08-13-2009, 02:35 PM
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Hacking is the best exercise - mentally and physically for a horse. There is lots you can do while out on a 2 - 4 hour hack. You can also work on your stamina. Eventing is about both horse and rider being fully conditioned.
Your horse has to beable to canter a course fully prepared, and so do you. It takes allot of work remaining in 2 point between the fences, and allot of physical stamina for you to beable to sit, drive and get your horse over that fence solidly.
While you are conditioning your horse, you should also be conditioning yourself. Jogging, swimming, walking - whatever it takes to build your heart and your lungs up. Hours apon hours, apon hours of two point work.
Also, conditioning depends on what level you are doing. If you are doing BN, don't worry about being fully conditioned like you would fine a T horse to be, or a P horse to be. The courses are meant to be welcoming, inviting and fun. Strait forward, no difficult terrain. Just simple.
So your ride times should reflect what level you are doing for the season.
I hack lots. I love to be out on the trails.
What I do is start out for a good walk. Momentum, tempo, rhythm - no la de da'ing around. Get that back end working. I walk for a good 20 minutes. Then I ask for trot. My trots are always in 2 point *legs stuck at girth, heels taking bodies weight, seat pushed back towards cantle* do a good 5 minute trot.
Back to walk. Walk for another good 20 mintues, or until your horses breathing slows down back to normal and he/she is ready to go again. Back to trot, 5 minutes. Back to walk.
Remember, it is about strengthening the lungs and the heart. Don't ask for too much the first few days. Then increase the increments slowly. From 5, to 6, to 7 and eventually to 10 eventually to 20. Don't push it, always keep an eye on what your horse is telling you physically.
Find hills, find water - all great things to ride over/in.
Hills, walk up. Walk back down. Then trot up, walk back down - eventually increase to canter up, walk back down.
Slowly, steady, continuously.
Eventually you will beable to get to 10 min trots, to even 20 minute trots. 5 walk, 10 minute canters, 5 walk. But slowly - get there slowly. You don't want to give them a bloody heart atack the first week. Slowly and surely, steady and continuously.