getting back in shape
my horse has been off since november until now- turned out in a field- fat and happy. before he had time off, he was in beginner novice/novice level eventing condition and i was wondering what a good schedule for conditioning would be to get him back there. for the next two weeks, we are limited to the indoor because he is still barefoot (and will be off is he goes outside)
Welcome to the forum!
We just had a thread about this very thing: http://www.horseforum.com/horse-training/fitness-25417/
I'm sure others will add to it.
since you are limited to an indoor, i would recommend doing trot sets to start. bump it up five minutes every week. this will help your balance and strength in two point as well as give your horse a chance to regain his muscles. i'm a Novice/Training rider and my horse is up to 35 minutes. I would recommend that for your horse as well
Poles poles poles! Cavaletti is a great tool in building up hind end strength.
when you get a chance to go outside, Hillwork is important too. basically the same as the trot sets indoors but on hills. it will build up more muscles that the flat indoor won't do.
good luck and let us know how he does!!
eventerdrew- about how long after he was been in LIGHT work (just walking) should trot sets be started?
sorry to sound foolish- i haven't really done trot sets before- what exactly do you mean by that
You can do this on a line or under saddle.
Vigorous walk both directions for 5-10 mins adding in some flexing, then posting trot in both directions for about 3-5 mins, back to the walk with more flexing. Up the trot portion each week by 3-5 mins.
You want to have them breathing a little bit on the hard side, but not so much that their recovery time is too long.
Remember that even if a horse is cardio-fit and can run and jump, his tendons, ligaments, and bones still need time to strengthen and this takes much longer then it does to get the muscles in shape! Just take it slow and don't expect too much too soon.
to answer your question- it depends on why he was off. If he was off just because of winter then you could probably start with five minutes of trot for a week or two and see how he does with that and bump him up when you feel he is ready.
If it was an injury, then definitely consult your vet before trotting
trot sets are basically just what they sound like. trotting around the arena or field (outdoors is usually best just because of space) either in two point or posting while letting the horse stretch out and work from his hind end. it's a fairly simple thing to do for the rider but really works the horse so that he can get fit
eventerdrew- he is off just for the winter because i was at ski school all winter (missed him dearly) but not because if injury at all.
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