This year, my horses both got the first few months of the year off... and now it’s getting time to bring them both back into work. I don’t want to just rush them back into riding, though. I’m totally ok with them on a lunge-line for a month or two before I step back into the saddle... But I need a little help creating a schedule for them and me to follow while I’m getting them back into shape. They’re both at a decent weight, but seriously lack muscle. They’ve both been dewormed recently and they’re getting one pound of an Alfalfa/Oats mixture daily since they have 24/7 access to pasture-grass, hay, a mineral/vitamin lick, and a salt lick. . . . My mare turned 16 years old today. She weighs between 950 and 1000 pounds. She’s 15.1 hands. She’s a Tennessee Walker, but she has a stockier build. I got her when she was six/seven-ish and did most all her training, though she’d been professionally started as a two year old. Undersaddle, she knows how to walk, trot, canter, hand-gallop, gallop, and she’ll sometimes side-pass, back-up, and rack. She knows the voice commands for walk and whoa, and she has a basic understanding of seat and leg cues. She neck reins and direct reins. She’s just a back-country trail horse. She rides western only.
. . . My gelding turned four years old last month on the twenty-third. He weighs between 950 and 1000 pounds, like my mare. He’s 15.2 hands even and is also a Tennessee Walker, though he’s got a slimmer build than my mare. He was born here and I raised him and trained him myself as a two year old. Undersaddle, he knows how to walk, trot, canter, hand-gallop, gallop, flex, disengage the hindquarters, and he’ll sometimes back-up (we’re still working on that undersaddle) and rack. He knows the voice commands for walk, trot, whoa, back, and stand, and he understands the seat and leg cues for walk, trot, whoa, and back-up. He direct reins mainly, but is learning to neck rein. He, like my mare, is just a back-country trail horse. He rides mainly english, but occasionally goes western.
. . . I don’t have a round-pen or an arena... but both my horses lunge on a lunge-line. I do have an open, flat area where I can lunge. I’m planning on working with them on alternating days... Dakota on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays... Gypsie on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays... with Sundays off. I’m thinking about working them for an hour each day... between 4 and 5 pm, that way it’s cooling down a little.
With Dakota, I was thinking about w/t/c on the lunge (5 laps each way at a walk to warm up, 5 laps each way at a trot, and 3 laps each way at a canter, 2 laps each way at a trot, and then 4 laps each way at a walk to cool down), doing a little in-hand backing, flexing, maybe some ground-driving, and end it with a mile or two walk/trot in-hand.
With Gypsie, I was planning on doing w/t on the lunge, as she doesn’t canter on the lunge... (5 laps each way at a walk to warm up, 7 laps each way at a trot, 2 laps each way at a walk, 3 laps each way at a trot, and then 3 laps each way at a walk to cool down), doing a little in-hand backing, work on refining her flexing, a little ground-driving, and end it with a mile or two walk/trot in-hand.
Is there anythin I’m forgetting? Or anything I need to edit or fix?
I didn't bother reading the whole post. I basically got little further then the idea of lunging for a month or two and skimmed after that.
Get on and ride the horses. A few months off is not going to make restarting a long ordeal of building muscle.
Just saddle up and go for a ride. They will tell you how much they can handle. I break young stock and they have never been ridden but in a week or two they are going out on a loop that takes about an hour daily.
Forget all the lunging, the conditioning with you on the ground and ride them.
They will tell you how much they can take.
I mostly agree with RiosDad. I think, as long as you exercise moderation (like no ten minute gallops or something), they should be good to go. They get 24/7 turnout, right?
If you're still concerned, what I do with Lacey when I'm building up her fitness is basically human interval training, on the lunge. I warm her up really well at the walk (both directions, I like to do lots of direction changes to keep things interesting), then I have her trot for about ten/fifteen minutes with downward transitions about once every couple minutes, then straight back to trot. Then I have her canter until she's breathing hard. Then we switch directions, walk until she's not breathing hard, and repeat. Then, I ride at all gaits (but mostly walking) for about an hour. It works pretty well for Lacey, she's pretty dang fit right now and we've only been intensively doing that for the last month or so. Of course, I was working her all winter but she was working hard. :)
Interval training is not something you can do Wallaby. To do it you need a heart rate monitor plus know how to do it.
Interval training involves buzzing the heart to a certain level against the monitor and when you get to this rate an alarm goes off warning you to walk. You walk for 10 minutes against a stop watch and then buzz the horse back up to the desired heart rate where once again the alarm goes off and you again walk for 10 minutes against the stop watch.
When the horse fails to recover in the allowed 10 minutes you quit and take the horse home at a slow pace.
You have cycled the heart for as much as the horse can take and recover in the required time.
That is interval training and should be done with a heart rate monitor and carefull supervision.
I did it 20 years ago for my endurance horse.