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Getting the S-L-O-W Warmblood fitter?

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  • Getting the S-L-O-W Warmblood fitter?

    I have a WB gelding (dressage bred), who is the most laid-back guy in the world -- which is semi-good as I do the hunters and not jumpers or dressage. He also hunted this past season, but in the sense that when the rest of the first field was flying across an open pasture, we were quickly passed as we loped our way along. We caught up when we caught up. And he was fine with that.

    However, that is NOT my usual manner of hunting, and I would REALLY like him to be able to keep the energy level up when jumping courses, which he will especially have to do as the jumps start getting higher than 3'. He has a huge stride, and lopes the lines (I am usually half-halting to try to fit in the distance at shows), but we don't have enough "engine", IMO.

    He already does trot sets on hills -- my normal (and previously 100% successful) routine for getting horses fit enough for hunting. However, that isn't cutting it in this instance (and yes, he has been throughly checked out health wise by one of the country's top vets -- he is FINE -- just QUIET ). He normally gets turned out for ~12 hours per day, in a herd, in a pasture with several big hills.

    Has anyone incorporated galloping sets to build up fitness? Should I add in swimming him? Other thoughts?

    Most of my horses have been TBs, WB/TBs, QH/TBs, or if full WBs Trakehners, so I am used to a bit more "blood."
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

  • #2
    I have a warmblood mare who is the epitome of "dead." She lives in a big field with other horses and you should see the evil looks she gives when they all start running around She refuses to expend one ounce more energy than she absolutely has to in order to survive. This includes her jumping style where she clears each fence by little more than an inch or two (which is a great time saver in jump-offs, lol!).

    Unlike your guy, she does need a little more get up and go down the lines (jumpers, not hunters) and she has a short-ish step to boot. So her fitness (and maximizing her step) was my primary focus for the 4 or 5 years that we competed in the 1.30 and 1.40m jumpers.

    Bear in mind that I'm not a fitness expert by any means, and I don't have the understanding in building fitness that I think most eventing people have. But with my mare I did a lot of conditioning in long work sets with the goal to work on her stamina. Our warm up EVERY SINGLE DAY was (and still is)....5-10 minutes of trot one way (we lengthen down the rail and shorten in the corners because I want the change of speed within the gait, and then add in 4-8 circles in the corners of the ring), 5-10 minutes of trot the other way, 7 minutes of canter one way (gallop down the rail, shorten in the corners), 7 minutes of canter the other way. I do all of this with no walking. We then walk for 5-10 minutes and then go on to do any collection/dressage/jumping work that we're working on for another 20-30 minutes (with a lot more walking interspersed). And if I'm limited on time we just do the warmup. I've found that that warmup, regardless of anything and everything else we did was the only thing that kept her "moving" through entire courses without starting to drag towards the end of the class and, more importantly for me, towards the end of a show. Her biggest need was to build and maintain stamina, and that did it for her.

    I also added in double rides for the season that I had her in the 1.40m jumpers (which was really beyond her scope range, so I needed to have her in the best shape of her life). I'd do the 30ish minute warm up ride in the morning, and then do the warm up plus jumping in the afternoon. She was definitely at her absolute peak fitness that summer and had a lot more "oomph" under saddle.

    But take all of that with a grain of salt. My mare is kind of a quirky horse, and there are a lot of things that work with her that haven't ever worked with other horses I've owned. I just happen to have a pretty good understanding of what SHE needs because she basically needs the same thing to build muscle as I do
    __________________________________
    Flying F Sport Horses
    Horses in the NW

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    • #3
      This really isn't meant to be snarky but well, you bought a warmblood. You can't make a bulldog into a whippet with a diet so you can't make a warmblood into a TB with excercise.
      Either enjoy the slow ride or find a cheap TB to rock on with.

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't know if this is helpful to you at all or not, but a friend of mine was paid to fit up hunt horses for a member of one of the big hunts in the US. She had a few lovely Irish horses who were totally ho-hum, and ended up galloping them to get them fit, as she couldn't get their vacation weight off them otherwise. The nice thing was that they were quiet enough the galloping didn't make them too hot for their riders in the hunt field, but did get them fit enough to actually keep up.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by BridalBridle View Post
          This really isn't meant to be snarky but well, you bought a warmblood. You can't make a bulldog into a whippet with a diet so you can't make a warmblood into a TB with excercise.
          Either enjoy the slow ride or find a cheap TB to rock on with.

          I have an Oldenburg mare that has TB about 6 generations back. Not all warmbloods are, nor have to be, slow and bulldoggy. Mine sure as heck isn't.

          Comment


          • #6
            Is his fitness a problem, really, or is he just behind your leg? Nothing in the OP said "this horse isn't fit enough" but rather said "this horse is lazy and knows no one is making him move." That doesn't mean he's not fit enough, but I'm guessing you are going to have to up YOUR energy level to get him to up his.
            Originally posted by Silverbridge
            If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by BridalBridle View Post
              This really isn't meant to be snarky but well, you bought a warmblood. You can't make a bulldog into a whippet with a diet so you can't make a warmblood into a TB with excercise.
              Either enjoy the slow ride or find a cheap TB to rock on with.
              I'm not trying to make him into a TB, trust me! (and I have plenty of them) I LOVE having a horse that I don't have to worry about lunging, riding down, etc. However, I do think his fitness can be improved, as it is not that he CAN'T move on, it is just that he is naturally LAZY and would prefer NOT to make an effort.

              PNWJumper, I think your program is just what I need to do with him.

              Small Change, yep, I thought galloping might be a necessary addition to the program. Hmm, I can go over to the Training Track and gallop him there -- I can't wait to hear the laughs from the exercise riders!
              Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

              Comment


              • #8
                I used to take my slow WB for some gallops occasionally, he really loved it and embraced it finally out in the fields. Still slow as molasses in the ring though...

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by netg View Post
                  Is his fitness a problem, really, or is he just behind your leg? Nothing in the OP said "this horse isn't fit enough" but rather said "this horse is lazy and knows no one is making him move." That doesn't mean he's not fit enough, but I'm guessing you are going to have to up YOUR energy level to get him to up his.
                  It takes about 3-5 minutes of trot/cantering to get him in front of my leg. After that, he is fine for the rest of the ride, but the fuel in the tank will run out, per se.

                  I have had several people on him (both hunter and event professionals who are VERY fit and have strong legs), and they all said he is really quiet, naturally lazy, but 100% willing to work, and he needs more fitness.
                  Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SidesaddleRider View Post
                    Has anyone incorporated galloping sets to build up fitness?
                    When I was working over at Bolinvar with GP, we did gallop sets around the huge front field on the Patton Barn side 2x/week with our guys. Most were draft crosses/very quiet and this seemed to help a lot. We hunted frequently with Piedmont, and they had no problems keeping up

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by sar2008 View Post
                      When I was working over at Bolinvar with GP, we did gallop sets around the huge front field on the Patton Barn side 2x/week with our guys. Most were draft crosses/very quiet and this seemed to help a lot. We hunted frequently with Piedmont, and they had no problems keeping up
                      Well, that is a good enough recommendation for me. If GP's "heavy hunters" can keep up with PFH, then it must work!
                      Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have a very lazy QH (although he does have go, but only when he wants to) and having him fit really does help. The lazy ones use any excuse to not work.

                        It does sound like he enjoys being behind your leg, ones that have a huge stride and are lazy can be hard, because for awhile they can get away with being behind your leg and still get down the lines fine.

                        I agree a good gallop can really help, my horse loved it, and he was much more willing to go forward outside of the ring so it was much easier to get him in front of my leg and in really good shape. I spent a lot of time outside of the ring with him (he really dislikes the ring) and once he regularly was in front of my leg and in shape it did make ring work way easier.

                        I also think if you get him fitter and in front of your leg better it will be easier to collect him down the lines too.
                        http://community.webshots.com/user/jenn52318

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PNWjumper View Post
                          I have a warmblood mare who is the epitome of "dead." She lives in a big field with other horses and you should see the evil looks she gives when they all start running around She refuses to expend one ounce more energy than she absolutely has to in order to survive. This includes her jumping style where she clears each fence by little more than an inch or two (which is a great time saver in jump-offs, lol!).

                          Unlike your guy, she does need a little more get up and go down the lines (jumpers, not hunters) and she has a short-ish step to boot. So her fitness (and maximizing her step) was my primary focus for the 4 or 5 years that we competed in the 1.30 and 1.40m jumpers.

