going the distance - my endurance adventures - Page 249 - The Horse Forum
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post #2481 of 2683 Old 02-16-2020, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Well the universe got a good laugh at my expense. I came home from vaca full of mental lists of things I intended to do this week.. funny that getting the flu was not on that list!!

I had a dry cough by Sunday evening but had gotten a lot done and just figured it was a reaction to the dry plane air. However, by Monday morning, I was basically flat out between the fever and the cough. Got my sorry self to the doctor to be officially diagnosed with flu. Went home with an anti-viral and cough medicine and started them both right away.. only to find I am apparently sensitive to the anti-viral. The most common side effects? Nausea and vomiting. Shiitake. I spent more hours than I care to think about laying on the bathroom floor because I was sick every 30 minutes like clockwork. Spoke with a nurse who recommended taking the medication with a sugary drink.. because isn't that just what you want in your upset stomach?! But luckily Sprite counted as sugary enough so taking that with the med resulted in just ugly nausea but no more actual vomiting..


I took the last dose of the medication last night. It's been a h#ll of a week..


There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #2482 of 2683 Old 02-16-2020, 12:18 PM
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I hope you feel better soon!


I know how you feel. It's day six for me. I've had a thumping headache and felt nauseous, sore and shivery. I'm hoping that my fever has finally broken as I'm exhausted. My sinuses are extremely painful and I've a slight cough but the swelling and pain in my neck has reduced.
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post #2483 of 2683 Old 02-16-2020, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Before getting into the fun discussion of conditioning, I figured I would catch up.

Before I left, I took advantage of the cooler overnight temperatures to work with Link while the ground was still frozen in the morning. He was very quiet to tack up and free longe, so I decided to skip the ground driving and just get on:


I think he's starting to understand a bit better what I am asking. And I keep repeating that mellow is better than rodeo!!


After finishing with Link, I got George and Phin out. I wanted to do a slightly longer ride as they would have the next week off. Knowing the ground was still icy in places, I planned to do the Space Needle loop.

The boys were not very enthusiastic leaving the farm and by the time we got up the first climb they would both have been happy to turn around for home.



We continued on however. George was a bit spooky, which was extra aggravating as of course his spooking made Phin spook. At least they both jumped the same direction.

We worked our way up the Tomhicken and up to the space needle. We walked all the big climbs but did the gradual climb to the needle at a trot. At the bottom of the rattlesnake trail, I turned opposite the normal way to do the out and back down the gravel road.



George was not impressed with turning the 'wrong' way and was quite sluggish. As we continued on, he started moving oddly off and on. At first I was worried that hind leg was acting up, but the odd movement seemed to be more in the front, though I couldn't even pick which leg I thought was the issue. I got off and checked all his shoes for rocks, worrying that something had gotten wedged in to the rim pads. I found nothing and he jogged totally sound.

I was pretty paranoid for the rest of the ride, but as soon as we turned for home, George's enthusiasm returned. However, he still moved oddly at times. Often it was on the rockier footing, so I started wondering if the rim snowball pads weren't enough protection for his feet. I tried to keep him off the edges of the roads as much as possible after that.

Notice the flapping tongue:


And not to be outdone, Phin also was flapping!



When we got back, I gave George a thorough going over but couldn't find anything amiss. I jogged him out on the driveway and he was sound. After turning him out, he did his normal roll and jump up to jog away and looked fine.. but I couldn't get rid of the niggling paranoia. I called Nancy, hoping for some insight but George was pretty unconcerned about the whole thing.

After talking with DH later that evening, I called the chiro and made an appointment for both boys. I was hoping if George was out in his poll, that might explain the extra spookiness and maybe even some of the weirdness I was feeling..


We went to Grand Cayman for our vacation. Unlike other trips, this one was not with the group so we didn't have any agenda! DH did a great job finding a great place to stay. It was amazing!



We had heard Stingray City was a must-see attraction and we had a blast there:


We walked to a different place for dinner every evening:


We also got to enjoy a snorkeling trip:


The trip was a great blend of mostly relaxation and couple activities. Good thing I got so much rest.. I was better prepared for this week's excitement.


The chiro came on Friday and worked on both boys. George's poll and withers were out and he was very sore along basically his entire topline. Not sure yet if that was from his chiropractic issues, if his feet are sensitive in the partial pads or if something else is going on. Of course I am now worrying about a Lyme flare, even if Nancy's didn't feel anything like that. After talking with DH, the plan is to get him out for a ride and see. If he's back to normal, great. If not, I will likely have the vet out..


