Exercise questions...

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Exercise questions...

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    11-21-2009, 12:16 AM
Super Moderator
Exercise questions...

I distinctly have thought up tons of questions to ask in the last day or two so pardon all the new threads, I just figured more is probably better, especially considering how much I tend to write.

How much lunging is ok before it gets not good? I've been lunging Lacey 4 days out of 7 for the last month or two and I'm kinda wondering if that could be bad for her joints. I didn't really think anything about it until this last week when she's been seeming a little stiffer, not super stiff but just a smidge stuff.
I mean, I know that moving is good for arthritis and since the only place I have to ride is outside where it's kinda slippery (so I personally don't want to be on her back trotting/cantering) I figure that lunging is probably a good option so she can get enough exercise instead of just walking around with 155 pounds on her back for thirty minutes 4 days of the week... But I don't know...

How much would you say is too much exercise for a fit, healthy 24 year old horse? Can someone give me some ideas for a training schedule to keep/improve her fitness level, in a safe way? I'm currently trying to build up her topline since she's fighting against gravity and her long back (the universe wants her to have a sway back)...
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    11-21-2009, 01:02 AM
I am also working out a similar situation with my trainer, only my horse is 5, not in his twenties..
My last horse was 20 Yo though..
With longing, every other day, no longer than say 10-12 mins should be good...start at the walk, gradually build up to trotting, and warm down to walking, in BOTH directions..This is the MOST I would advise with longing, also to note I have never met your horse, or anything about his health or conditioning. Stiff or sore is not a good thing, and may well be related to overwork...
With regard to riding, it is still exercise, and as your horse ages, you may only aggravate any joint or muscular conditions he may or may not have by over doing it..
Best to stay with "less is more" here, as too much exercise, or the wrong kind can be far worse than too little...
    11-21-2009, 01:13 AM
Lol I just read something about riding swaybacked horses (who are usually older) and it basically said that you have to think of a horse in her twenties like a human in their late 70's. Of course there are the people who can still run a 5k marathon at 80, but not everyone is like that. You know Lacey, so you should kind of have a feel for what is too much for her personally. Lots of light/moderate exercise is generally better than one or two days of hard work in older horses, since its steady working and low-impact, which keeps her joints loose.

Maybe try including hand walking/ trotting as well in addition to the lunging? A few laps up and down your driveway or whatever will be good for both of you! I do it with my gelding all of the time, especially when I don't have time to tack up.
    11-21-2009, 01:41 AM
From personal experience I can tell you that if you have arthritis, walking is MUCH better for you than running. I'm sure it holds true in the equine world as well. IMO I would be inclined to take her for a nice long walk (you riding her) a couple times a week, rather than work her hard on the longe line.
    11-21-2009, 01:49 AM
Originally Posted by 7Ponies    
From personal experience I can tell you that if you have arthritis, walking is MUCH better for you than running. I'm sure it holds true in the equine world as well. IMO I would be inclined to take her for a nice long walk (you riding her) a couple times a week, rather than work her hard on the longe line.
Yea, I am very Inclined to agree with this..I too have arthritis, and easing up as said seems a good way also...I does give you other options, for certain...Longing is not always the best option.
If you (after these changes) still notice sore or stiff joints, you may have to ease off more, just use your best judgment. I would also advise that you keep notes as to what new things you are doing, and what positive or negative effects they have on your horse..This way, if things are still not going well, these notes may be of value to your vet...
    11-21-2009, 02:11 AM
Super Moderator
Ok! I've been feeling like a slacker becuase I've been letting her walk so much lately but since it sounds like that's what she needs, I will definitely continue. And I guess this gives me a good excuse to do more bareback riding since I'm not really comfortable trotting bareback yet. =D
I also have been meaning to work more with her on ground driving so I guess we'll be doing more of that too.
Thanks guys!
    11-21-2009, 02:26 PM
One thing you need to be careful with is a lot of lunging. It can put a lot of stress on a horse's joints. I would incorporate hand walking in straight lines to your workout when you cannot ride. If you have another horse you can ride who is well-behaved you could pony her on trails. That's one of the things I do with my older horse.
    11-21-2009, 02:38 PM
Super Moderator
I wish I could pony her off another horse! She's a great ponier(pony-ee?). But none of the other horses I have contact with are really broke, if you know what I mean. They all are just kinda "good enough" and no one tries to make them superb, like teaching them to neckrein or making sure they have great brakes which is pretty much a bummer. And the only one that's calm enough to put up with Lacey's idiocy, hates Lacey and tries to annihilate her whenever they're together. >.<
I will distinctly start working more on her ground driving though because that involves straight lines and I can take her down the road like that (hopefully, eventually) with limited danger to myself. Haha
    11-27-2009, 11:15 AM
Your lacey is almost the same color and I think the same breed (arabian?) as my 12 yr old arabian gelding lightning.she seems like a sweetheart!!! How long have you had her?
    11-27-2009, 11:32 AM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by chika1235    
your lacey is almost the same color and I think the same breed (arabian?) as my 12 yr old arabian gelding lightning.she seems like a sweetheart!!! How long have you had her?

Aw thanks! She is an Arab. =) And she's mostly a sweetheart...she's only not a sweetheart when things are getting boring. Haha I've had her since July 08...so a little more than a year and a half.

Also, on Monday (the next time I really got to hang out with her since this) we only walked. We worked on ground driving for 15-20 minutes, then we did some bareback riding for 30 minutes or so and then we took a 5 minute break and took a ride down the road for another 30-40 minutes. It seemed to work pretty well, when we got back home after the ride down the road she cantered (I just let her for a few strides because she wasn't worked up, and she offered it) around our riding area without any urging from me. She seemed nicely limbered up by the time we were done and she didn't feel/seem stiff at all, so yay! =)
She's had this whole week off, since Monday, so I'm going to go out and do the same stuff today. =)

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