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From pasture potato to Leisure Field... How long would you condition?

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  • From pasture potato to Leisure Field... How long would you condition?

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    How long does it take you to get your out of shape pasture potato ready to hit the hills, or hilltoppers group to be more specific? Hypothetically, do you think 8 weeks of working 4/5 days a week conditioning is enough time to get a 9 year old mare Irish Draught mare ready to go ????

  • #2
    I would think so.

    It would be easier if the horse had been fit at one time prior to becoming a pasture potato.

    I took my retired 27 year old from pasture puff to hilltopping fit in 6 weeks. Prior to being retired for 4 years he had been in solid 5 day a week work for close to 20 years.


    • Original Poster

      Actually, she was in regular work through most of her pregnancy.

      Hmm. We shall see. I'm keeping a gps track of distance, duration and average speed too!


      • #4
        The definition of "pasture puff" could have some bearing on the answer to your question. An unused horse who is in individual turnout in a smallish paddock for half a day and stalled the other half of the day might take a bit longer than the horse in group turnout on a larger acreage 24/7.
        "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


        • Original Poster

          She was out 24/7 in a small mare group of mares in a large field. Jawa - I forgot to say... 27 and still going? Now that's inspirational!


          • #6
            He'll be 28 in March.

            He takes a while to warm up, but once he's warm...WOW! He still has all of his Saddlebred suspension.

            I'm careful about the footing when I ride. He's a bit ouchy when the footing is DEEP or when the mud causes him to feel like he's on a slip n slide.

            He still tries to drag me to the jumps, I keep telling him only the logs under 2 feet. I had him out WTC around the big field the other day and he tried to add in a gallop. Silly boy.


            • Original Poster

              Jawa - You're a lucky woman!

              Turning 28 and still spry. How lucky for you to have such a wonderful partner. I take the same care of my 18 year old saint (careful re: footing, warm up, etc), and I can only pray that in 10 years time, he's still taking care of me the way your old boy is of you!


              • #8
                How long has this mare been a Puff?? If its only been the winter off, then your timeline is fine, if she's had a few years off, it might be tight. Is she overweight too? If she's in good condition, then you shouldn't be too bad.

                My thinking is that you can take a horse out before its fit, but plan ahead, know the layout of the area your in, have a friend (and a cell phone), and prepare to pull out early. If you know the roads you should be able to get out and hack home on the road, thus not disturbing any scent or prey, after an hour or two. If you plan ahead and pull out while your horse still has steam to hack to the trailer, you'll be fine. Lots of people I hunt with don't ride all winter then show up at the first meet in spring, they just pull out after an hour and hack in.


                • #9
                  Pleasantmeadow are you coming to Va?

                  Might said pasture puff be headed to visit my farm with you as chaperone? I'll take any excuse to see you again.. I think we used up all your your bad karma on the last trip. Should be free sailing now..
                  Intermediate Riding Skills


                  • Original Poster

                    Whicker..... My muse, my light, my love! (gosh that was mushy)

                    I haven't allowed myself to put together a complete thought on the subject. Many, many, many flickers of desire, but a full sentence has yet to materialize.... Perhaps, until now.

                    I've avoided posting for quite some time, not to say I haven't peeked on the Spring COTH thread to see how magnificently the March trips are lining up. Like a moth to a flame, it's hard for me to stay away..... So I keep pining away, horse after horse, truck after truck, trying to make things right so I can come join the party and don my tiara again (of course I'm hoping it's been safe in your care). After my last misadventure, with you as my savior, it was hard to recover from... That blasted truck is a thing of the past and it's replacement is a brand spanking new shiny Chevy. I've given up on diesel F350's - Never again.

                    So there, I'm not sure if I've answered the question, but I'd love for my muse to weigh in on the topic.....

                    Would you, take an out of work since May, not overweight, willing and currently in the two weeks she's been back under saddle doing trot/canter work for 30 minutes with a 10 minute walk warm up and cool down covering up to 3.25 miles (yesterday) down to VA late in March??????? Can I make the pipe dream a reality, and as Corky suggests have SOMEONE willing to hack back to the trailers if said mare says she's done?

                    Honestly, I think this season with the "Dressage Mare Gone Wild" out a handful of times after her numerous incidents and accidents & my daughter's Ole' Faithful carting my butt around the few times our hunt has been able to go out due to slick footing, I think I've probably stayed out an entire hunt maybe three times. I love these guys too much not to pull out early if they aren't more than fit enough to do the job. In no way, shape or form would I dare put a horse of mine in jeopardy!

                    Thanks for the input guys. Whicker, what say you?


                    • #11
                      Tuning Time

                      You know that I'll come in early with you. We both tune to our horses, as always. I would love to have the time with you, no matter where and how long each riding adventure. Let's discuss the details.

                      My divine Dressage Diva had a major osteopathy procedure yesterday. She had good reason to have had a major "headache". She won't be back in work for 30 days, while she recovers. I'll find out today whether my courageous alpha mare has a similar prognosis. Say some prayers and jingles for us.

                      At least, I can get myself fitter legging up Sir Mason's huge unhunted Tb, Taliesin. There's a lot of horse to balance, and I'm pushing my physical boundaries. One more judicious goal to strive toward.
                      Intermediate Riding Skills


                      • #12
                        weighing in here....

                        Get it...weighing in?!!
                        Anyway...Why can't you just take her hunting, non jumping for an hour or so? Depending on the meet site/terrain/speed etc. - you can always come in early!! Arrange in advance with your fieldmaster and a buddy if needed. I think hunting an outa shape horse is still exercising but must just be done more judiciously. Of course it's a whole lot more trouble to actually DO than a trailride but my unclipped girls take an hour to clean up no matter what I'm gonna do with them so....heck..might as well hunt 'em! Mind you I'm thinking of hunting that's close to you, rig ready already etc. AND I will have to hunt like this for awhile anyway so just join us! We is what we is!
                        Sometimes I think we "overthink" things like this. Just do it baby!!
                        I'd rather show an unfit greenie the hunt field over a fit one! Yup!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by whicker View Post
                          At least, I can get myself fitter legging up Sir Mason's huge unhunted Tb, Taliesin. There's a lot of horse to balance, and I'm pushing my physical boundaries. One more judicious goal to strive toward.
                          Yes, you CAN do it! Maybe if I ride him 2 x/week, and you ride him the other days, he just may become a hunter, after all!

                          Glad to hear the Dressage Diva is feeling good today...
                          “Always saddle your own horse. Always know what you’re doing. And go in the direction you are heading.” Connie Reeves
                          Jump Start Solutions LLC


                          • #14
                            The Chaise Longue Report

                            Courageous little Wren needed help, too. She had a different variation, so she is only on the chaise longue for 12 days.
                            I hope she feels up to adventure by the latter coth hunt.

                            With Barnworkbeatshousework's enthusiastic encouragement, Taliesin should be moving forward in fitness. He and Wren are the alphas of their respective herds and discuss their responsibilities over the fence. I bet they get their charges doing Spring exercise laps around the pastures.
                            Intermediate Riding Skills