How do you condition your horse? Allergies? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-19-2019, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2018
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How do you condition your horse? Allergies?

Hey there,

I want to try endurance riding on my 5 yr old curly/quarter horse mare maybe next year. This past year we have been riding multiple times week usually either in the arena for 30min to an hour, round pen for an hour, or on the trails for a few hours. On the trails we usually go at LEAST 6km but mostly its like 10km through a good bit of sand. We do this mostly at the walk and trot, and then a huge gallop a couple of times across the beach to race against the other horse. We don't win because the other horse is a ottb and has a huuuuge stride, but it's still a lot of fun. Ilanna, my mare, is extremely stubborn. However, she loves getting out on the trail and will happily go until her eyeballs are sweating after we get past the initial part of the trail that she finds boring. Does this sound like a good start? I figure I should also:

- Volunteer at a couple endurance rides and make some connections.
- Go camping a few times.
- Maybe see if I could trailer her in to a ride but just let her chill and get used to the ambiance while I volunteer?
- Start taking her heart rate on rides.
- Transition into doing more trotting rather than walking.
- Figure out a feeding plan and get her used to electrolytes.
- Find a better saddle. I am currently using a western saddle bc my english one only fits her half of the time so I'd prefer to find a starter endurance saddle and sell my english one.
- Start by entering a few competitive trail rides.
- If I'm lucky maybe someone needs someone to ride their horse. It would be helpful to be on a horse that knows what it's doing so I can focus more on other things.

I'm not worried about her trail sense or being herdbound. She grew up on a farm with lots of backcountry bush, creeks, and wildlife so she's used to it all. She is also very independent from other horses in general. She was the three-day-old foal who would gallop towards a fence and then stop right before it and slide a bit.

Does this sound like a good plan? How do you condition your horses for their first ride?

Also, Ilanna has allergies so I'm wondering if that would affect endurance riding?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-19-2019, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Canada
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Hi there. I just started doing endurance & CTR events this past year with my horse. It was a blast and I hope to get him conditioned again next year.

I'll tell you how I got into it and what I did to condition my guy.

I was able to attend an intro clinic into CTR. This is what pushed me to actually start training for rides. I was also able to enter a couple rides that had smaller distances - this was a good test to see if my horse & I were on the right track and to determine if this was something I really enjoyed. Even though being entered in the 10 mile or 15 mile ride didn't allow us to win awards or placing, it was a great experience as we still went through the vet checks, etc.

I entered my first 25 mile novice ride and was able to ride with more experienced riders. They were a great asset to ensure we were on pace, etc.

In the meantime, to train for these rides I made sure I was riding my horse at least 3-4 days a week. Most of this was trail/road mileage. Riding in an arena can be great, but isn't really useful for getting the proper miles/conditioning you will require for an endurance ride.

Most of my riding is at walk and trot. As I am in the novice category I didn't have to worry about canter work. We will occasionally canter on course, but the timing is for walk/trot. I would increase speed OR distance, but never both at the same time. I wear a garmin/use an app on my phone to track my mileage.

If I was strapped for time, I would also take my horse jogging with me down the road - or even sometimes pony another horse so they are both getting miles in.

There are some training programs available online you could look into as well.

Yes - camping with your horse would be a good way to see how your horse settles in when she is away from home. Many of the endurance/CTR events are weekend long - vetting in is on a Friday evening and awards are generally on the Sunday.

If you are able to, look into any clinics or information sessions which would be in your area. This is a great place to start and to meet new people. You never know - there could be someone living close by that you could get training miles in with.

As for allergies - what type of allergies does she have? As she is only 5, I would take it pretty easy on her with the conditioning as she may still be growing. Also check into your local endurance association's rules and regulations. Ours has a minimum age of horse you are able to compete on (I believe it may be 5).
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post #3 of 8 Old 11-19-2019, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 17
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Thank you so much for responding!

To answer your question, Ilanna looks like she has dust allergies and just gets some extra discharge from her nose every few weeks (this just showed up this summer so we're still figuring out how to treat it). This is a problem that has been caused in part by her current boarding situation being suuuper dusty so I am moving her at the end of the month to a less dusty environment where it is irrigated in the summer so that will help keep it less dusty as well.
The barn I was at before was run by a therapeutic riding association so there were only a couple other boarders and they all did dressage and a bit of jumping, the new barn has about 20 boarders and from what I can tell- a bit more of a mix so I'm hoping to find someone who is interested in going on long rides with me.
And yes, Ilanna is only five, six in the spring, so I don't want to work her too hard so I think I will probably find a scheduled plan to follow so I can pace our rides properly as it takes time for the body to properly adapt and toughen up. I have had enough vet bills in the last year to last me a while!
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-19-2019, 10:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
Posts: 6,599
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what part of the world are you in? some areas have very active local clubs so that may be a good starting point for you.

there are also some good basics covered on the AERC website and the Old Dominion website.

your horse's allergies shouldn't be an issue as long as she doesn't need medication to treat them. hopefully changing barns will be exactly what she needs.
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-20-2019, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 17
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I live in Canada and we have a provincial endurance riding group but no regional ones. It's pretty informal so people tend to make their own unofficial subgroups from what I can tell. Mostly just "city's horse riders" FB groups.

I didn't know about the Old Dominion website thank you! I have found the AERC to have some good resources.

I hope the barn change will be enough to manage her allergies.
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-24-2019, 11:58 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: MI
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When you say "we're treating it" (allergies), are talking about you and your veterinarian? If not, you should be.

Depending on where you are in Canada this may be a help too:

Sounds like you are off to a good start, keep us posted!
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post #7 of 8 Old 12-03-2019, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2018
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Yes I do mean myself and my vet are treating Ilanna's allergies. Since a round of treatment she has been good so I'm hoping that it lasts.

Oh I wish we had a group like that on my side of Canada! Sounds nice to be a part of:)
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post #8 of 8 Old 12-03-2019, 10:47 AM
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 824
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We have a lot of Manitoba riders who come down and ride MN rides. Not sure where you are but there might be some options in the states for you too!
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endurance , endurance riding , endurance training , starting

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