Getting into endurance!
Hello! I dont want to compete or anything but a few gals at my barn decided that they wanted to start doing conditioning rides and in the fall have a endurance race between all of us!
Well Ben is in fairly good shape, needs to lose some weight but I think it will shed off fast.
Before I go any further I wanted to make sure you all know I would never push my horse past his limit, and know when to quit. I am also slowly building him up to longer rides.
Any way after I got Ben warmed up last night, and worked on a few things I decided to take him outside with another horse to do some conditioning along with working on our cross county. He did just fine with walking and trotting up the hills and we popped over a few logs as well. We decided to end the ride with a short trot/canter from the barn to the pond and back. Thats not a long distance, I have had him go further, its maybe 8 min to the pond from the barn, depending on how fast your horse is going. Well Ben did great, he wasnt too winded. But my problem was that he is really tender footed and really unsure footed. I kept having to break into a walk to go over some rougher terrain while the other horse plowed right threw it!
On his off days, where I really hardly do anything, I try to take him out and walk around, go over some more difficult to go threw areas, like short steep hills, slick spots (walking only), then I also go where the ground is not at all even and has a ton of small hills and such.
I just dont know what to do about his tender footedness, would you suggest getting him some kind of hoof boot to wear? I am looking into the Cavello boots, and they seam to have an okay price and look pretty nice. Any trail riders have an experience with this boot? Did it help at all?
It bothers me that in IN you have a horse with tender feet. =/
Really, most of my horse's foot tenderness issues disappeared with a set of normal, steel horse shoes, so I recommend you shoe him.
Regarding preparation for endurance, you need to condition for the following:
Warm up at the walk, work at the canter to wind the horse, walk cool for at least 30 minutes. The US Cavalry always walked the 1st mile out and the last mile back.
2) Small muscle fitness
Takes about 3 months
3) Large muscle fitness
Takes about 6 months
4) Bone density
ONLY pounding work, like trotting, produces the necessary compaction of the cannon bones that is bone density, and you NEED this to prevent any breaks. Don't EVER ride on pavement or asphalt to achieve this. Pounding work on compacted dirt is generally the best way to achieve this.
IMHO, you should be preparing your horse in 2013 for your 2014 endurance season. Plan to work like marathon runners do. They work to a goal or plateau, then back off, then set a new and higher planteau, etc.
Hope this helps! =D
Thank you so much! We plan on just doing a little short ride for fun in the fall. Not 15 or 20 miles, more like 5 or 6 miles is what we hope to do. I dont want to push him to far to soon! We hope to do much longer next fall!
How old is your horse and how much riding does he get? If you have had him his whole life or how long of it and has he had consisent riding since you have had him? If he is a good mature age and has been ridden consisently for a couple of years or even if he has had a large field he has been in that means less time it will take to condition. If he is young and has not had a lot of riding time then it takes about a year of consisent riding before i would do anything over a 9 mph trot or canter. The young ones need to build a foundation. Strengthen tendons, ligaments and muscle. :D Older horses that have not been ridden much are still more advanced than a younger horse. They have had the time to develope. The main thing it comes down to is foundation. I have been competing in Endurance for 7 years and have learned alot about this kind of thing. It helps my mom has been doing it for 18 years. :D I just bought a recently turned 5 year old and he has started his training for Endurance. He has little riding experience, but has been out on a large amout of pasture his whole life, so that helps him. He will do his first ride in 7 months, unless 7 months from now i don't feel like he is ready. Hope this helps and it sounds like you and your friends are having fun.
As for the tenderfootedness, some horses are just that way and need something to protect their feet. I have had horses with rock hard feet that could do 50 miles barefoot and others that could not do 25 miles barefoot. If you don't want shoes then check into all different kinds of boots. I know some boots that might work really well for one horse will not work on another. All hooves are built different. Check and see if there is a dealer around you or anywhere. They usually have demo boots that they will mail you, so you can try them out and see if they work for your horse. We primarly Easyboots, but on one mare we have they will not stay on her. So for her we use Boa boots. She has more upright feet. Smaller feet with higher heels. So you see, it just depends on your horses foot build on what type of boots work. Look into Renegades, Boa's, Easyboots. There are even glue on boots that you do not have to worry about coming off. You put them on yourself and i think they stay on for about a month, i think. But they are really popular in the Endurance world. :D
Let us know what you find and how your conditioning is coming along!
To help with conditioning this horse needs to live outside, make use of that 70 acre pasture with different terrain on his own speed. That will help him lose excess weight, strengthen heart, lungs and bones/ ligaments, built muscle, make him surefooted and harden his feet.
I think all endurance/LD/CTR people will agree....
Hello! Ben is 12, he has been worked hard for the first 8 years of his life until I got him. Thanks so much for your advice!
Thanks! But if you look at my thread "cribbing help" I posted, even though some people know more about my horse than I do, 24/7 turnout is not possible! I would love for him to be out 24/7 but he is not a 24/7 kinda horse! :lol:
Then ditch the idea of doing more than trailrides. Simple as that.
How should he ever go long distance if he doesn't have the lungs and heart for it?
His dies he negotiate uneven, rough terrain when he never learned how to negotiate it first WITHOUT the weight of a rider? Only two questions among many.
It's a fact the most sure-footed, enduring, tough, fast horses are the ones who grow up and live outside.
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