Would 6 hours of riding one day get more done than riding 1 hour for 6 days?

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Would 6 hours of riding one day get more done than riding 1 hour for 6 days?

This is a discussion on Would 6 hours of riding one day get more done than riding 1 hour for 6 days? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Riding six hours
  • Riding one hour a day horse

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    01-28-2013, 09:39 AM
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Would 6 hours of riding one day get more done than riding 1 hour for 6 days?

I have figured out that few people take green horses and 'un-finished' horses on the long rides that I take them on. I figured out many decades ago that a really long ride (like 5 or 6 or even more hours) got more done for me with green horses than riding a horse at that stage 1 hour a day for the whole week.

Once the horse is settled, 'broke', goes anywhere and does not get afraid or spooky or worried, is listening and has a solid focus on its rider, THEN I can go to riding 1 hour a day and put serious training into the horse. I have always found that short rides before that time were pretty pointless as they were each a repeat of the last ride -- trying to get the horse's attention and trying to get something positive done on each ride --- and frequently failing. It is also no secret that drilling and going around and around an arena or small area for hours (or even an hour a day) is a good way to get a sour and resentful horse that dreads going there and doing the same thing over and over.

Whenever I cannot feel that a horse is doing something better each time I get off of the horse, I have felt I needed a different approach and a long ride or two is usually where I go.

I know this is not a popular approach by the comments I get when I mention it. I am curious if others have found that the same thing works? Is this just a 'ranch' and a 'ranch horse' thing as that is just how it works when you have to go out and do a day's job gathering and moving cattle or hunting a lost pair or ???? That was pretty much how I figured out that a green horse came back a different horse after a really long, all-day ride. This is what started me on my way to making really good trail horses that anyone could enjoy trail riding.

When I show trained but started them this way I used to tell people that wanted trail horses that "When I get old and decrepit, I'll take out trail riders and make trail horses. Meanwhile, as long as I can, I'm going to train good cowhorses."

Well, I was diagnosed with severe Arthritis and Degenerative Joint Disease by the time I was 40. So, I got to the trail horse thing years before I had planned on. [My son has just been diagnosed with the same things and he just turned 30 in December. I guess it is a genetic thing for sure.]

Just wondering is all if any others use this method on green or spooky horses.
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    01-28-2013, 09:51 AM
That's something my family has always done. Here we don't have access to a lot of land to ride size wise (there is about 20 acres of woods behind my barn tht I ride in a lot but it's not varying enough to keep things fresh & new) so after a few rides on a youngster they get tossed in the trailer with an old steady eddie and we go to one of the state parks and do an all day ride. I personally think that they get a lot out of doing that. My grandpa always said that a good long weekend trail riding on a youngster accompanied by an older solid horse gets them more broke than weeks worth of rides in an arena.
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    01-28-2013, 10:06 AM
I wish I had time to take my finished horse for long rides like that, but at this time in my life and at this time of the year in Alberta I just can't seem have the time or the weather/conditions to do it!

So I'm the arena rider (for this winter!) for now, HOWEVER you make a good point about horses getting drilled for an hour and getting sour. I can see my horse is getting fairly fit and fairly pissy now. THIS IS WHY I'm moving barns in a week or so where the horses are turned out, there is an indoor and out door arena and loads of trails to ride on.....and let's not forget COWS to work!!!

I have recognized that I am working on the same things all the time, with some minor successes, but more importantly I have recognized that my horse needs a break, some decent turnout and something to look forward too.....

Currently at the barn I'm at I try to make his time productive and enjoyable, if the arena is empty when I'm done riding I pull his saddle off in the arena and let him do his own thing like roll etc......to make it a positive place....he needs a spell and so do I!

He's done with all the flexing and turning and sliding......so I'm making a wise call and just leaving him alone and perhaps start him on cows to give him something to think about:)
    01-28-2013, 10:21 AM
I agree a long ride out of the arena does wonders for a young horse. I like a mix of the 2 though, I find mixing up arena work with rides outside, either at home or trailering into the foothills/mountains, creates a balanced happy horse that likes to be ridden.
    01-28-2013, 10:23 AM
Originally Posted by LynnF    
I agree a long ride out of the arena does wonders for a young horse. I like a mix of the 2 though, I find mixing up arena work with rides outside, either at home or trailering into the foothills/mountains, creates a balanced happy horse that likes to be ridden.
This is my goal from now on!!!
    01-28-2013, 10:31 AM
My 3 horses share a corral and often go a month without seeing another horse even at a distance. They tend to become herd-bound. For THAT, I think a 5-10 minute out & back, repeated a lot, works well.

But for calming a horse down, an hour seems to be about the minimum for progress with Mia. The 30-45 minute rides we're doing right now might update her currency, at best.

As a southern Arizona guy, I wear sweaters when the temps drop below 80! When the weather is more to my liking, I've got some 5-6 mile routes planned out, with a mixture of neighborhood, paved streets, desert ATV trails...think I've found a half mile stretch of dirt road where I ought to be able to run Mia without worrying about her falling (she's a klutz).

The trainer who worked with her last year says she needs to go out long enough to relax. As long as she is still fresh and tensed up, the riding doesn't improve her. That seems true from what I've seen. I'm tempted to ask my rancher friend in Utah if he'd take her for a summer of work. A bunch of 12 hours days working cattle or trailing sheep would do wonders for her.
    01-28-2013, 10:35 AM
*sigh* I'm jealous of the mountains part of that...I live in the middle of flat, boring, corn field country.

I agree, mixing it up and keeping things fresh is so beneficial. They don't get sour and have to use their brains because it isn't the same thing drilled over and over and over. I'm working with a mare now that was round penned into the ground and the first time I rode her here (in my indoor even) you'd have thought her brains fell out of her ears. She had no idea what to do or think when she didn't have that pen to rely on and boy did she ever try to force her way to the wall. First ride out in the woods was interesting, that poor mare had no idea what life was like outside that safety net. She's now becoming a much happier mare in general and much, much more solid under saddle.
    01-28-2013, 12:23 PM
I think nice long trail rides do wonders! I'm working on getting my horse legged up for the OkieArkie trail ride coming up in a few months. Luckily I live in eastern OK with 400 acres to play on with good hills. My mare joy I was having so many problems with I started taking her on good long rides its made a difference in her no more fussy girl all the time.
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    01-28-2013, 01:47 PM
Interesting post, Cherie, and I actually like the sounds of your approach. Around here, green horses aren't allowed on the trail until they're considered "solid" enough in the arena. But like you said, I see a lot of horses start to go sour with so much arena work. It's also interesting to note that I've experienced the same "repeats" of rides when it comes to doing shorter sessions several days in a row. It's frustrating and I figured there must be a way of getting around it and progressing a little more consistently.

I'm really interested in trying your method, and luckily I'm in the position to do so currently. The horse I'm working with isn't a ranch horse, but she will be used for guiding/moose hunting, among other things. I'd think that your method would apply to all disciplines, of course. Thank you for posting this!
    01-28-2013, 01:51 PM
I do. I ride colts all day, switching them out every five hours, I have a timer on my phone that tells me when their times up lol. Unfortunately I can't just trail ride, I have to put them to work in order to make a living. I find horses get a lot more broke if you ride them in an arena for ten rides and then get them out and not bring them back into the arena until they have learned all the ranch work basics outside. Like doctoring, holding a rope, dragging a calf skid, etc. I find you get some really nice horses with longer rides.
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