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Planning an exercise schedule for horse

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  • Planning an exercise schedule for horse

    If you were not able to ride your horse, due to injury/rehab or other, what kind of schedule would you consider? (provided you were still healthy enough to go to the barn and lunge/do groundwork)

    How little/often would you incorporate any of the following? It's for a young horse with goals of having someone show it over fences in the summer.

    -getting a pro ride X amount per week?
    -having a trusted part-boarder (or two) that would agree to take lessons with said pro?
    -Free jumping?

    How would you incorporate these things into a schedule? Ideally horse would stay at current barn but there is no resident trainer. Another option could be send away for training board, potentially.
    A quick tutorial on interval training: Conditioning your horse for eventing

  • #2
    How young? Young enough that it's beneficial to have a break from work? If he needs to stay in work, does he do OK with days off, or is he the type that needs to really be in a program?

    How long of a lay-up are we talking about here? A month, 6 months ...?

    If you decide that he needs to be in a program, I think it depends on what you can afford. Obviously full training with the professional of your choice would be best, but if that's too expensive then maybe some combo of pro + trusted part-time rider + you doing a lunge or 2 per week ... whatever makes sense for your horse & his work requirements, and also for your checking account.

    Good luck, hope you heal soon!
    "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince


    • #3
      Good luck and I hope your recovery goes well...

      My horse is happiest when ridden 6 days a week, at least. Had I been able while recovering from my injury to my back I would have had him ridden 6 days a week either by my trainer or someone else I trusted to ride him. Unfortunately my trainer was injured for part of the time I was out, too!

      Even though my guy is 10, I decided against longeing him for work. It's just too hard on the legs, and he tends to be a huge dork on the longe at times, particularly when not in much work. He is always out, though, and as a TB keeps himself aerobically fit, at least. He lost quite a bit of topline since he wasn't doing so much collected work without being ridden, but he certainly doesn't get tired now that I'm back in the saddle and actually capable of riding! Ultimately, some time off won't hurt if you can't arrange riders, and even just 4 rides/week if he has the temperament to be ok with that should keep him fairly fit.
      If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


      • Original Poster

        It's for my 5 year old. I am going to ask around for training board pricing of some reputable coaches in the area. One Olympian quoted me about $1500 but she didn't mention what the program included. (Plus she's going to be down south until the spring.)

        There are a few other places that I reached out to. I know one of them (with an Advanced level event rider but not considered an UL coach) charges $900 for her training program. I will see what the others say.

        Truthfully I would like to keep him where he is... the farm is great and once I am able to ride again, I would like to put him back there because it's only 20 mins from my house with awesome facilities and care. The problem is that the board is decently expensive, if I tried to swing that plus 2-3 external pro rides a week... I'm sure I'd be looking at $1300+ anyways.

        I thought if a good university rider came out to just school him/play with him on the flat a few times a week (for free is fine, I don't need a paying part-boarder) and had someone trusted they could jump with/the pro could jump him since he's green over fences, that might be a good option.

        I just don't want to get into a situation where he's being schooled incorrectly, or I have to lunge him excessively to keep him fit. He's a big horse with big joints, I don't want to mess with them too much.
        A quick tutorial on interval training: Conditioning your horse for eventing


        • #5
          When I was in college (and horseless), I rode a few horses in similar situations. Some of them worked out very successfully, others a bit less so.

          I was very upfront with the owner about the fact that I was not a professional and that while I would work with the horse to the best of my ability, there would be no hard feelings if at any point the owner wanted to make a change and either a hire a professional or find a different rider.

          In the situations that worked out best, the owners really understood this and in turn were very clear about their expectations concerning my work with the horse. They would ask me specifically to work on his fitness (trot/canter sets), practice transitions, etc. It was very clear to me what they wanted and I made it clear in turn to them when/if a situation came up with the horse that I did not feel I could handle in a constructive manner.

          In the situations that didn't work out as well, the owner was expecting me to progress much more quickly with the horse, which I am sure a pro could have done, but which I simply didn't have the riding chops to accomplish.

          So if you go the non-pro, free rider route just be sure that communication between all parties is VERY clear from the beginning to ensure that it is a positive experience for all. And, as food for thought, in my best riding another person's horse situation, she paid for me to have a weekly lesson on the horse with the trainer of her choice. If you can afford it, its a good way to ensure your rider is working/training the horse the way you want.


          • #6
            It depends on how serious I am about the horse. Is this a horse I just want to putz around and show some for fun. Is this a resell project. Or am I aiming for higher levels and in which sport. If you are looking at higher levels at a sport I would send him to a very good trainer, one that I can go see him at least once a week and maybe do lunging lessons or what I ca with I'm to keep a bond between the horse and I. If it for fun and to show locally I'd probably have a friend that can ride, ride him in lessons and bring him along as well as myself lunging and driving him if he needs that work. If it's a resell project depends on what I could make on which direction I'd go.
            Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole