He can barely hold the canter together, but I think a lot of that has to do with lack of muscling.

    Would interval training work? (Like a day of long and low trotting, followed by another day of canter/gallop sets, followed by another day of long and low, rinse and repeat ...)

    Any suggestions? I know it'll take time. But he had a lot more energy back in July then he has now, just weeks later. Nothing really changed at all in his routine except for we finally got him going sound again (now I probably jinxed that).

    Thanks!
    Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
    See G2's blog
    Photos

  • #2
    Here are some articles:

    http://www.uscavalry.org/currenteven...your-horse.pdf

    http://www.extension.org/pages/Basic...Equine_Athlete

    If the horse is weak and unfit it will take time to fix the problem. There are no shortcuts.

    Walking generally builds muscle. So do lots of it. The first few sessions should probably be nothing but walking.

    Then add the trot to improve balance and begin to build wind. After the horse can move easily then add some short sessions at the canter, building as the horse improves.

    Plan on a full program taking in the 90 day range, depending upon age, conformation, overall health, etc.

    Remeber the famous quote from Col. Podhajsky of the Spanish Riding School: I have time.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

    Comment


    • #3
      Interval training is always beneficial. It doesn't even have to be 1 LSD day and 1 "weight training" day. There are Interval Days, where you sprint, then rest, then sprint, then rest. "Sprint" is all relative to the horse's fitness of course

      It's about cross-training too. Walking hilly trails one day. Gallops in a field the next day. Dressage work in a ring one day. Dressage work on hills one day. The more the merrier
      ______________________________
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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      • #4
        My horse just spent 3 1/2 weeks here: www.horseswim.com

        I pick her up tomorrow and am anxious to see how she is under saddle when I ride her on Friday. She looks more fit and stronger than she ever has. Will see if it translates to her work under saddle.

        She had surgery on May 13 and I just wasn't happy with how she felt when I tried to put her back in work 10 weeks post-surgery. Decided to give this a try after discussing it with my vet. He actually went to see her swim on her 3rd day there and the owner of the place kept in touch with him about her progress. Vet went to see her swim today because owner felt she was ready to come home and go back to work - and vet agreed.

        Not a practical solution for everyone (because you have to have a facility in your area) but it made sense for us! And I have 2 other horses recovering from other injuries that I plan on just hauling in for swims once or twice a week to help build up muscles, in addition to the light riding that I will be doing when they first go back to work.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JB View Post
          Interval training is always beneficial. It doesn't even have to be 1 LSD day and 1 "weight training" day. There are Interval Days, where you sprint, then rest, then sprint, then rest. "Sprint" is all relative to the horse's fitness of course

          It's about cross-training too. Walking hilly trails one day. Gallops in a field the next day. Dressage work in a ring one day. Dressage work on hills one day. The more the merrier
          I agree with what JB said. Start with building a 30 day plan. What days you are riding and what exercises you are going to do on those days and try to stick to it as closely as you can. Another thing that has been instilled in me is about quality work, not the length of time that you work.

          30-40 minutes of trot work is an awfully long time. You may want to do things such as walking, lateral exercises at the walk, a few minutes of trot and then right into the canter.

          When I am trying to get my horse fit, I do is lots of transitions and lateral work and I don't necessarily work on each gait at every ride. Every ride is a little different.

          I do things like big trot sets, transitioning to little trot sets...collected canter to medium canter. I do this on the trails too...so canter up the hill and then walk down the hill. or canter trot transitions on a 20 m. circle. If I get good quality work, I will only work about 20 minutes (not including my walk warm up.

          Some days I do nothing but lateral work- somedays just at the walk doing LY, SI, HI. Or sometimes this is my warm up with lateral work before I go into my canter or walk work. .

          If your horse is not able to stay in the canter very long because of stamina or strength issue, you may be putting it to late into your ride...try cantering earlier in your ride.

          Good luck!
          "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
          "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
          Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!

          Comment


          • #6
            I use long, slow distance conditioning. That means a lot of walking to start out with, trotting added slowly over a course of weeks. And definitely switch it up - interval training. I agree with walking one day, going for a short gallop the next. I ride with a VMax heart monitor, which is a helpful tool.

