Conditioning for XC
My mare has only ever done Hunters and Jumpers but I'd like to start eventing with her.. Or at least try some cross country. What's a good way to condition her? I work a lot in the ring and o/f and take her out on trails, but she's not exposed to long periods of running. What's a good way to work her up to being strongly conditioned for long periods of cantering and galloping?
Doing dressage on hills is always a good choice. As well as correct lunging in side reins. I really find that just consistent work is key.
My mare goes Novice and we don't do any long periods of cantering or galloping and she's fine.
Trot!! Lots and lots of trot. On my advanced horses, we would do an 8 mile brisk trot six days a week, first thing in the morning before breakfast for horse and rider. Later in the day was another training session of mostly dressage with jumping twice a week at most. Trot gives cardiovascular workout even better than gallop sessions.
lots of dressage and lots of trotting ! trotting or walking hills if you have them too.
they dont need to do a ton of canter or gallop work. a lower level xc course is only a few minutes long.
Trotting hills. Lots and lots of hills
I would hack, hack, hack and then hack some more when you're done hacking. Getting out of the sandbox that is level and groomed will do wonders for both you and your horse. Get out on the open terrain, on the trails, in open fields - whatever, get out there on uneven terrain will help immensely.
Starting out at the walk, making sure it is a good working walk. Impulsion, forward momentum, swinging gait, tracking up, back lifting up into your seat, driving your horse into the bit.
Increase your rides from working walk, into a good working trot. Do lots of sets over time, increasing your time slowly each ride. Walk work, trot, back to walk, trot, back to walk - etc, etc - you get the idea :)
When you encounter hills, make sure your horse is working.
I do canter sets, they are valuable too! Make sure YOU work on your functional two point position, where you are staying out of your tack, but working just as much as your horse. Your lower leg, core, upper body - make sure you work on increasing your strength and longevity out of your tack, so you can be just as productive as your horse. Work on staying out of your tack longer and longer each time - so say if your BN course is 5 minutes, you need to work on staying out of your tack with ease, longer than that 5 minutes.
Welcome to the dark side :)
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