Riding to hard? Unsoclicited advice thinks so
   

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Riding to hard? Unsoclicited advice thinks so

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  • Hard riding
  • I worked my horse hard

 
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    11-10-2010, 08:57 PM
  #1
Weanling
Riding to hard? Unsoclicited advice thinks so

So I just got finished riding my girl, we were out for about 40 min doing nonstop transitions from trot to walk with some halt and back thrown in. I also did about 7 min straight of cantering.

She has a habit of trying to gallop instead of canter. I figured I'd wait her out until she got tired of going fast and then encourage the slow. It eventually worked and by the end we had a nice canter.

This has been our routine for the week, every day.

Someone at the barn saw us leaving the ring and my horse breathing hard and has made it her business to tell me that I'm working her too hard, that's a great way to make her lame, and I shouldn't let her run so fast, it's only allowing the behavior and she will never canter slow if I allow it. This person also happens to be the trainer at the barn, although she's not my trainer.

Now I'm confused. Isn't it a GOOD thing to work a horse hard enough that there's a wet saddle blanket and a compliant horse afterward? I've seen many threads here where people say they run their horse for miles, certainly 40 minutes of hard work isn't going to be the end of the world, right?

I think she was taken back by the hard breathing, the horses she ride are never out of breath. I just smiled and thanked her for her opinion, but now I'm wondering if she may be a least a little right. The last thing I want to do is overwork my horse and cause some damage.

Thoughts? How hard do YOU work your horse?
     
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    11-10-2010, 09:05 PM
  #2
Green Broke
Well, I'm probably not a good one to ask because I've been known to ride for 5+ hours on the trail, several times a week. Of course that's mostly at a walk, but we do canter and trot on occasion. So 40 minutes, even with a good amount of cantering, doesn't sound like a long ride to me.

But, I do remember reading in a magazine (I believe the article was by Clinton Anderson) about slowing your horse's canter, and he said to do what you are doing- canter until they want to slow on their own, then make them canter some more. Basically, when you ask for a canter, the horse should be wondering if he is going to canter for 5 minutes or all day, so he will relax and conserve his energy. So I think you are doing right in the concept of cantering until the horse is willing to slow down. I think lack of cantering and riding the brakes is what makes a horse excitable at the canter.
     
    11-10-2010, 09:11 PM
  #3
Green Broke
Everyone has their own opinions. Some may say your method for slowing her is incorrect, and some may agree. The bottom line here though I think is - is it too much work?

Depending on her fitness, no. As long as you've had a proper warm up and cool down, the horse should be fine. My aunt always said a solid 10 minutes of walking and stretching, another five of some trot and after that (15 minutes) your horse is pretty much warmed up to work as hard as you need them to. 10-15 minutes is a usual rule of thumb for cool down as well.

Your routine essentially sounds the exact same as what I do with my 3 and 1/2 year old filly, with possibly less canter work. She's usually ridden for 45-60 minutes and almost all of it is trotting, with quite a lot of canter transitions. She's usually soaked and puffing by the end. This is my routine for bringing her INTO fitness, a routine I think most horses at reasonable fitness can endure.

Your horse will usually tell you when enough is enough and it certainly doesn't sound like enough yet.
     
    11-10-2010, 09:14 PM
  #4
Trained
I would think it ultimately depends on how fit your horse is. Some horse's cannot trot for 15 minutes without breaking a sweat. Others can come back from a vigorous 2 hour trail ride completely dry. Only you can guage if your horse is overworked. My suggestion would be to monitor her resting heart rate before you ride. After you work her, monitor it again immediately after you work her. Her heart rate should return to her before workout rate within 2 minutes of stopping work. If she takes longer, she is not ready to be worked that long and may be prone to injuring herself. Nothing's wrong with a wet saddle pad and compliant horse. Checking her return to normal heart rate time is a good way of knowing you're working her within her limits.
     
    11-10-2010, 09:18 PM
  #5
Foal
I do not believe you are over working your horse by what you have described, and your method is one that many people use, so I don't think it's going to ruin your horse. I will trot my horse for miles sometimes because I know she can handle it. If you only rode your horse once a week, per say, that regiment might be a little grueling for him or her, but by the sounds of it, you ride frequently. When I first got my horse, she was extremely hot and always wanted to run. I had the worst time getting her to slow lope, but what worked the best for me was TONS of collected trotting. I found it a lot easier to control her trot than her canter, so I only trotted her for a good while, and when I felt that I had a nice controlled, collected trot, I began to ask her to lope, and when she'd pick up the gait, I would pull back ever so slightly on my reins. WOW. Ha. Now I have the slowest loping horse I have ever seen. Lol.
     
    11-10-2010, 09:19 PM
  #6
Yearling
I wouldn't say it's too hard of a work out but if you're headed back to the stall while the horse is still breathing hard they need more of a cool down.

I'm with MM, a good warm up and cool down and you should be fine.
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    11-10-2010, 09:36 PM
  #7
Trained
I have figured it out over the years that if you want a "slower" horse, you have to do alot of trotting and cantering...eventually they figure it out that it's SO much easier to go slower, and conserve their energy rather than bolting and running hard, especially since you are going to continue til they slow down anyway.

My mare had a terrible habit of just rush, rush, rush...but not now...hahaha...once she was in a bit better than paddock condition, I would just do a lot of trotting; circles, coasting around the arena, some serpentines, etc...she eventually just started slowing down on her own, instead of breaking into a super octane trot every time! It's amazing how having a horse coast around in a gait and keep him going beyond when he is asking to stop, will give you a more balanced, and more even paced horse. And then we started adding a bunch of canter work, as well, once we had the trotting sorted out a bit. I still do a lot of trot and canter work, mainly because that's what's going to keep her in decent condition in the first place.

I would say as long as you do a decent warm up, and especially make sure she is breathing normal before taking her back to the barn, there is NOTHING wrong with a good workout. Remember it's miles that are going to make the horse a good riding horse, not just going out and doing a tiny ride and putting him up.
     
    11-10-2010, 10:05 PM
  #8
Banned
I wouldn't think that it is too much, but it depends on the fitness level of your horse, make me run like that, and I might very well die. My horse on the other hand could do that easily. So it depends, how fit is your horse?
     
    11-10-2010, 10:14 PM
  #9
Trained
I am a big man and I actually did ride horses too hard a few times this summer. I rode a huge dun gelding from about 6 am until 6pm and it was not a nice trail ride. At one point (quite early in the day) the horse thought that hot and sweaty was the same thing as exhausted and he sulled up and layed down. He was not exhausted as I got him up quite quickly with a willow switch. I didn't intend to ride him that hard but he sure toughened up after that and never quit me again. 95% of riders will NEVER ride a horse too hard.
     
    11-10-2010, 10:38 PM
  #10
Weanling
I feel better about this now, thanks for the replies. I think she's pretty fit. We've ridden four times a week for the past couple months and just recently bumped it up to 6 days a week. Only because she seems to need it. She is out in the pasture 24/7, gets ridden frequently and she is still wired up and ready to go all the time. Sigh. Maybe she will be calmer before she hits old age, I only have another 13 years or so to go...

I cool her down until she's not breathing hard anymore, I never take her right back. I left the ring while she was still worked up because we were going to walk around the outside.

I don't know why I seem to attract a ton of unsoliciated advice from this person but she is not shy about telling me how to work my horse. I think she's hoping I'll hire her. Though that's probably not the best way to go about selling yourself.
     

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