Re-Conditioning Schedule - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 11-05-2012, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re-Conditioning Schedule

I'm a seriously Type-A personality, and as a runner, I've always had some kind of training schedule for myself. With my gelding, I have a mental "schedule" that I keep with him so that I don't overwork him, and keep it fun for both of us. He loves to work, and loves to be ridden and enjoys challenges. I rotate work, rest and "fun" days into our riding and training.

I just purchased an 8-year old QH mare. She hadn't been ridden in a year and a half until I rode her this weekend. She wasn't overly willing, but didn't offer a lot of resistance either. She reminds me of some of my employees that are just very resistant to change, but once they realize the change is okay, they are much more willing. She just gets cranky at every little change! It should be fun moving her to my barn next weekend...

What I am looking for are some suggestions on reconditioning her to riding. She's a little overweight right now too (cannot see or even feel her ribs!)
I'll be working with her 4-5 days a week and have at least an hour or more each time just for her. Essentially, I'm trying to create a training schedule, but need some ideas on where to start.
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post #2 of 14 Old 11-05-2012, 02:45 PM
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Always start in the walk. With a horse who has had a year off, I would start with 30 minutes of walk a day, every day. Gradually work to an hour and when she has had 7 days straight of 1 hour of walking every day, then add in 10 minutes of trot in 2 minute increments (ie 5 min wlk, 2 min trot, 5 walk, 2 trot, etc) every week (or 7 rides). When you are doing 30 mins trot per hour of riding, add in 5 mins in 1 min increments of canter per week (or 7 rides), maintaining 30 mins walk and the remainder trot. When you are doing 30 walk, 15 trot and 15 canter, add in poles, jumps (1 time a week max) and leg yields. This should take about 3 months to accomplish, more if you are not riding every day. At this point I would move to a normal riding program.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 14 Old 11-05-2012, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~ View Post
Always start in the walk. With a horse who has had a year off, I would start with 30 minutes of walk a day, every day. Gradually work to an hour and when she has had 7 days straight of 1 hour of walking every day, then add in 10 minutes of trot in 2 minute increments (ie 5 min wlk, 2 min trot, 5 walk, 2 trot, etc) every week (or 7 rides). When you are doing 30 mins trot per hour of riding, add in 5 mins in 1 min increments of canter per week (or 7 rides), maintaining 30 mins walk and the remainder trot. When you are doing 30 walk, 15 trot and 15 canter, add in poles, jumps (1 time a week max) and leg yields. This should take about 3 months to accomplish, more if you are not riding every day. At this point I would move to a normal riding program.

Good luck!
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Would you recommend all this under saddle, or on a lunge line/round pen? She's better behaved when I'm riding her, but seriously needs some groundwork time too.
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post #4 of 14 Old 11-05-2012, 05:05 PM
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Do not lunge an unfit horse.
This should be done as much as possible on straight lines or in a large arena. Circles are a great way to pull muscles and tear ligaments, etc..
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post #5 of 14 Old 11-05-2012, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Perfect! We will start with this and go forward. Thank you!
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post #6 of 14 Old 11-05-2012, 07:41 PM
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Love this advice I too will be trying this schedule with my unfit gelding.
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post #7 of 14 Old 11-14-2012, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~ View Post
Always start in the walk. With a horse who has had a year off, I would start with 30 minutes of walk a day, every day. Gradually work to an hour and when she has had 7 days straight of 1 hour of walking every day, then add in 10 minutes of trot in 2 minute increments (ie 5 min wlk, 2 min trot, 5 walk, 2 trot, etc) every week (or 7 rides). When you are doing 30 mins trot per hour of riding, add in 5 mins in 1 min increments of canter per week (or 7 rides), maintaining 30 mins walk and the remainder trot. When you are doing 30 walk, 15 trot and 15 canter, add in poles, jumps (1 time a week max) and leg yields. This should take about 3 months to accomplish, more if you are not riding every day. At this point I would move to a normal riding program.

Good luck!
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question - would you recommend the same for a horse that is pasture kept? what i mean to ask is, if the horse is moving for the majority of the day and night, would you still give this long to bring their fitness back up or would you assume they are already at a certain level of general fitness based upon their own standard activity level (as opposed to a horse that is kept in a stall for 14 hours a day and turned out in a run/paddock for say 8-10 hours a day)?

just curious. i have horses in both situations and am trying to figure out where to start. :)
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post #8 of 14 Old 11-15-2012, 12:41 AM
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question - would you recommend the same for a horse that is pasture kept? what i mean to ask is, if the horse is moving for the majority of the day and night, would you still give this long to bring their fitness back up or would you assume they are already at a certain level of general fitness based upon their own standard activity level (as opposed to a horse that is kept in a stall for 14 hours a day and turned out in a run/paddock for say 8-10 hours a day)?

just curious. i have horses in both situations and am trying to figure out where to start. :)
^ I would start with light workout. Just casual walk and trot. If you put too much stress on the unused muscles, just like any other athlete, it's gonna hurt the next day. 15 minutes should be an average warmup to a regular ride (in my opinion, it shouldn't take much longer than 15). BUT for getting back on a schedule thats where you need to start.

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post #9 of 14 Old 11-15-2012, 04:54 PM
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Would you recommend all this under saddle, or on a lunge line/round pen? She's better behaved when I'm riding her, but seriously needs some groundwork time too.
Totally agree with Anebel but I just wanted to add that there are tons of ground work things you can do, without working them on the lunge line.

I like a lot of Clinton Anderson's ground work methods because you can focus more on getting the horse to listen to you, and not necessarily work them into a sweaty mess. ANY ground work exercise can be done at the walk. Asking the horse to back up, pivot, yield the hindquarters, move the shoulders, stop, etc.

And really, keep in mind that any time you interact with your horse (haltering, leading, cleaning out their feet, etc) are times that you are training your horse and you should expect perfect ground manners at all times.
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post #10 of 14 Old 11-16-2012, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by crimsonsky View Post
question - would you recommend the same for a horse that is pasture kept? what i mean to ask is, if the horse is moving for the majority of the day and night, would you still give this long to bring their fitness back up or would you assume they are already at a certain level of general fitness based upon their own standard activity level (as opposed to a horse that is kept in a stall for 14 hours a day and turned out in a run/paddock for say 8-10 hours a day)?

just curious. i have horses in both situations and am trying to figure out where to start. :)
Start in walk. You don't have to remain so long in just the walk with a field kept horse, but still start in walk. What is being conditioned in this time is not the muscles or the cardiovascular system, but the cartilage in the joints. The joints will be the slowest "system" of the horse to adapt to the work, but also is the most delicate. Working a horse until he is out of breath when first reconditioning is "too much work" for the joints, and they are liable to develop arthritis. Once the joints are used to working and the cartilage is strong, then we can start to stress the other systems.

Good luck!

They say money doesn't buy happiness -- well happiness doesn't buy horses!
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