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Very Short Hacks- Beneficial or a Waste of Time?

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  • #21
    When I was a working student at a BNB, I loved and adopted their horse-training theory: you get on, fix something, get off. Most horses were only ridden 20-30 minutes, 5x a week, and they all seemed very happy with their work and progressed smoothly and quickly. I do the same with my horses now, and find it works much better then riding for an hour. Having them excited to work makes a lot of difference.

    When in doubt about the benefits of a short ride, drop your irons for it! All of a sudden, it doesn't feel that short!

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    • #22
      While I can understand short and sweet, I also believe studies that show a 10 minute walking warm-up and cool-down result in significantly less soft tissue injuries are important. One can not go from cold muscle to work and back without incurring some form of damage. Thus a minimum work-out is 40 minutes to an hour with 20 minutes of warm-up/cool-down.

      So for an every so often activity, yes, short is fine, but for a horse in a true developmental training program over the long-term, this will result in a greater likelihood of lameness issues.

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      • #23
        depends on your goals.
        my belief is any time spent on a horse is time well spent.
        there are times in the winter when I would climb on bareback with the halter and ride around the barn once.
        A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton

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        • #24
          Originally posted by SoCalGal View Post
          I sure hope they're not a waste of time. My coming 4 year old loses interest and gets extremely LAZY after 20 minutes. I'd rather ride 15 or 20 min a day than 30 or more. 45? He'd be yawning!
          I was going to type out my own response, then spotted SoCalGal's. Since she said pretty much exactly what I was going to say, I'll just quote her and add that frequent short rides on my guy get me the best results in terms of attitude and behavior, both on the ground and under saddle.
          "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
          that's even remotely true."

          Homer Simpson

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          • #25
            I'm not sure about anyone else, but when I say I ride 20 minutes, I'm talking from the start of trotting. Under saddle usually is more then 30 minutes if you include walking. So I say 20 minutes WORK time. But even if I only have 20 minutes, I would still incorporate walk, trot, maybe a LITTLE canter, then more walking.
            “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
            ¯ Oscar Wilde

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            • #26
              Just yesterday, I only had time for a very short ride, barely worth tacking up. The footing outside was squashy, indoor was busy. So I ended up only walking around outside for 15 min and then getting off. It was great! And cute to see how surprised my horse was that we didn't even trot. So happy and relaxing for both of us.
              Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)

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              • #27
                As others have said, it depends on the horse/circumstances. For my horse, 10-20 minutes is sufficient to get him out and make him think a bit, and I don't usually ride him for more than a half hour-45 minutes anyway.

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                • #28
                  I subscribe to the 10-20-10 theory. Ten minutes of walking, 20 minutes of working, 10 minutes of cool down walking. The warm up walk is a few laps on a loose rein, then working walk and lateral stuff. I like to check all the buttons beforehand.
                  A helmet saved my life.

                  2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!

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                  • #29
                    I think it depends on the horse. On e gelding, 30 minutes would be a LONG ride for him. He's perfectly polite and happy with a 15-20 minutes ride a few days a week. My other gelding, I don't even start getting anything productive done in the first 20 minutes. He has to get a warm up walk, lateral work at the walk, then forward-back and basic lateral work at the trot for 20 minutes until he's convinced that, Yes, going onto the bit, giving through your neck/back/shoulders and pushing from behind aren't optional. I ride him a minimum of 45 minutes and often much longer than that.
                    .

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                    • Original Poster

                      #30
                      Originally posted by Jumper_girl221 View Post
                      I keep my phone on me and have an alarm that goes off when I have 45 minutes left before I have to leave.
                      That is a great idea! That way I wouldn't be stressing about the time too! Plus, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who doesn't ride for 45-1hr each ride. Makes me feel like I'm not being lazy. Haha.

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                      • #31
                        For a horse that is not turned out full time, any chance to stretch their legs and get a change of scenery is beneficial.

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                        • #32
                          Someone I know uses short walking rides to un-frazzle hot or headcase horses. The entire first week or two depending, they just do short, walking-only rides (horses get about 10 hours turnout daily) and lots of praise and pampering. The horse learns to not be stressed about getting saddled up and working. Then, slowly and gradually, normal schooling is introduced. Works really well on a lot of horses.

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                          • #33
                            I am a fan of the short rides----I ride many babies, and obviously with the young ones, sometimes you only have their attention for so long. I find if I can accomplish something positive, with a gentle approach in a short time, the best thing to do is be finished. They have long memories and at a young age they MUST love their outings to the ring!

