Getting fit!

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Getting fit!

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  • 3 Post By Kayty

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    09-12-2011, 08:16 PM
Getting fit!

I apologise if this is in the wrong spot...

As we come into September, my horse has come back from her winter spell and is raring to go. I would like to get her fit by October 8th which gives me about 4 weeks. She is hopefully going to the local show, where she can compete in the 90cm (3 feet), 1.05m 'Grand Prix' (not sure why the GP is just over a metre...), or six-bar showjumping. So, what are good and thorough ways to get her fit to compete in one of these by October? She started working o the 5th of September but got muscle soreness in her shoulder. I'm going to lunge her today to see if se is any better nd if she's OK, she will need to come slowly but surely back into work. (I may have brought her into work a little quick so its my own fault she went sore). So! Ideas? Grid work? Flat work? Trail rides? Nothing? Can I also note that lunging and her don't really mix, athough I'm going to try today, so I need riding-based fitness workouts
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    09-12-2011, 10:10 PM
To be honest with you, I wouldn't be aiming her for the 8th if you want to look after her soundness.
If she's been out for the whole of winter, you will need to be doing a lot of work just walking her out and gradually build up her fitness. By pushing too hard too fast, you will end up with a very sore, tired horse and the potential for tendon injuries will increase tenfold. I don't think it's worth doing that just to get to a comp.
Exactly what has happened already, you pushed too hard and she went sore.
I wouldn't be ever looking at jumping her for at least a month. Lots of trail rides at walk, leg yield at walk etc. If I'm on a horse that hasnt been worked in over 1 month, I won't even attempt to canter for at the very minimum, 3 weeks.

What's more important - a sound, happy horse, or a couple of ribbons?
    09-13-2011, 04:06 AM
I agree with Kayty that you need to work her slowly and steadily to build up fitness. To get my colt back into shape I go on alot of trail rides. I don't know what kind of terrain you have or if trails are available for you? I have my horse Trot alot of hills and I do short lopes and gallops in the wash once he's ready. Alot of people have the belief that loping and galloping are harder, and yes they are good for stamina but if you want endurance and overall fitness alot of trotting is the way to go. Trotting is actually harder for the horse to keep up it gives them a better overall workout in the end. Some other things I do with my colt is to have him trot around the arena for 2 minutes each way and gradually build it up adding thirty seconds till he can trot ten minutes each way. Then work on the lope and build up that stamina.
    09-13-2011, 01:28 PM
Agree with the above. Four weeks sounds rushed to get her ready to jump. Our horses usually take up to 8 weeks to get into top form... and they're just trail horses.

Now was your horse on stall rest all winter or is she coming off pasture rest?
    09-13-2011, 08:15 PM
Hi All,
Angel wasn't out all winter, if by 'all winter' you mean late autumn/fall to early spring, she went out in July and came back in around the 5th of September. But from late May onwards she wasn't in full work, I had a friend riding her but they only rode her a few times and it was just walk/trot arena work. She is coming off pasture rest, she has been running on 150 acres for that time. I rode her yesterday, just walking and watching my friend ride, and she felt pretty good, and not sore, but today when I fed her she looked sore again. I will also clarify that she will only go to the show IF she is fit and firing because she has had a bit of a rubbish year, health-wise, because of moving interstate and such, but show or no show, she needs to get fit. I tried to lunge her yesterday instead of riding but she nearly kicked my head in, so hence getting the saddle on.

Our terrain is fairly hilly, but there aren't really any trails. We live near a national park/forest type area but to get there means riding along a dirt road with no speed limit and apart from being dangerous, Angel isn't wearing shoes at the moment so I don't want to ruin her feet on the rocks. We have a beach, but again it is riding along roads and a good hour's ride away and I don't have a float/trailer to transport her to the beach.

Thanks for all the advice Kayty, but there is no way I could keep her happy just walking and trotting for three weeks. Angel is a typical highly strung thorouhbred and I can just see the tantrums unfolding if I tied to hold her back that long, haha. Having her at the show isn't a neccesity because I'm taking two other horses, but it would be nice as she's my number 1 and she only got one start this year as it is!

So she will most likely get today off too, but I will go and check her and perhaps do some lead-rein exercises to test her soreness because lunging is scary and I don't want to ride her again and make it worse.
    09-13-2011, 09:21 PM
Well, I guess the way she's going with her soreness, she'll let you know if you'vre overdoing it. If she's this sore for this long I think its a bit of a clear sign that she needs a lot of easy going walk and trot work before you start doing any jumping and fast work. Muscle soreness for a day or two is understandable, but as it's been a while now by the sounds of your posts - I'd be questioning your knowledge in fitness work.
I've had my fair share of young horses and highly strung ottbs, and they all get the same treatment being brought back into work. It's good for them to learn that they have to settle as well as being better for their body.
As for lunging, well I wouldn't be putting up with that behaviour by avoidance, but each to their own
    09-13-2011, 10:14 PM
I completely own up to he soreness as I kow went against my better judgementbecause I hadn't seen her for a long time and hadn't been near any horse for over a month, maybe two, and thought it would be ok to do the rding I did "just this once" boy was I wrong! I noticed she was sore Wednesday last week, doing flat work, but just thought she had a niggle from doing her dressage after a long time of doing nothing, bar a few trot laps in the arena. Then on Thursday my friend had a day off school and wanted to go for a ride, and Angel felt alright so I took her. By Friday, I realisedI'd been a heartless b***h by riding her like I did and she was soooo sore. Angel had the weekend off, and Monday, and here we are. Usually I take my sweet time bringing horses back into work but because I was so desperate to ride I stupidly pushed her.

As for lunging, what happened there was I lunged her on a lunge line, and she cut across in front of me nd double barrelled me in the stomach. BAM! I ended up in the emergency room. Someone suggested lunging her in a round yard, off the lunge line. BAM! She did it again. Back to ICU. So I'm extremely nervous about lunging her now, and the extent of lunging wit her goes as far as only making her do a few laps at trot because I'm scared she'll boot me again.
    09-13-2011, 10:22 PM
Do you lunge with a lunge whip? If I have a horse that attempts to cut into my space at all on the lunge, I'll take a very determined step towards then, point the lunge at their barrel and if they don't move out, they absolutely know about it.
Sounds like she has a lack of respect for your space. I'd be doing some more work on the ground with her, getting her to move away from you yielding each part of her body.
    09-14-2011, 03:53 AM
That's the weird thing though, is its only lunging she does it. Every other time and thing I do with her she does not set a hoof out of line ever.

We also have an UPDATE!
The vet cam out for my other horse who has done something terrible, and I asked him to give Angel the once-over about her soreness. Turns out, its not her muscles. She has 'white line disease'. Her white line splits and little rocks get in there making her lame, and potentially causing an absess if left untreated. A sad day for me today , but lucky I got him to check her or she would have had an absess blast out in about a week.
    09-14-2011, 05:45 AM
My neibor has a horse with that and she puts this glue on her horses hoof to seal the cracks. Her horse is perfectly sound on that hoof and she competes on him on a regular basis

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