There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #2484 of 2683 Old 02-16-2020, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knightrider View Post
the latest research shows that walking gets the horse just as fit as trotting or cantering.

I was taught (100 years ago when I was doing CTR) that you do the gait you plan to ride, at about the percentage you plan to ride it. So if you plan to trot 75%, walk 5%, canter 20%, you should train at those percentages.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodhaven View Post
I felt that the horse is landing on two feet at the trot so less concussion than landing on one foot. I felt the trot was easier on their body and took less energy than an equal distance at the canter
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbar View Post
I have been reading a lot about long & slow - so I'm taking that to mean a lot of walking for longer distances. I would assume the long distance at a slower pace is good for building the muscle/ strengthen bones and ligaments which would be needed for incorporating more trotting work??
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Originally Posted by SwissMiss View Post
And as far as I know condition (as in fitness) is a much faster process than getting ligaments and bones strong enough to work long and hard. This is where I think long and slow rides come into play.
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Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
could a horse be fit enough to canter most of the way for a 100 mile ride if they only walked beforehand? It's not likely they would have the stamina at the canter. Something to consider is the mental fitness also. It requires a different kind of mental focus to go at faster speeds for a long period of time. Some horses struggle with that and need to be worked up to it.

Regarding whether trotting or cantering is more efficient, my personal experience with horses is that it depends on the horse.
I picked some bits of pieces out of all the previous fitness/conditioning convo that resonated with me.

I, too, was taught the benefits of long, slow distance to build the foundation. Cardio fitness comes first, followed by soft tissue, followed by bone (and I was always told 3 months, 6 months, 12 months respectively for time it takes for those to fully develop). I was also taught that you needed to train how you you planned to compete, both in terms of amount of time in each gait and in terms of speed. I was taught some horses were trotters and some preferred the canter; the smartest thing to do was use the favored gait the most but try to develop the other so they weren't always using the same muscles.

All those things made sense to me from what I knew of physiology and what I had experienced with my own body. So to start with, that was how I trained. Dream was a trotter, so we did walking, trotting, and a bit of cantering. We went from mostly walking to mostly trotting over time. I was a bit concerned with Dream as she was lazy to train, not wanting to go particularly fast even with much urging. I worried heading into my first competition that we would barely make the time, as we rarely made even a 6 mph average pace when training.

Well wasn't I shocked when Dream was a whole different animal at a competition!! Instead of her normal 7 mph training trot, she wanted to rocket down the trail at 10-12 mph! I spent the whole first ride arguing with her about pace, as I was convinced she was going to have massive problems since we were going so much faster than we trained. And not just for the first few miles - she was that way the whole LD! But as the ride went on and she only got more disgusted with my trying to hold her to training pace, I kept watching my heart rate monitor, just sure she would start to show distress. But she didn't! Despite what I had been taught, she was just fine going that pace for the entire ride.

That was my first hint at there being more to this conditioning thing than I had been taught. Dream always trained like a plug with the exception of an occasional yeehaw moment. Yet she consistently went to rides and was able to maintain a much faster overall pace for the entire ride - even on a 100! I stopped paying attention to what I was told about "proper" conditioning pacing versus competition pacing and started paying more attention to her working heart rates and her recoveries.

Since then, I have tended to pay more attention to heart rate and recovery than overall pace in general. I still believe in starting slowly and increasing speed or distance or terrain challenge one element at a time, but I am less worried about is my horse trotting at 6 mph or 8 mph versus trotting for whatever distance. I try to make a general plan for the conditioning ride in terms of is my goal a speed work or a hill work or brain work, but we all know those plans must be flexible because of the very nature of horses!

More recently, I have had another major change in thinking because of Lani and Kathy. I have mentioned that their endurance horses are only ridden at rides. And I mean that literally - the rest of their training is now done exclusively by the euroxciser:



While some models do go fast enough to allow the horses to trot, my understanding is Kathy puts everyone on it at the walk daily for 1-3 hours (changing direction every 30 min or so). The timing when we were in Florida last year was 2 hours day 1, 1 hour day 2, 3 hours day 3, day off, then repeat.

To start with, I was very skeptical.. how could walking around - even for hours - allow the horses to be able to trot and canter for miles? I expected the hotness Duroc and Fluffy showed at the initial rides to be short lived, but the horses showed me just how fit they really were. Even Flo, who was normally pretty mellow, was roaring to go. I still don't understand why it works.. but it sure seems to.

The handful of big name riders I know - the Reynolds, Meg Sleeper, Val Kanavy - are all using a euroxciser as the foundation of their training program. How much (or if) they actually ride the horses on conditioning rides has more to do with the horse's mental status than anything.


There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #2485 of 2683 Old 02-16-2020, 05:12 PM
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That is very interesting about the equicizer. We used to use one of those for the race horses on the days the weather was bad and they couldn't get out onto the track to 'jog'.

I think it is a great tool to start a horse to build up their cardio, etc, but I would be concerned that the horse has no exposure to hill training or un-even terrain. I was always told that hills were a great way to help build muscle as well as cardio.

Obviously her horses do quite well since they ARE fit and have done immeasurably well at the rides.

Very interesting. That would solve the time dilemma of how to exercise multiple horses at once!!
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post #2486 of 2683 Old 02-16-2020, 05:50 PM
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Wow. So my mule riding endurance friend was right? You can get your horses just as fit by walking? Hmmm. Thanks for the interesting thoughtful reply. Does that mean when I was training for CTR, and doing all that trotting, that I was actually tearing my horse down instead of getting her fit? I would ride 10 miles every other day at 6 miles per hour, which was trotting.
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post #2487 of 2683 Old 02-16-2020, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbar View Post
I think it is a great tool to start a horse to build up their cardio, etc, but I would be concerned that the horse has no exposure to hill training or un-even terrain. I was always told that hills were a great way to help build muscle as well as cardio.
I agree, and I think some of this may be the difference between an experienced horse being kept in shape vs a new to the sport (or newly under saddle) horse needing to learn how to actually navigate trail conditions. Also consider that most international courses are now more like long flat tracks then they are complicated terrain.. a flat, sandy course is very different than the OD or Tevis!


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post #2488 of 2683 Old 02-16-2020, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knightrider View Post
Does that mean when I was training for CTR, and doing all that trotting, that I was actually tearing my horse down instead of getting her fit? I would ride 10 miles every other day at 6 miles per hour, which was trotting.
I really think a lot of this depends on the horse. Some people I know would consider that over training, others would say it was fine. I would ask how your horse was about it.. easy to catch? Going down the trail without much fuss? Eating well and coat glossy etc? Horses who become hard to catch or sulky in their work or go off their feed may be showing signs of over training.


I think we need to find the middle ground. Just because horses walking for 3 hours in a big circle is a way to fitness doesn't mean other ways aren't possible or equally useful!


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post #2489 of 2683 Old 02-16-2020, 06:45 PM
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Phantom, I'm glad you had such a good holiday, always nice to get away. Stingray city is really something, Hubby and I went there several years ago and it was the highlight of that holiday.
I hope George is coming along ok, no more problems.

That Eurociser is interesting. Sis and I were out for a few nice rides this past week and she was commenting on how walking was great conditioning as we had to do a lot of walking because of ground conditions, so maybe we were on the right track, especially as the horses haven't been worked as hard lately due to weather conditions. I hope to get out and start doing more but with the freeze, thaw ect. it's hard to get much accomplished.

When I was conditioning for some CTR I had two horses and needed to spend more time with the horse I would compete on so I would ride him one night, usually a lot of trotting and some cantering, then the next night I would ride the other horse who needed a slower less strenuous ride so I would pony the other gelding with him so he got a good workout one night and a much slower workout the next night. This seemed to work well for him and he did well at the rides, a real trooper and he seemed to love it. He was the oldest horse on the rides, 18, and he handled it well.

when I was volunteering on some 50m rides I remember one rider was very confident that her horse would excel on the rides as he was a lead pony at the track and was fit and could go 50m no trouble. We had to pull the horse before the finish, he just couldn't handle the hills and heavier going at times, so I guess that proves they have to have some work on the terrain they will be competing on.

I hope you are all recovered now, spring is just around the corner.
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post #2490 of 2683 Old 02-16-2020, 09:57 PM
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I wonder if some horses fit up easily. I took Bones into a very hard condition for a couple years. That horse was never phased by working hard in the mountains or flat, and he was actually quite difficult if he was anxious because no amount of work or required thought brought him down. Honestly this is probably why I had him in too good of shape too, because he needed constant work to keep from self-mutilating.

However, now the other horses dont really allow self-mutilation in the corral and Zeus fights with him consistently in any case. I dont use him as often as I am focusing on Cash and he is being ridden by the girls and as needed. Still though, he fits up uber fast. He seems like the energizer bunny. Other horses I have dont seem anywhere near his endurance level even when I think they are fit. So, this just makes me wonder a bit about natural tendencies.

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaams Donkey
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