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How many times should I ride my horse during the week?

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    How many times should I ride my horse during the week?

    Do you think it is okay to flat Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sun. (40mins) and jump tues, thurs, and sat (gymnastics and some course work but not very big)? Or is it too much? Then add a rest day on a jumping day. I have a 6 y/o jumper who I'll start showing this summer.

    Originally posted by jumperguy45 View Post
    Do you think it is okay to flat Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sun. (40mins) and jump tues, thurs, and sat (gymnastics and some course work but not very big)? Or is it too much? Then add a rest day on a jumping day. I have a 6 y/o jumper who I'll start showing this summer.
    I think it really depends on the horse. I dont think all horses need 6-7 days a week of riding, but if they do not receive any turnout, exercise is important for them.

    I am more of a minimalist, my hunter is ridden on average 2 days during the week, and shows on weekends. In the winter when he doesnt show, he is ridden anywhere from 3-5 days a week, however he does go outside every day so is never locked in a stall for 24 hours. He knows his job however, and doesnt need "schooling" on a regular basis.

    The young horse (just turning 3) gets 10 minutes about 3 times a week.


      Originally posted by jumperguy45 View Post
      Do you think it is okay to flat Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sun. (40mins) and jump tues, thurs, and sat (gymnastics and some course work but not very big)? Or is it too much? Then add a rest day on a jumping day. I have a 6 y/o jumper who I'll start showing this summer.
      I think that's too much. I would give the horse at least one day off a week (or two) and one day of lighter work (trail ride or light hack). I would never jump a horse more than once or twice a week.


        This is my schedule, just as a comparison. Jumping lesson Monday, light hack Tuesday, lesson Wednesday, light hack Thursday, stamina or pole work Friday (lots of trotting lotsssss) mostly anything I need to work on for the flat and to supplement any problems I've had, Saturday day off, Sunday hack and little jumps (like crossrails and little verticals just to pop over for fun) and the. Repeat. In my lessons the jumps are always under 3'3" and we work more on quality work than quantity work. My personal philosophy is that 3 days jumping a week is enough because that's how much he'd do at most shows, and of course this schedule will get cut off for shows a lot.


          Also to add (too lazy to edit my previous post) the jumping amount seems fine, but I feel like you'd be better off having one rest day every week on a hacking day and maybe only jump 2 times a week every other week. Something I like to do with my horses is give them two days instead of one day off every other week. Our show schedule leaves us showing all June except the first week of June, so after those three weeks straight I'll give the horses half a week off and do mostly just light work and jump 2 days a week and hack two until we show again in early August.


            I squally ride/school horses 3-5 days per week, jumping 1 or 2 times a week. Usually one. At shows, we jump almost every day but only jump the course maybe twice on schooling days.


              I think every horse deserves at least one day off a week. I always flat the day before I jump and my horses (except the show horse prima donna) really enjoy hacking out.

              Typically, I will give them Sunday and/or Monday off, light hack (trail ride with some trotting) Tuesday, lesson Wednesday, hack Thursday, lesson Friday, hack Saturday. I try not to jump my horses consecutive two days unless showing and never jump more than 3x weekly, usually 2x.

              I find my horses really appreciate having a day or two off a week. They get turned out all day and can just be horses.


                At 6, I'd probably be jumping him less and giving him at least one day a week off, and if you're going to work him 6 days/week, make one of those a light hack/trail or put him through the jumping chute.

                Don't overwork him now, and he'll be sound for years to come.


                  That seems like a little much. I'm all for getting horses out 6 days a week, I believe keeping them fit helps keep them sound, especially once they start jumping at the upper levels (they have the musculature to support their bone/tendon structures around tight turns, off of big jumps, etc.). However, the barn I ride with (jumpers only, clients from .70s to 1.30s) we typically flat (as in, actual dressage) 4-5 days a week, jump 1 day a week (sometimes 1 day every other week) and only jump the horses up on occasion (a week or two out from a big show). So most of the time, the "big" horses cruise around .90-1.0m jumps at home. I think in four years I have seen my trainer jump a "big" horse up 3 times, and it has been a different horse each time.

