how long to ride for first ride of the season
is one hour too long? a half hour out and a half hour back?
my girl is in pretty good shape and she's been let out into a larger area the last couple of weeks so she's been running around and stretching and using her muscles.
I guess we would have to know what level of riding you are considering. If you want to just walk on the trails, I think an hour would be totally fine. Especially if he has been active. If you have a more strenuous ride in mind, I would keep it shorter and definitely turn around BEFORE your horse gets tired.
That depends on the horse. If the horse is over weight, 15 minutes might be too long.
I try very hard at keeping the weight off during the winter. Makes a huge difference. Last winter, they gained very little. Our first ride this year was 6 hours, next day we went 7 hours, next day 5 hours. And they all did fine. Last ride was in October of last year.
That should not present any problems...as long as it's not straight up and down. Even a little work under saddle in a round pen or whatever a few days prior would help some of those muscles. But an hour on an easy to moderate trail should be fine.
thanks, we ended up riding for about an hour on easy terrain. Around the farm and down a nearby trail.
Also depends what you DO for that hour.
Just walking? Sure, that probably is fine.
Loping most of it? Nope, probably too much.
Just pay attention to your horse's breathing and your horse's response. And try to think about how YOU would go about training for a marathon (for example). You would need to walk a mile, before you could job part of it, before you could jog all of it, before you could run part of it, before you could run all of it. Gradual is key!
Just saying you're "going on a trail ride" is kind of vague. You really need to know your horse, and know what kind of work she has been doing over the winter and early spring months, and have a general idea what kind of shape she is in just riding her in a more controlled place (like an arena, or pasture).
If she's huffing and puffing, breaking a sweat and getting winded after short bursts of running and playing out at pasture, you're going to want to tone down your trail ride and make sure you pay attention to her behavior along the way to be sure she doesn't over-exert herself. You can do a longer ride, maybe, if you take it slow and give her breaks when she's getting tired.
Some horses (like mine) will keep on going, no matter how long and far they've already gone. I've known some that will get themselves sick because they just won't stop. They don't know when to quit, so it's really important to make that choice for them.
Just remember, it's supposed to be fun. Take some shorter, easier rides if there is any doubt about how fit she is. Work your way up from there.
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