Driving exercises for conditioning - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-08-2018, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Driving exercises for conditioning

I am looking to find some driving or ground work exercises for an older draft mare who has lost a lot of muscle mass.
She still has good energy and is good to ride and drive. She needs a beginner work program to go along with dietary changes.

I only have a wagon and I don’t necessarily have the time to do miles of driving regularly.
Is there a good way to work with pulling weight that can be done in shorter reps and build up for strength and muscle?

Like working out with weights versus cardio?

She’s a very well broke do everything kind of girl. While she normally does carriage style drives she has also plowed and done other work in the past.

We could build a skid or use a short chunk of log maybe?

There are no hills around for miles so any suggestions need to be for flat areas.
Any recommendations much appreciated, thank you!
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-08-2018, 03:25 PM
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Sled work is great. Slow and steady is also good. Building muscle goes relatively quickly but conditioning tendons and bones takes a long time. Lots of stops to "blow" because pulling a dead weight is a lot harder work than a pulling a wagon! Heck, if she's willing, just walking in the wagon for a few weeks would be a great way to start. There's absolutely nothing better than walking, walking, walking to begin with. Tendons actually get stiff and the collagen that makes them up becomes inelastic, which predisposes to injury. Walking will help them become springy and elastic again. Make haste slowly! :o)
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-08-2018, 03:35 PM
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Subbing :) This looks interesting.
Any chance you can add some hill work to her work out??

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post #4 of 6 Old 07-08-2018, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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The closest hills are thirty minutes drive. This area used to be lake bottom, it’s basically the flatest part of michigan.
I wish we had hills though!

We had her worked up to a four mile trip with some trotting mixed in (mostly because she wanted to go not because we wanted to work her faster)
Theoretically I could find the time to do that a couple times a week. The idea of doing a couple minutes of a heavier pull is being able to cut it short and still be home. Also we’d have ready access to water to keep cool and hydrated now that it’s summer.
When we were actually driving it was never much above 60*

I am seeing people mentioning tires to pull too. That might be an easy start and drag my area at the same time!
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-08-2018, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by farrieremily View Post
I am seeing people mentioning tires to pull too. That might be an easy start and drag my area at the same time!

You can ride on a sled. Trust me, walking alongside a tire will get old FAST. Look up stone boat to see some super simple designs. It doesn't have to be elaborate. I have a "slide" made out of half a stall mat and a piece of plywood. It's a little more than that, but it's effective.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-11-2018, 01:59 PM
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Since she is rideable do both. I'd put her in a large area and do walk/trot transitions, ride patterns and caveletti work. Take her out like you are doing or use a sled for at home. When we drag a tire it is either pulled behind the forecart or chained to the singletree and I walk behind not beside.
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