                  If the riders need more practice, that is what ground poles are for. Yes, sometimes the grand prix horses do ground poles. They're awesome, they make you ride like you are riding a jump without actually exerting the forces of jumping on your horse.

                  I like to throw a hack day in there where I hack my mare outside the arena, but this is because she can get a little ring sour otherwise. Plenty of the other horses can get by with an easy day every week- 20-30 min, w/t/c and reverse without really anything required of them.

                  That said, we are somewhat of an anomaly. I talked to my trainer about this, and he said that where he is from (outside the US) horses are jumped fairly minimally. Trainers try to keep wear-and-tear to a minimum. He has always been wary of the American "jump them all the time/into the ground" system of training, and has structured his program accordingly. Thus we have 16 and 17 yo horses still doing 3'+, no biggie (they don't need to be amped up on bute/previcox, they just need their regular joint supplements).

                  Just something to think about.


                    With my older gelding I ride 6 times a week, 4 times a week I'm just flatting myself or some little tiny jump work for about 45 minutes to an hour. I lesson twice a week usually one lesson is lots of flat work and some grids or jump exercise. The next jump lesson is usually course work. My horse is 15 and if he isn't ridden the full 6 times a week he gets really unfit. We don't jump over 3 foot occasionally we will have some 1.10 work (about once a month) Just depends on your horse!


                      With my mare we do five days in a row of moderate flat work (25-30 mins.) with two days off in a row (this is different from what we normally did because she's not 100% right now and we're just waiting until we can get her sorted out to bring her back to full work). When she was in full work we did 6 days a week, five days of quality flatwork, usually 45 minutes, and one day of jumping in lessons. We schooled 2'9" in lessons only. If I jumped another time it was usually lower than what we did in lessons and we only did a single or a line a few times. The number of light days she had depended on how good she was--a lot of times we would have a few short and sweet rides during the week because she was being really good. Other weeks she only had one or even no light days; just her six days and then her day off. Like others have said, it depends on your horse. Dottie has great endurance and she can go a lot longer than some horses without getting tired. Just as an example, there's a pony at the barn who can put in a good 30 minute ride with quality work, but after that she's done. It really depends on your horse--that's what you'll have to base your work schedule off of.
                      If i smell like peppermint, I gave my horse treats.
                      If I smell like shampoo, I gave my horse a bath.
                      If I smell like manure, I tripped.


                        Original Poster

                        My trainer and I have reevaluated my horse's program to this:

                        Monday: Day off (but still gets groomed and quality time)

                        Tuesday: 15-20 min light flat (This helped me a lot because you can see what you need to work on during the week).

                        Wednesday: Same as Tuesday...but a little more trot and canter work.

                        Thursday: Hard Flat 35-40min (turns, lateral movements, circles, collecting and lengthening, etc.)

                        Friday: Same as Thursday

                        Saturday: Same as Thur. and Fri. but with a little pole work

                        Sunday: Jump (gymnastics, lines, etc.)

                        - I went out in a field close to out barn and have started to do Tue-Sat out there. He seems to really enjoy being outside and same do I (we have a cover barn/arena...sometimes it feels like being in a cave). Thanks for the help! He has improved a lot since we changed his program!


                          Original Poster

                          I also forgot that sometimes we'll give him Sunday off as well.


                            I try to give my horse GOOD works at least 5 days a week. Would prefer 6 but at least 5. On some occasions he gets a trail ride. Generally jump twice a week, though right now we are doing short jump sessions 3 times a week as we are in a bit of a 'rush' to get him ready for show season after he had some time off (not a soft tissue issue or anything). I don't think you can get good fitness on a horse with less than 5 good works a week, but my horse is my 1.20 (hopefully 1.30 late this year) horse so he really needs good fitness and schooling. More so than your average 0.9-1.0 jumper would need.