                            With my older, made horse.......he knows the tricks. We ride in the field, or I ride him bareback, or maybe we do a little "work"....but he is ridden regularly and doesn't have a hugely demanding show schedule, so regular shorter rides work for us.
                            Katie Gardner ~ Otteridge Farm
                            Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Otteri...12757628746926

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                            • #34
                              For my horse- who is out 24/7 - riding is mostly a mental exercise. If I am riding less than once a week, he can be a bit of constantly-testing, toddler-acting pr*ck. So even if all I have time for is a 10 min hack around the field and back at a walk, thats what we do.

                              So, short hacks (for him) = good for the brain
                              Barn rat for life

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                              • #35
                                I find short rides - even short walking only rides - are sometimes what there is time for and I think it is better to do them than not to.

                                One thing I have started doing, though, which I think is important, is that I wear a digital watch and time my rides. Maybe it's only 15 minutes but I'm not lying to myself and thinking it's been 45. It also lets me use as much available time as there is. This has helped me considerably.

                                It's not enough to keep them fit. It is enough to keep them from turning feral. The fitness is an important thing and I am working on making sure that I get more 45 minute to 1 hour rides in (including walk time) so that we can be fit enough to go and do stuff.

                                When time is tight, I can do something as simple as - walk 10 minutes - practice some walk canter transitions for 5 minutes - walk 5 minutes - and find that training advances even if fitness does not.
                                If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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                                • #36
                                  Yes, if you don't have much time getting them out for a short ride is usually better than not. Or, if you have a baby who isn't fit enough or mature enough for more serious work. Or, you have an old campaigner who just needs to move. Or, if a high level of fitness isn't something that is all that important for what you do with your horse- and so on- there are lots of reasons that short rides are good.

                                  My horses are jumpers and need to be a lot more fit than a 20-30 minute ride would allow. Right now one is coming back from about three weeks of stall rest and this first week I've been doing only about 40 minutes of work, which is all walk and trot, and only a few laps of canter. But we'll get back up to 50-60 minutes of more intense work soon (not counting warm-up walk), because otherwise he won't be fit enough to compete. If I did the lower-level hunters, or even just wanted to play around in the lower-level jumpers, it wouldn't matter as much. But I have serious goals and it seems to me that it isn't fair to my horses to not prepare them for the work I want them to do.
                                  You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil

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                                  • #37
                                    I'm sure to be flamed for this.

                                    I know what it's like to have a brief period of time to get them out, and
                                    just a little bit is still good for them.

                                    That said, if you have 15-20 minutes to ride, walking (hand walk or under saddle) is best for them, rather than going into trot and canter in such a short period of time. It takes about 20 minutes for the body to switch into exercise mode, which includes circulation, breathing, oxygen to muscles, warming up joints, tendons, etc. As the saying goes, they're not motorbikes.

                                    The next time you have more time to ride, walk for 20 minutes first, and you'll feel the difference from when you first got on. The stride is longer and more loose, and the body is literally warmed up. And that's better for maintaining soundness. Once you feel that, you'll never go back to a 15 min. ride with w/t/c.

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                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by Mardi View Post
                                      I'm sure to be flamed for this.

                                      I know what it's like to have a brief period of time to get them out, and
                                      just a little bit is still good for them.

                                      That said, if you have 15-20 minutes to ride, walking (hand walk or under saddle) is best for them, rather than going into trot and canter in such a short period of time. It takes about 20 minutes for the body to switch into exercise mode, which includes circulation, breathing, oxygen to muscles, warming up joints, tendons, etc. As the saying goes, they're not motorbikes.

                                      The next time you have more time to ride, walk for 20 minutes first, and you'll feel the difference from when you first got on. The stride is longer and more loose, and the body is literally warmed up. And that's better for maintaining soundness. Once you feel that, you'll never go back to a 15 min. ride with w/t/c.
                                      Not flaming, but what about all those folks who lunge? I never see anyone walk their horse for 20 minutes on the lunge before moving up in gait. Anyone have any thoughts on that?
                                      “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                                      ¯ Oscar Wilde

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                                      • #39
                                        I often ride only 30 minutes.... as others have said, it takes my mare about 15minutes to start working actively but less is more with her.
                                        She is young and smart as a whip, show her once... maybe twice and she's got the idea. I quit shortly after since she doesn't need the endurance training just yet.

                                        One thing I do like though, if you don't have a lot of time. Play a couple games... nothing serious, just different, it really helps my mare stay interested. I like those huge exercise balls you can buy, let them kick it around, walk over tarps what ever.
                                        http://dotstreamming.blogspot.com/

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                                        • #40
                                          I myself prefer 20 - 30 max rides on my gelding, we walk maybe two times around the ring then start into an easy trot as our warm up.

                                          I also find if you keep schooling the same thing, over and over it dosnt get better it gets worse, get right once and finish. End on a happy note

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