How to fitten up quickly and effectively?
I'm going to dublin horse show for the weekend, and custard is having a well deserved field break, but when I come home I desperately need him at the peak of his fitness once again. He's not UNfit at the moment, but not very fit, and I'd like him to get fitter. So what ways are quick and effective?
Why do you need him at the "peak of his fitness" Are you up against a deadline for a show?
no, but we have opportunities for cross-country before the end of the summer, and a 3 phase event in september for native ponies only, and I wouldn't want to force him into anything that he could strain himself on
I will try to sum up my thoughts. ;)
Ride 5-6 days a week.
Make sure he gets turnout, if not 24/7 then at least half day. I feel like nothing is more detrimental to an animal who is meant to be grazing on the move to stand all day in something the size of our bathroom.
For the actual workouts, quality is first and foremost. It doesn't do either of you any good if you ride for two hours, but don't work correctly. Secondly, mix it up. I had a schedule of a weekly dressage lesson, a hillwork/trail day, a stamina-building ride on the track, as well as flatwork and the occasional work over cavalettis/crossrails.
If you have access to trails or fields with uneven terrain, go out and hack...a lot. The ups and downs of hills will build muscle very quickly, and it's fun too!
How long has he been out of worth? The length of spell determines how much work it will take to get him back into work and the intensity of the work undertaken. If he's only been out for a couple of weeks, it won't take much to get him back to peak fitness and he could very well be ready to go cross country in a fairly short period of time. If however, he has been out for a few months, then you'd be risking his long term soundness if you pushed to get him to 'peak fitness' in a matter of weeks.
Set up a conditioning schedule. That's what I do with my horse. We condition 2 times a week with at least 3 days in between.
The following schedule is good for conditioning for the Novice level and lower.
It not only builds muscle, but it helps if your horse trips. The more you do it, the more he will be coordinated with his movements. It will also build up his stamina.
(All of this out in the fields where it is very hilly)
Tuesday- Walk 10 minutes
3 - 5 minute trot sets
-walk 3 minutes between trot sets-
6 minute canter
Friday- Walk 10 minutes
3 - 5 minute trot sets
-walk 3 minutes in between trot sets-
2 - 4 minute canter sets
-walk 5 minutes between canter sets-
On both days i take TPR @ rest and @ work and record them. The conditioning is supposed to make their TPR jump back to normal @ rest after a hard work out after a 10 minute cool out.
And that's where me and my horse are right now.
If you have questions, ask away.
@Kayty; custard has only been out for 2 weeks :)
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