• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Getting an out of shape horse back into shape?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Getting an out of shape horse back into shape?

    Hey All,

    I'm just wondering how you would get a horse back into shape, I know there are many different views on this, and different programs...SO what would you do if this was your situation:

    Horse has had 9 months off, is 100% healthy and sound, in good weight but is completely and utterly unfit. How would you choose to go about fitting this horse up? What would your program entail?


  • #2
    In November I was loaned a horse by a friend. She'd not been used in a while and was out of shape. It being cold and wintery, we are staying indoors. She's in her teens, so I keep that in mind.

    I started with a lot of walking. Getting a good swinging walk, then doing circles and patterns and slow and fast walk transitions. About 20 minutes the first few days. That broke a sweat on her, and I didn't want her to sweat much in the cold.

    Towards the end of the first week I added brief trots - a couple laps around each way, stretching down. Then the second week I shortened the walking part to 15 minutes, did some trot work for five, walked some more, then a little more trot, then cool out. By now some of the trot was circles and changes of direction.

    The third week I added some short canters, but took three to four walking breaks in every 1/2 hour workout and made sure she walked out well at the end so as not to be sore.

    By then she was already showing some muscle and not sweating so easily. By week four I was doing pretty much what I still do now: a good 10 minutes walking warmup, then combinations of trot work with some canter, with several short breaks. But I am asking more of her in terms of frame, precision, more complex patterns, more transitions, backing up, turns on the forehand, that sort of thing. And always with a good cool off at the end.

    So far that's been very comfortable for her and she enjoys the work.

    I'm sure there are many ways to do it, and it would depend on what your goals are, too? I'm just diddling around schooling a horse for my own pleasure, not aiming for show season or anything.


    • #3
      I like to start off with long, low intensity workouts. My program is very similar to what TFP suggested. Keep in mind the horses age. If they are over 15 and have had more than 6 months off, I like to double the time.

      I start off with 2-3 weeks of walk trot. Lots of walk at first. bending, stretching, circles, patterns, etc. I usually walk only for the first 5-10 days, depending on age of the horse and how long they've been inactive. Then I add trot. I keep it a nice slow, stretched out trot. I start with 10 minutes and every 3-5 days, add another 5 minutes to that. So then I walk for 5, trot for the 10 minutes plus??? and then walk for another 5-10 minutes. Longer if they need more time to cool out. By the time you are trotting for a full 30 minutes, I add in the canter.

      When I add in the canter, I will walk for 5 minutes, trot for 15-20, and start the canter off at 5 minutes. Every week I add a little more until they trot and canter for 15-20 minutes in each work out. In my experience, by that point in time, they are very fit again and ready for training.

      I was initially using a watch, but was bored to tears trotting around for 30 minutes. So then I put together a mix of songs on my Ipod that would time it all out for me, and that made it a lot more fun
      Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


      • #4
        Pretty much what others have said, but more work out of the school than in it. Long slow hill work is best, mixed with some trot on level ground and working up from there.


        • #5
          We are currently bringing a horse back to work after being retired for 18 months. With consideration of some old soft tissue injuries, we are doing it pretty slowly and a lot like we would do with a new soft tissue injury. This is basically how we've done it. If the weather would cooperate a bit more, we'd probably be a little farther along!
          3 weeks of walking in hand then onto long lining at the walk. He was walked both in the ring and out in the fields on the hills.
          About 3 weeks of riding him at the walk, about 30 minutes, 4-5 days a week. In the ring and in the fields (FYI, if this were a NEW soft tissue, he would have stayed on the flat of the ring).
          Now we are at the point of adding in easy trot work. We add about 5 minutes every week. He's currently at 15 minutes and the next move will be a couple of minutes of canter, which we'll add in a few minutes at a time every week. If all goes well, the weather cooperates, and he's happy, he should be doing full flatwork by the end of this month/early March, when we'll start jumping.

          This has been on going since Nov/Dec, but we've been taking our very slow time about it and have had to sit out a few days here and there because of bad weather (no indoor). If we'd have had an indoor or good weather, this would have probably taken exactly 3 months.

          I also brought my old horse back to work after he took a 9 month mental vacation. I did it quite differently, though, as he was quite fit when he went on vacation and kept himself very fit in turnout. I basically hacked him out on the BIG hills we had available for 6 weeks. I was very scientific about it, but just allowed him to tell me how much he needed. We started out with about 20 minutes of walking, but if he wanted to trot, we'd do a little. By the end of the 6 weeks, we would be out for an hour or more and doing lots of trot and canter. He spent two days in the ring...one for a real dressage school and one for a jump school, then I took to a training level event, where he ripped my arms out all the way around, and crossed the finish flags looking for more.

          Some combination of those two systems would probably be more than adequate.


          • #6
            Was the horse in a field for 9 months, or mostly stalled? Small flat field or big hilly field? That makes a big difference in how you get started.

            I've brought my horse back several times from multi-month layoffs, one being 13 months. But, he was back to 24x7 turnout on 8-ish not-flat acres for at least 3 months prior to starting work.

            1-2 weeks brisk hand walking. There's a big enough change from putzing around the pasture, to briskly walking, that it's worth it. Then 1 week of 20 minutes of u/s walking - briskly. Little to no contact, just stretch and go.

            Start contact after that and another week of active walking with "work" - bending, baby lateral work, just testing all the basic parts. Then add 5-10 minutes of trot work, and add a few minutes every 2-3 days. Work up to 30-40 minutes of w/t work, mostly trotting.

            Then add canter work the same way until you're at a 45-60 minute good w/t/c ride.
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            • #7
              I agree

              JB is right. Turnout is going to make a huge difference. Until it got icy my teenage was in great shape w/o riding because he plays (i.e. races around) with the young hony and other geldings in their approx 12 acre pasture (with hills).

              Hill walking, mentioned above, is a GREAT workout--unfortunately we are so icy and the snow has an ice crust on it now. I hate winter. We have an indoor, but even with great lighting, it is the temp that's killing me--in the single digits by the time I get off of work and I just can't bring myself to ride at night right now. I hate, hate, hate winter.

              Was it injury that led to the time off--that would make a difference too.
              DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/