Bringing them back into work

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Bringing them back into work

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    04-18-2010, 08:37 PM
Bringing them back into work

This year, my horses both got the first few months of the year off... and now its getting time to bring them both back into work. I dont want to just rush them back into riding, though. Im 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 Im getting them back into shape. Theyre both at a decent weight, but seriously lack muscle. Theyve both been dewormed recently and theyre 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. Shes 15.1 hands. Shes 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 shed been professionally started as a two year old. Undersaddle, she knows how to walk, trot, canter, hand-gallop, gallop, and shell 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. Shes 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. Hes 15.2 hands even and is also a Tennessee Walker, though hes 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 hell sometimes back-up (were 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 dont 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.
Im planning on working with them on alternating days... Dakota on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays... Gypsie on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays... with Sundays off.
Im thinking about working them for an hour each day... between 4 and 5 pm, that way its 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 doesnt 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 Im forgetting? Or anything I need to edit or fix?
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    04-18-2010, 08:44 PM
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.
    04-18-2010, 08:46 PM
I just checked your profile. You are 19 and way out thinking this.
    04-18-2010, 10:03 PM
Super Moderator
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. :)

Good luck!
    04-21-2010, 07:30 PM
Oh wow. To get my horse fit I was just going to pound in the miles with her...and here you have an entire fitness regimen. Lol.
    04-22-2010, 03:05 PM
Maybe it's just me, but both those horses look like they need to put on some weight. They need muscle, but they need weight first?
    04-22-2010, 03:25 PM
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.
    04-22-2010, 05:45 PM
Super Moderator
Good to know RD! I guess I shouldn't have called it interval training, I stand corrected. In any case, whatever it is did work really well for Lacey. :)

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