                              My horse would be very very upset if she did not get at least two nice long trail rides per week- preferably at the beach!!!


                                I've worked off this schedule since my horse was about 5 (with appropriate jumping/work for age).

                                Monday: flat in ring
                                Tuesday: Jumping lesson
                                Wednesday: light flat (in field if weather permitting)
                                Thursday: flat in ring
                                Friday: flat (sometimes outside ring)
                                Saturday: Light jumping/gymnastics/small derby jumps in field (we are talking 2'9 at the max here).
                                Sunday: off

                                I don't stable all week at shows, just stable sat/sun. If I show I do the one jump school Tuesday and Friday is a light flat. If I do several show weekends back to back, she will usually not have a jump lesson Tuesday (she knows her job, its more for me anyway).


                                  My horse is 9 and is one that we can't over work or else he gets a little ouchy.

                                  Monday: Off
                                  Tuesday: Flat
                                  Wednesday: Either off or mostly flat with some jumping
                                  Thursday: Jump
                                  Friday: Off
                                  Saturday and Sunday: Flat and some jump one day or the other (jumping depends on if my trainer is home or away at a show)

                                  Obviously this changes a bit if it is a show week. Show weeks we try and ramp up the amount of work he is doing so he peaks on the show day(s) and has his head in the game.


                                    I think working out a plan with your trainer is the best thing you can do.

                                    My workout frequency and intensity varies greatly by horse. I have one mare who needs to get ridden 7 days a week. She gets days off here and there (like when I'm traveling for work), but generally I try to keep her going as consistently as possible. This is the mare that I jumped 6(ish) days a week and did 2-a-day rides on when she was showing in the upper level jumpers. She's 17 now, and doesn't jump as often (we're down to once or twice a week), but is still sound and sturdy after 10+ years of a high frequency, high intensity schedule.

                                    My TB, also in the big jumper ring, gets ridden 6(ish) days a week. I try to aim for one long hack out on the trails (often after a light hack in the ring), and every other day is the same routine (15-20 min of long and low trot/canter, 20-30 min of connected/dressage work, 3-4 times a week we add in a handful of jumps). Lower intensity and moderately lower frequency than my mare, but he needs a lot less work to stay "fighting fit."

                                    I try to abide by the "ride the age" rule with my youngsters (no more than 3 days a week or a 3yo, 4 days a week for a 4yo, etc.) until they hit their 6yo year. At that point I evaluate what they need and adjust accordingly. But even there I play around with what the horse needs. With 3 and 4 year olds, I'll often do riding "clusters" where I ride every day for 5 or 6 days until we achieve an objective and then give them a couple of weeks off.

                                    But at the end of the day, I try to be very aware of what the individual horse needs to stay fit and aim to follow that schedule. Your trainer should have the best view of your path (past, present, and future) and should be able to guide you along a conditioning plan to achieve your goals. It's impossible to say over the internet what YOUR horse needs because it could be a lot, a little, or anywhere in between. And there are a lot of other factors that we don't know - level of riding/showing, footing conditions, the shape your horse is currently in (beyond just physical condition to the quality of shoeing, time in/out, etc.), and so on.
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                                      There's nothing wrong with 7 rides a week. One of them can be as simple as a good marching walk for 20-30 minutes. That's BETTER for horses who are stalled at least 12 hours a day. If they are turned out 23x7 in a large pasture and are moving all the time, then 1 day off is quite fine since they're still getting a good amount of movement.

                                      I'm more concerned about 3 days of jumping if they're all a "jump day" as opposed to some light jumping thrown in a flat workout.

                                      40 minutes a ride isn't a lot of work, unless maybe it's 35 minutes of t/c work and only 5 minutes walking, and that's not a good way to ride anyway
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                        Not only jumping too much but not doing enough REAL flatwork. Going around and around the ring w/t/c both ways on a loose rein isn't real flatwork. 30 minutes isn't real flatwork. I'm always appalled at some of the 1st Yr horses at some local A shows who have *zero* topline because they never do real flatwork
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET