how do condition your horse for CTR - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 03-11-2011, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Oregon
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how do condition your horse for CTR

Okay,so I don't have a trailer and I want to condition my horse for future purposes so I can play around with CTR's. I want to experience it. I want to do it for fun. I don't care if I don't place at all.I would have an awesome time with my horse.
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post #2 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 12:34 AM
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Very interested in this.....
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post #3 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Location: Oregon
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yay! a response! am really interested in doing this nd have been watching lots of looks to be a great way to bond and a great sport!
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post #4 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern Utah
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I did NATRC CTRs for about 6 years and really enjoyed it. I learned a lot, My horse became a much better horse and in latter years that I was doing it my daughter joined me and we had great time as a father/daughter enjoying the rides and camp outs.

I don't think there is alot of NATRC up in Oregon. Unless that has changed over the years, So I suspect you are looking more at ATRC type of events. Which are not nearly as challenging as a NATRC ride. So your conditioning should be very simple.

For me, I rode my horse at least twice a week. Wednesday evening after work, I would go walk/trot a 6 -10 mile trail. Enough to get their heart rate up and work up a little sweat. something I could do in the evenings in 1-2 hours. On Saturdays I would take the horses an an all day trail ride. Usually something about 20 mile long. This would be a 5-8 hour ride with a lunch stop, lots of mountain climbing. Wouldn't worry to much about working a sweat, But rather just long slow miles. I would cover this distance at the same speed I would compete at a CTR ride, 4.5 - 6 mph.

This was enough exercise for my horses to compete successfully. They were never the best conditioned horses at an event. But I never had a horse pulled or fail to complete a ride. I never had sore horses, My recoveries just were not as good as horses that go exercised on a daily basis. So where my horses were getting 10 & 11 or better on P&Rs after 10 minutes of rest. Some of the better horses were getting 6 & 8. CTR don't give you points for being better, they just ding you points if you are worse than 12 & 12 or what ever the vet has set as the cut off number. So the exercise I did was enough to get below the vet cut offs numbers.

The main thing you need to be concerned about is the hard tissue. Bones density, tendons, ligiments all take time to harden up. Long slow repetitive training is what builds these hard tissues and prevents them from getting hurt when you get out and work. Soft Tissue, (Heart, Lungs, muscles) all develope much quicker. Hard tissue may take 6-8 months to really show substantial improvment. This is measured in bone density etc. Soft tissue will improve in 6-8 weeks and is usually measured in reduced heart rates, faster recovery on breathing rates, speed in 400 yard dashes or barrel runs. It is much easier to see improvements in Soft Tissue.

Hard tissue development is what keeps a horse in the game for the long term. If you get a broken bone, a stress crack, if you tear or bow a tendon, These things terminate a horses career or take much longer to heal. Soft tissue affect more the performance during an event. How much blood can a horse pump, how fast can he run. How much exercise before you get a cramp.

Hard Tissue is developed by the repeative pounding that the body takes. In other words Long Slow Distance. This doesn't require fast and hard works outs. Just consistent distance rides will build these tissues. And once built they are much slower to deteriate than any of the soft tissue.

Good Luck and have fun.
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post #5 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: In a land far far away, or so I wish.
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This site has a nice short little blurb about conditioning and such.

Riding 2 days a week will probably not be good to get your horse into shape. It might be enough once you have your horse in shape. But it does not seem like a fair/safe way to get your horse into shape.
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post #6 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Oregon
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i was thinking 5 days a week for riding...2 days off for recovery :)

There is one coming up in June I believe..I think I will skip the April one so I have time to get my pudgy horse into shape.

Thanks for the info.

Thanks AB,I will check it out.
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post #7 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 06:01 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern Utah
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Some of what you need to do to condition a horse will depend on how you keep your horses. A horse kept in a 12 x 12 box stall wil need more conditioning than a horse kept out in a open pasture. My horses are constantly chasing each other around. When the wind blows they race around the pasture with their tails held high. When I load up a couple and leave a couple behind,. The horses left behind run up and down the fence line until I return with their herd mates. They are exercising themselves.
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post #8 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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PH is right about this...currently my horse has been in a stall without a little turnout...soooo she is standing there getting fat...she needs to lose some weight..before she was too thin and now she is getting chunky but I don't want to cut back her feed as she gets about 20 lbs of food a day or a bit more which is the correct amount...I have to do some fence fixing sooo untill that is all done(one more side!) then she remains indoors unless I'm there to watch her.
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post #9 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 09:33 PM
Green Broke
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Location: Georgia
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I do NATRC, and go around 40 miles in a weekend.

Where to start depends on your horse's current condition. If your horse is a total pasture puff (which I don't think Gidget is), you would have to start much slower. Assuming Gidget is in decent shape -- capable of an hour or so of walk-trot-canter arena work--, you can condition like I did my girl. (Who started off somewhere between pasture puff and walk-trot pony.)

First, walk. Walking is a very important first step. Walk four or five times a week, around five or six miles. Vary terrain, walk up hills, and add some trotting. When trotting, don't trot for a minute at a quick, forward pace. Collect into a slow-medium trot (around six miles per hour) and trot for five or ten minutes straight. Don't stop and give her a break. Go for longer and longer every day until she doesn't have a problem. (This will also teach her to pace her trot.)

At some cantering after she is good with trot/walks. Canter slowly at first; add it in with your trots. Cantering is actually easier then trotting at the same speed, so she won't have too big a problem stretch wise. Cantering is great to build wind and aid P and R recovery times.

Keep on building on this routine. Trot, trot, trot. That's the key. Vary your speed trotting sometimes. Also, get use to half seat, because posting for 40 miles is a no. Makes their backs sore.

That's pretty much how I conditioned my girl. She wins firsts and frequently gets super low P and Rs. Her's drops to resting in three minutes or so.

I also ride her four to five days a week. Remember that it isn't the miles you have on a horse -- you don't need 20 mile training days--, but what you're doing with those five-seven mile jogs. Also, a horse only has so many miles on it. Try not to waste them. More isn't always better. Those completion weekends are stressful. They aren't something you want to frequently impose on a horse. You don't train for marathons by running practice marathons.
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post #10 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 09:48 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
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This sounds like so much fun for family participation!
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