                          Bear in mind that I'm not a fitness expert by any means, and I don't have the understanding in building fitness that I think most eventing people have. But with my mare I did a lot of conditioning in long work sets with the goal to work on her stamina. Our warm up EVERY SINGLE DAY was (and still is)....5-10 minutes of trot one way (we lengthen down the rail and shorten in the corners because I want the change of speed within the gait, and then add in 4-8 circles in the corners of the ring), 5-10 minutes of trot the other way, 7 minutes of canter one way (gallop down the rail, shorten in the corners), 7 minutes of canter the other way. I do all of this with no walking. We then walk for 5-10 minutes and then go on to do any collection/dressage/jumping work that we're working on for another 20-30 minutes (with a lot more walking interspersed). And if I'm limited on time we just do the warmup. I've found that that warmup, regardless of anything and everything else we did was the only thing that kept her "moving" through entire courses without starting to drag towards the end of the class and, more importantly for me, towards the end of a show. Her biggest need was to build and maintain stamina, and that did it for her.

                          I also added in double rides for the season that I had her in the 1.40m jumpers (which was really beyond her scope range, so I needed to have her in the best shape of her life). I'd do the 30ish minute warm up ride in the morning, and then do the warm up plus jumping in the afternoon. She was definitely at her absolute peak fitness that summer and had a lot more "oomph" under saddle.

                          But take all of that with a grain of salt. My mare is kind of a quirky horse, and there are a lot of things that work with her that haven't ever worked with other horses I've owned. I just happen to have a pretty good understanding of what SHE needs because she basically needs the same thing to build muscle as I do

                          This.
                          Dear life, please send grapes. Sincerely, I prefer wine over lemonade.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            sidesaddlerider, I am chuckling just wondering HOW you are going to get a gallop out of him Let me know when you're doing it, I need to see this!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BridalBridle View Post
                              This really isn't meant to be snarky but well, you bought a warmblood. You can't make a bulldog into a whippet with a diet so you can't make a warmblood into a TB with excercise.
                              Either enjoy the slow ride or find a cheap TB to rock on with.
                              well crap, here's hoping she doesn't end up with MY Tb (cheap too!). I've struggled with the same issues. He's got a big swingy trot, but umm, like his dad (who won the Woodward twice), he believes the rider/jockey should also work hard (watching Lido Palace eek out that win, I'm not sure the jockey didn't need to be cooled down more than the horse ). This has presented an issue getting him strong through the stifles. That's always the hurdle for the youngsters, but with him, I could trot around the ring for hours and not really make a dent in the problem.

                              Fortunately I have the foothills of the Appalachians to do some trail riding, and it's amazing what an 8-12 mile ride, mostly at a walk up and down multiple steep grades can do for fitness (and typically not more than 300 feet changes in elevation, however that can be gradual or abrupt) than hills). If it's available, I highly recommend it.
                              Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SidesaddleRider View Post
                                Well, that is a good enough recommendation for me. If GP's "heavy hunters" can keep up with PFH, then it must work!
                                Seriously We had some big ones too!!!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I was reading your description and I think it completely describes the next horse I want.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Mayaty02 View Post
                                    sidesaddlerider, I am chuckling just wondering HOW you are going to get a gallop out of him Let me know when you're doing it, I need to see this!
                                    Well, see, my plan is that I'll do one direction, get off to rest, make YOU get on and do the other direction, switch again, and repeat. After a month of this, we will both have lost 20 lbs, and hopefully he'll be fitter! LOL
                                    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by SidesaddleRider View Post
                                      Well, see, my plan is that I'll do one direction, get off to rest, make YOU get on and do the other direction, switch again, and repeat. After a month of this, we will both have lost 20 lbs, and hopefully he'll be fitter! LOL
                                      I like this plan!!!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        If he's making the distance, jumping well and gets around the course, I'm not seeing what the problem is. Most people pay big bucks for a horse just like this.

                                        Maybe he's not cut out to be a field hunter. I don't think most WBs are bred for this purpose.

                                        He sounds like the perfect show hunter to me! I'd be kissing myself in the mirror each morning for having the smarts to buy him!
                                        Surgeon General warns: "drinking every time Trump lies during the debate could result in acute alcohol poisoning."

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