Hey ya'll! I have a 21-yr old gaited Paso Fino gelding. I'm taking him to the fair this summer, maybe entering a halter class, and I'm touching up things like side-passing, backing, turning, and muscling. Can anyone provide me with a good schedule for conditioning my horse?
I ride him primarily Western, about every other day. Most of the time I just ride him in the back pastures for about an hour, cantering for a minute, fox trotting for a minute, doing a corto/fino for a few more. I repeat this for about an hour and then cool him off. He's usually only sweated up because of his separation anxiety with the mini mare. He won't go away from her, and I emailed a ton of trainers asking their opinions. Two got back to me with some good ideas, so I'll be trying those. He gets completely sweated up trying to go back to the barn and getting frustrated when I restrain him. If he wasn't constantly worried about the mare, he would barely be sweating at the end of these rides.
About once a week, I take him to the back 1000 acres of woods, meadows, and fields. I took a screenshot of my property (below this paragraph, sre for huge pic) and the meadows I ride in and showed in red my riding boundary limits, in purple the path I take on a typical ride starting from my property at far right) when I go for a ride in the back 1000. The orange plaid indicates the meadow I stay in for 30 minutes or so to gallop and canter around. So when I go for a ride I walk/fox trot him in the woods for about 15 minutes until we reach the farmer's fields. He lets me ride back there as long as I stay along the edge and don't trample is crops. I canter him, with Lulu the mini mare running free behind us, for about 10 minutes on and off (along edge of first two tan-colored fields on right). Then we reach the first grassy meadow (park-owned), where I'll canter him down the stretch to where his friends are....2 senior horses who REALLY need to be put on some better feed--they are sooo thin. I let him say hi, they nuzzle over the fence, then we walk/trot back the way we came, this time turning the other way and entering the next grassy meadow. I usually just let him graze here and typically spend a lot of time cantering, but the last couple of rides I've discovered that Arthur is super fast and can flat-out gallop at great speed when he has room to speed up and slow down. I'd never asked him for top speed before, and it felt great the other day to gallop him. Never have before. So instead of working him hard in the first grassy pasture, I worked him in the second grassy pasture and spent a good 30 minutes galloping him, letting him eat a bite of grass, galloping him some more, etcetera. Then we walk home and I cool him out.
Since I've been galloping him yesterday and today, he comes home pretty sweaty. I don't think I'm working him too hard because whenever I asked him for a simple fox trot, he was chomping at the bit (quite literally) asking to go faster. His mini mare always runs with us, and he loooovvvveeessss racing her. She'll buck and try to kick him, he'll dodge around her to find an opening and get ahead.....when he gallops he leaves her in the dust and she basically gives up:). Poor little thing haha.
Here's a video of very crappy quality, taken from my phone. You have to wait until 0:28 for us to come into the picure as my mom didn't listen and tried to film us galloping from the shadow with my crappy phone camera and it didn't work out too well. It doesn't show his speed at all because I was already slowing him down but it's alright. Just thought I'd post it.(ignore my sister and dogs haha) :
Wow okay I rambled a lot about stuff that wasn't even relevant to the situation but try to dig through my rambling to find sense in it and help me come up with a conditioning schedule:). Thanks guys!