08-14-2012, 05:45 PM
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Depends on the horse, and what level of training they are at.
Horses that are learning the pattern get exposed to the pattern AFTER they know their basic fundamentals (lead changes, soft in the bridle, control and calm at all gaits, leg yields, sidepassing, etc etc). I like to do pattern work about 3 to 5 times a week on a horse that is learning. In the beginning, we keep things calm, collected, and in control. And we don't always work the pattern "in order". Sometimes you can just work on turns randomly around the barrels, or make 3 right turns, or counter arc past a barrel, etc. Teaching your horse to listen to you and to know how to handle their body.
When we speed it up, you still always keep that control (being able to move any part of their body at any time, no matter how fast or slow you are going). I may do the pattern less as we increase the speed, if they are doing well and know it.
On a finished horse, I usually only work on the pattern if we are having an issue. And I make one or two RUNS during the week, especially if we don't go anywhere that weekend.
But mostly I focus on trail riding for conditioning. I like to go at least 4 miles per ride, or 6 if I have the time that day. And I'm out there at a bare minimum of 3 days a week but usually 5 or 6 times a week. Gotta balance work, family, and community involvement.