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Wallaby 04-04-2010 03:33 PM

Evaluating fitness...
How would I go about evaluating how fit Lacey is? In the last two weeks I took her on a 3-4 hour trail ride (we're going again today :D ) and I just want to be able to know if she's fit enough for them. I think she probably is, since she still had enough energy at the end to be a jerk (haha) but I want to be able to tell for sure...

She was never really out of breath and she was totally willing to go faster when I asked, even near the end of the ride, but she also knows that "no" is not the correct answer to give me... so I'm not sure how much of her willingness was training and how much was her wanting to go... I mean, I'm sure she wouldn't go if she was about to fade into extreme exhaustion, but she is an Arab, so who knows for sure. Haha

I just want to be sure. I free lunge her 3-4 times a week, with a good 20 minutes of just walking until she's thoroughly limbered up, then 20 or so of solid trotting, and maybe 10 of cantering. Then when I ride in the arena, we do more walking, maybe ten minutes, then 30 of trotting (with some breaks), and then about once a week we canter undersaddle. On the road (about once every two weeks) we just walk for 2 hours. So she should be marginally fit, but at her age...

How would I tell?
If it's how easily she catches her breath after being pushed rather hard, then she's dang fit. If it's how warm she gets, same. If it's how sweaty she gets, ditto, since she doesn't sweat hardly ever. But I don't want to push her too hard at all, yknow?

Help? Thanks! =)

MyBoyPuck 04-04-2010 04:52 PM

Learn how to check his heart rate. You can find the pulse by putting your fingers under his jaw or under his tail dock, or pick up a cheap stethescope and listen to his heart. Normal resting rate is 38-40 beats per minute. After working, a horse's heart rate should return to normal within about 5 minutes. If your horse is still breathing heavy and it's not 38-40 by then, he's either not fit or there's something wrong with him.

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