Hi all! I'm new to this thread, and somewhat new to driving. I have a 2yo mini mare that I've owned since she was 3 months old and according to the vet the time has come to start conditioning her (or risk her being way overweight lol)
I bought her for the purpose of driving her. She's got a pretty good slope on her shoulder, her back end is powerful and well shaped and she knows how to use it! We have on hand a surcingle, a lunge caveson, an open bridle with a loose ring snaffle, and a lunge line/whip. She also has a full leather driving harness with a mylar comfort snaffle attached to the bridle.
She has been bitted since she was 1 and is accustomed to all her tack. She knows the basics of lunging.
My main question is : Does anyone have a good routine/set of loose guildelines to use while doing the starting conditioning on a younger horse? I don't want to strain her too much. I'd like to keep her circles to a minimum (ie not so much lunging as long lining) just to protect her knees. They are looking great but without xrays I really can't say if they are closed fully or not. She's entirely out of shape and really needs to start working, even if lightly. I was going to follow the 101 Longeing and Long Lining Exercises by Cherry Hill but she's almost too out of shape even for that!
What do you reccomend I start with? (ex: 10 min walk-trot warmup, 10 min trot, 10 min walk-trot cooldown etc) What signs should I look for before bumping up her workload? I don't intend to have her pulling at all this year so I'm happy to take it slow and really build her up!
Thanks in advance!