            Even ground work on days you can't ride is beneficial. I also do lots of free longing in the paddock (it's about 100x200). That way the horse is exercised without the weight of a rider.

            We take horses to the river frequently and treading the deep water is really great for muscles without the impact of riding.

            Here's an article I really like:
            http://www.seraonline.org/Conditioning.pdf

            And lots of great articles here:
            http://www.aerc.org/Education%20Prep...rst%20Ride.asp

            Comment


            • #7
              Is there a directory for equine therapy pools in the US? I've always loved using water therapy for myself when I was in Gymnastics- a great was to stay fit and recoup from an injury, as well as rebuild the injured area.

              I am also a fan of L,SD training- and taking the time to do it right. We had a mare in our barn that came back from a cracked hock, and she was allowed to 1 minute more each day of trotting to build back up. (As in, day 1= 1 minute trotting, day 2= 2 min. trot, etc.) Mare's never looked better!
              It's a nice starting point anyway!
              Standardbred Lover- owner of Studs Hooligan, aka Strider, ex- pacer, retrained for eventing and endurance
              Strider-OTSTB-, Gus-OTTB-, and Rio-rescued QH!
              Founder of the High Maintenance Horses Clique

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I'll definitely look into those articles that were quoted earlier. Unfortunately, taking Gus "swimming" isn't feesible... although we do have natural lakes and rivers nearby, they aren't very safe.

                To clarify, Gus isn't trotting steady for 30-40 minutes. It's more like 20ish minutes worth of trot work, spaced with walking and some canter work. We are working on lateral work again, so it's not just trotting around a dressage arena for 30ish minutes. Nor are we doing a lot of circles... just lots of loop de loops and whatnot. And we have been going out in the field for some good gallops, and working on changing the gait (collect versus medium versus extended).

                Least I know I'm on the right track. He's gaining strength but with so much time off and lack of muscling, it is taking him a lot longer to come back into shape then it has before.
                Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
                See G2's blog
                Photos

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by appychik View Post

                  Least I know I'm on the right track. He's gaining strength but with so much time off and lack of muscling, it is taking him a lot longer to come back into shape then it has before.
                  High quality protein is VERY helpful in achieving and maintaining fitness. I know Gus is IR so his diet is touchy, but if you can find high protein, high quality hay that is safe for him, it would be very beneficial.

                  I feed alfalfa and it really helps with overall health and condition.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Auventera Two View Post
                    High quality protein is VERY helpful in achieving and maintaining fitness. I know Gus is IR so his diet is touchy, but if you can find high protein, high quality hay that is safe for him, it would be very beneficial.

                    I feed alfalfa and it really helps with overall health and condition.
                    I feed Gus alfalfa too... though in a pelleted form. The hay he's currently getting has some (okay, a tiny bit) alfalfa in it also.

                    As far as protein(s) go, I did have him on Tri-Amino, which I think is an amino acid supp that helps build and support muscle development (I think). Don't you need those amino acids to produce protein? or absorb protein?

                    And his main "grain" is Progressive's ProAdvantage Grass Formula ration balancer. It's 30% protein, according to their website.

                    Anyways, thank you for the good advice. It'd be interesting to test his hay to see the nutritional value... but it's hard in a boarding situation as the hay is all from the farm but from different fields and it's not organized by fields or cuttings...
                    Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
                    See G2's blog
                    Photos

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by appychik View Post
                      As far as protein(s) go, I did have him on Tri-Amino, which I think is an amino acid supp
                      Yes - Tri-Amino - 3 aminos

                      that helps build and support muscle development (I think). Don't you need those amino acids to produce protein? or absorb protein?
                      Proteins are made of amino acids.

                      And his main "grain" is Progressive's ProAdvantage Grass Formula ration balancer. It's 30% protein, according to their website.
                      If you're feeding at least 1lb of that, AND some alfalfa, it's unlikely you'd need MORE amino acids, but there are exceptions of course
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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